Monday, June 22, 2009

A Chinese artist in New York

All over Times Square, you can find Chinese artistes offering to draw your picture and in most cases, they are quite good.

There are also many street vendors selling framed pictures of cover illustrations of the New Yorker as well as photographs of iconic NY scenes. Most of them offered the same things and they were really no different after a while.

But in my trip to New York last year, I met Jane Dong, a Chinese artist who migrated to New York from Shanghai in the 80s. Both she and her husband were graduates from the Shanghai Art College and while she loved to paint women in the most stunning colors, her husband was into landscapes and still art.

I bought some prints of her original works and enjoyed them so much that I was hoping to see her again. Her stall was situated just outside MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art which was near my hotel but somehow, there was no sign of her for the first few days. But just hours before my trip back home to Singapore, I saw her again.

We chatted like old friends, about the present crop of overpriced Chinese artistes to the sad state of the American economy. She was lamenting that she hasn’t got the inspiration to paint anymore as tastes have changed. Back in the good days, she was even commissioned to paint huge works of art for some Americans but tastes of the present generation have changed.

Old school or not, I love how she blends her colors and how the women in her works have that lovely languid feel.I hope Jane finds the inspiration to paint again.

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