Review Me: Jiawei Fu: Mundane and Humor
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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Jiawei Fu: Mundane and Humor

Hi Jiawei, we are very glad to have you here for this interview. Please go through your artistic story and let our readers know if there was a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as a visual artist?
Currently, I am still a student studying at Pratt Institute in New York. Started to paint when I was around 7 years old but only painted occasionally since that was not my major. But the COVID-19 this year kind of pushed me to pick up my painting again.

Was there ever a moment of doubt to question your art career entirely?
Yes of course. I'm from China where family more wanted their children to become a doctor or lawyer. I spent a long time to persuade my family letting me to go to a design school. But the questioning from others in my culture have slapped me over and over.

Take us through your process of making your artworks. How do you move from an idea to an artwork? Where does an artwork begin for you?
All my ideas come from my daily life. Some conversation, some flashback, some expression, even some movement. It's not that hard to move from one idea to next, but hard to make the idea into something special and meaningful. The artwork begins whenever experience exists.

As you mentioned in your first set of questions, the presented series is about COVID-19 quarantine still life. Please describe the main message of the whole set of your presented artworks for our readers.
We slowly become the unnoticeable "object" in daily life, and yet no one notice this yet. I invite the spectator to immerse themselves into each painting, see themselves as the character in each setting, bring their emotions during quarantine and relate it to each scenario. Although it is an endless loop of hopeless life, we haven't give up yet. Grasp the tail of the hope, bury it into the earth, and grow it back up again for the end of the loop. Mundane but inspiring.

In some of your presented artworks, like Another Zoom Day, it seems that being a cat is a dominant concept. Our readers were excited about the cats in your artworks. For instance in numbness, they seem to be the symbol of laziness or boredom. Have you selected cats because most of us live with our pets 24 hours in the age of COVID-19?
Yes, it reflects not only myself but also all other people who at the same situation as me. I live with my cat 24 hours under the quarantine period, and I noticed that I pretty much is a cat. Lay on the bed, and the only reason to get up is for food, toilet, and class, which is the laziness and boredom that reveal in the painting. Everyday is like a loop, repeat itself endlessly. But at the same time, I never feel into myself ever before.

You have also presented your portrait in Self Portrait dedicated to "Golden Marilyn Monroe" by Andy Warhol. Using the color set that emphasizes coldness on your face seems to be interesting. Was it meant to present some kind of hopelessness or referring to the uncertain future?
It is more like an uncertain for myself and uncertain how people look at me. This painting was completed during a period when I was trying to reassure myself that people who like me is actually liking me. I want to put myself as "marilyn monroe" who everybody like. But once I start to paint, I realize, it's not that people don't like me, but it's the uncertainty from myself. So I try to paint out the emotionless feeling through contrast color

Why applying collage technique for some of the pieces in this collection? Do you think that this technique supports your idea better?
The collage pieces is during the period when everything just shut down. There's no place to buy any materials. I found those left over fabric from my previous work, and collage them together. Because I really want to paint at that moment, even on different materials

Some of our readers wanted to know why in some artworks, such as Tedious or Relentless, the human figures are faceless. Please describe your purpose a bit.
During the lock down, people not seeing each other any more. We slowly forget what other's look like. Even we have "zoom" "facetime" etc. The screen is making everyone so ambiguous. I feel like, at that period of time, we just know that there are someone on the other side of the screen or the other side of the wall. But we don't know their appearance, and they can be anyone. And we don't really need to present out face out there to someone because of the restriction of in person interaction.

Any upcoming works or future projects that you would like to share with our readers?
Yes, I'm working on a collage painting which will be painted over the beer cap. Texture and pattern will be the main things that I will work on.

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