Tian Qi discovered her love for the arts during childhood, “it was the arts that chose me rather than a personal interest”. Tian Qi says of what brought her into the world of contemporary art, and the China Central Academy of Fine Arts.
As a child, Tian found herself heavily inspired by Japanese comics. During college, the challenge of completing her master’s degree led her to focus on painting and embroidery.
Chameleon was the first work she completed after her undergraduate degree. The piece draws in viewers with a colorful style that projects inner peace.
In another imaginative painting, she depicts a young girl with the head of a rabbit in a pose, just like the Great Sphinx of Egypt. The rabbit is a common figure in her works that is selected for its meaning in the Chinese Zodiac: “It shows my appreciation of beauty from deep within heart,” she says.
Tian says the rabbit girls she paints are all reflections of herself. “They grow from my mood. I don’t want to interpret them too much, but I would say they are a product of my environment rather than personal fancy,” she says.
The ambiguities in her paintings leave plenty of room for viewer interpretation.
An invisible man, inspired by a film shoot to Yunan in 2013, is depicted in Camouflage. The work discusses the circumstances of modern life, where everyone is living in their own movie that is seen from different angles and perspectives, and where everyone is easily upset by misunderstandings.
Critics have called Tian’s works “smooth and emotive, with a bit of sadness – But all presented in a harmonious way”. That balance requires professional accomplishment, she says.
“Professional artists do not wait for ideas to come – They seek them out. It is like a Gold Rush where artists are planning for treasure”, she says.
Tian’s favorite painting is Drift, in which a sad clown is seen trying to sell a balloon with no string. “The clown is a metaphor for proximity. If you go to places like Sanlitun, you can see lots of merchants selling balloons – Their lives are extremely hard”, she said.
In her all of the works, love is the uniting theme. “I think the message is very clear, but it is not easy to accept. Love is the most valuable treasure of humanity”, she says.
Love plays a bigger role in her Planet Series. At first look the theme may seem irrelevant, but the deeper meaning is fascinating. “Love is the only thing we are capable of perceiving that transcends time and space”, the film Interstellar combines the love through dimension.
When asked what differentiates her works when they all share a theme, Tian says, “There are attitude shifts from image to image, but my paintings are not meant to be compared. I see the creative process like driving a car. The scenery out the window may change, but my art is always following a consistent path”.