Wang Jia blends Western oil painting with Chinese brush techniques to create an art style she tags as feminine, innocent and classically Chinese. Her current work falls into three series: Search Dream, Pick Up Dream and Painting from Life.
Among all the works in her Search Dream series, “Sincere Love in Autumn” (2010) is Wang’s favorite. This painting depicts a girl who is stylized like an anime character who rests against a wall while thinking. After completing “Sincere Love in Autumn,” Wang chose to frame it and hang it in her home rather than sell it. She says the image is an antidote for her daily annoyances.
“The content of this painting is simple and its color is so light,” Wang said. “It is a direct expression of girl’s softness and tranquility. I feel peace every time I look at it.”
The girl appears frequently in Wang’s other paintings. In “Blue Night,” she is lying on artificial hills; in “Little Tailor,” she is pondering with her back against a wall; in “Blooming,” she is sitting in a garden and watching the sunrise.
But while other artists use such recurring character to insert themselves into their work, Wang insists she is not a self portrait. “I wish she were me, but I know she is more perfect.”
Another painting, “Youth: Tour in Garden,” which took Wang the longest time to create, seems to combine modern and classical elements.
This painting portrays a woman in a long dress standing on a boat in a southern garden. The image reveals obvious classical influences, but the pink toy in her hands seems out of place. “I aimed to express conflicted feelings through the arrangement. It’s tradition mingling with the modern – ancient objects conflicting with new ones.”
Travel is one of Wang’s favorite hobbies. She likes walking the streets, exploring new cities and touching history. The gardens of southern China are her favorite scenes, and they can be found in her paintings’ backdrops.
Born in Inner Mongolia, Wang had never seen such varied scenery until her first trip to Suzhou, Jiangsu province in the winter of 2004. It was the first time that she saw something other than the sprawling prairies of her hometown. Since then, Wang has been enchanted by China’s picturesque south.
“Landscape gardens in southern China were mostly built by ancient literary men,” Wang said. “They bear ancient designers’ traditional aesthetic conceptions, and obviously, the characteristic of these landscape gardens suits my taste in traditional culture.”
Wang said adapting to loneliness is essential for becoming an artist. As a child, she spent isolated days indoors with her paints, where she would learn from her father, an expert draftsman.
When Wang was six or seven years old, her grandpa told her mother she was good at observing and that she should be allowed to do what interests her. The supportive family left her with few barriers to her dream career in art.
When she isn’t painting, Wang teaches at Luoyang Normal University in Henan province.
But she still introduces herself as a professional artist instead of a teacher – only one of those vocations has been a lifelong pursuit.
“Teaching occupies a great deal of my time, but it gives me a chance to shift my brain and develop fresh ideas as I communicate with students,” Wang said.