Interview: David Jia


Can you give us a brief introduction to your art and design?

I started art when I was five, learning it from my father. Later, I went to a professional art school to learn to sketch and use colored pencils. Then, I went to the Shandong Art Institute to learn design until I went to the US to learn oil painting. I learned how to paint oil paintings in 2015, and now I paint many oil paintings.

When did you go to America? Why did you go to America?

I went to the U.S. in 2000. I love art. I wanted to see new perspectives of drawings because I had practiced art in China for a long time. I was also curious about the Western-style paintings.

Where did you live in the US?

I lived in Los Angeles, California.

You received art education both in China and in the US. What are the major differences?

I saw a lot of cultural differences. In my opinion, the U.S. artists usually draw more realistically, and Chinese artists draw more from their hearts and feelings. The U.S. artists tend to draw what is in front of their eye; Chinese artists, by contrast, often add some subjective opinions and imagination. Chinese artists even just create the scene, including the atmosphere and the people. This is Xieyi style (an interpretive and freely expressive Chinese painting style).

How did you choose where to paint or what to paint?

The places I live, and the places I’m familiar with, especially in the U.S. In Qingdao, I usually draw some landmark buildings and scenery such as the cathedral and the seaside.

What do you like to paint the most?

I prefer to paint landscapes.

We learned from the web that you have been engaged in art education, what are your goals for art education? How do your experiences in both China and the US influence your views and goals on art education?

I wish to spread awareness of artistic foundations. I want to improve people’s engagement with art because I think that’s a fundamental aspect to connecting with culture. Art reflects the essence of humanity.

Can you give us some examples of art education activities hosted by your studio?

Our studio went to some schools two months ago, where we gave students free classes. They made anime figures and stuck small animal drawings and cuttings onto paper. We tried to offer some foundational art training and spread awareness of art.

Who has influenced you the most?

My father. My father started to teach me art when I was little. He also helped me pay more attention to art. When I was around five or six years old, he took me to many different outdoor places to paint them. I remembered once it was very cold, with snow, and my father woke me up in the early morning and told me excitedly, “Son, wake up! We are going to go outside and paint!” I thought, “Gosh, how are we going to draw in this cold weather?” That was my father’s passion for art, and it motivated me. After all these years, I still remember them because my father has infused passion for art into me.

What other hobbies do you have?

I like music, especially electronic music. I have some equipment I brought back from the U.S. I like to DJ.

If you meet a child who loves art, what advice would you give to the child?

I’d hope they develop a passion for art, like to create, and sketch out their true feelings—unrestricted by traditional art styles. I’d hope the parents would engage their children and take them to many art museums or art exhibitions. My father took me to many art exhibitions. Actually, as a kid, I didn’t really understand art, but it gradually influenced me to see and to feel slowly, and that is the best.

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