Friday, December 27, 2013

Interview with Hu Jingxuan

Things are a bit slow around here. Here is an email interview with Hu Jingxuan.

1. For those who are not familiar with your art, can you introduce yourself?

I am a visual artist trained in fine art. I mainly work in the medium of painting and comics in which I want to create a surreal wasteland of painted structure, textures, lines and patterns that ravish with pseudo‐organic ornamentation and rotten opulence. My website:

2. What are your major works so far?

My debut comic book Lament, comic strips in the book series Liquid City Volumes 1 and 3, and my long running comic strip in the 早报逗号 newspaper published by the Singapore Press Holdings.

3. Turning points:
- Lament
- story in Liquid City
- studying in Chicago
- studying in London

How have the above experiences changed you and your practice?
Can give an example of a major work in Chicago and in London thus far - could be art or comics.

Two years of working on Lament gave me a taste of what it takes to be a comic artist. Since then, I have made up my mind to pursue a career in art.
Drawing comics for Liquid City made me more aware of my own identity and forged a strong sense of belonging with the comic community of South East Asia. It also gave me the great opportunity of meeting many great local creators and I’m very glad to have met you through the Liquid City volumes!

Chicago provided the best playground for me to test the terrain of art. I studied painting, sculpture, design and even worked for a theatre. It made me realize that art is very multi-layered and I am making new discoveries everyday in my studio.

I wanted to further make strides with my painting and that’s why I decided to do a Master of Fine Art degree in London. It has given me with tools essential for maintaining an art practice that I can keep challenging myself with.

4. How did the audience respond to your comics when you had a booth at MCM Comic Con, etc? (which conventions have you been to so far in London? other than MCM last year and this year…)

I have been quite actively involved in all the major comic conventions in UK such as MCM, London Film and Comic Convention, London Anime Con and Thought Bubble. A large portion of my audience like gothic and Japanese anime culture. Most of them commented that they really like my very detailed and ornamental drawing style. A few readers wrote me emails commenting that they could relate to my stories and they admired the mix of pain and love inside.

5. How were your recent experience presenting about your comics at Transitions 4 comic symposium and the drawing session at the Comica Comiket?

It was a bit uncomfortable at first since making art for me is mostly an intimate process through which I try to have a deep conversation with myself. But after a while, I get into the flow and it’s great. I feel proud to be showing people what I love to do and create more awareness for Asian artists.

6. You are influenced by manga. What are some of your favorites?

Angel Sanctuary, Nana, Gantz and Hunter X Hunter, to name a few.

7. Do you consider yourself an artist from Singapore or from China?

I think I am a Singapore artist since this is the country I became inspired to do comics.

8. Is there a Singapore style for comics?

Hmmm, I do not think so.

9. Given your own manga influences, do you think we even speak of a national style for comics? (whether it is for Singapore or other countries)

I think styles are difficult to define and something that is easily definable might be cliché. I think a comic is a medium artists use to tell a story, it might be better to be left open-ended so creativity can flow freely.

10. Any new influences for comics? You mentioned Enki Bilal at Transitions 4...

Art-style-wise, my recent muse includes Japanese woodprints and Art Nouveau.

11. Which writers influence your writing? (comic stories)

Hajime Isayama from Japan and Xiada from China.

12. What's next?

I’m currently working on a series of canvas paintings that deconstructs space and incorporates elements and traces from contemporary life and my personal memories. At the same time, I am planning and drawing a new comic story.