PEANUT SOUP DELUXE had the privilege of interviewing the very talented and beautiful painter Xue Wang. She talks to us briefly about cute dolls, cartoon food and scary pigeons...
PSD: We understand that you have a degree in fashion. How did you end up painting instead?
Xue Wang: Yes I studied fashion in China and the UK. After a couple of years working in fashion I found myself creatively penned in. In fact I started by illustration on paper and greetings card design. After that I started to experiment on bigger scale. Oil paint seemed a natural medium for this and I love it!
PSD: How would you describe your work?
Xue Wang: If one word were chosen to describe my paintings, it would be ‘edgy’. Superficially they may appear ‘cute’ but my intention is to unsettle, albeit subtly. As the creeping wasp on the fairy cake does.
PSD: How do you go about creating a new piece? Do you work from a sketch or just go with the flow?
Xue Wang: I always have a small sketch book with me at all times to note down ideas I have quickly in case it pops like a bubble. And then I look back at these ideas to develop them, then I sketch it again properly to decide if it’s good enough to go on the canvas.
PSD: Like most artists you probably have a million ideas you would like to see on canvas and working with oil paintings can take a while to dry. How do you deal with this? And have you ever thought of working with other mediums?
Xue Wang: I normally work on a few pieces at the same time so I can paint one while the others are drying. I’ve worked with lots of media before: pencil, ink, watercolour, gouache, pastel…but for now, oil is the one! I love the smell…
PSD: How do you relax when your not creating work?
Xue Wang: I love shopping like most girls. I’m always on the hunt for vintage clothing and antique toys—my biggest passion! I also love walking for miles and miles and miles and…
PSD: Who are your biggest influences? And if you could have lunch with them who would you pick?
Xue Wang: My biggest influences are Frida Kahlo, Henry Dagar, Alfred Kubin, Mark Ryden, Alfred Hitchcock, Federico Fellini, Betty Page, Betty Boop and er…countless others. I’ll choose Betty Boop to have lunch with cause I’ve never eaten cartoon food.
PSD: Do you listen to music whilst you work? Whats on your music list?
Xue Wang: Yes I do. Buena Vista Social Club, Enoch Light - Persuasive Percussion, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Billy Holiday, Josephine Baker, Bernard Herrman, Woody Herman, the list is endless. Quintessentially, I like jazz and big band sounds.
PSD: Tell us 3 things about you that people may not know?
Xue Wang: I ‘m terrified of pigeons. I have size 3 feet and sometimes wear children’s shoes. Most oddly, I collect tamarind seeds.
PSD: So how do you come up with all those cute looking characters?
Xue Wang: They’re a mixture of toys, dolls and things I ‘adopted’ from junk shops and antique shops. Sometimes they were born in my head.
PSD: What advice would you give to anyone trying to pursue a career in art?
Xue Wang: I’m very lucky to be able to do what I wanted in my life—paint although there were frustrations and down sides. But if this is what you want, go for it. Maybe having a part time job at the beginning would help with the financial situation. And live frugally.
PSD: Is there anything your working on at the moment?
Xue Wang: My show in Copro Gallery (CA) is opening soon before Xmas. The theme is based on a demolished Victorian mental institution in Sussex. Just on the verge of finishing the collection, I’m very excited!
A big thank you to Xue for the interview. For more on Xue Wang please visit the links below: