00 featured image of Hao Long, The Lightness of Being series No.1, oil on board, 120 x 80 cm, 2016

The 2017 CAFA’s graduate Hao Long, studies in the Department of Fundamental Education for Plastic Arts and his mentor is Ye Nan. “The Lightness of Being” series of paintings attack the soul in the simplest and purest way, to explore the “Heaviness” and “Lightness” of the being.

“The valuable thing of being is the inherent power that comes spontaneously when it faces the environment. Perhaps we think that some people’s lives are really insignificant, but I firmly believe that it is the most valuable ordinary power in life. I intended to use a simple and concise method of painting to express a narrative situation, and to intentionally flatten the picture. For this group of paintings, each one is relatively independent, while each part is a suggestion of the existence of an ordinary man. The presentation has been designed showing the back or side face of the characters, perhaps this face without any expression is more introverted or complex, with the uncertainty of expression, but it is certain that this solution aims at creating suspense.”

– Hao Long

“Hao Long is a diligent student, with a solid foundation in painting, but at the beginning of the graduation creation, he encountered unprecedented difficulties so his creative idea was stopped, then he was unable to find his own artistic creation, but his creative enthusiasm was not affected by repeating the work many times, instead he persistently explored the art, so that his graduation creation finally showcases a good outcome and is gaining praise from people.

– Ye Nan

Interview Time: May 25, 2017

Interviewee: Hao Long (hereinafter referred to as Hao)

Interviewer: Lin Jiabin (hereinafter referred to as CAFA ART INFO)

CAFA ART INFO: For this graduation season, you bring the group paintings of “The Lightness of Being” series, which is a “heavy”, “profound” theme reflected in the title, would you like to talk about your ideas for this work?

Hao: In my opinion, the “heavy” and “profound” refers to the full daily cycle. The contradiction between “lightness” and “heaviness” runs through the core of my whole graduation creation. First of all, it is a confrontation between the thick and heavy wood board and the processing of acrylic; on the other hand, I want to show the insignificant contradiction between the heavy and profound performance and the ordinary characters in the painting. I lived in Tiantongyuan during the period of my postgraduate study, and I usually went to school on the subway or by bus, sometimes I meet people who I have met before, whose expressions are the same although they dress in different clothes. The original idea came from the railways because I grew up at the side of a railway, this left me with a deep impression. After several trials, I began to focus on the performance of people and the environment.

CAFA ART INFO: In the painting, we see the backs of many characters, what are your thoughts on this?    

Hao: This processing approach is related to my view on ordinary life. I think that the image of the back can fully reflect the general characteristics of ordinary people, showing a more complex and implicit emotion, I think it is more appropriate than depicting a clear face in terms of the power of performance. For the choice of perspective, this treatment can enable the viewer to stand behind the characters to feel the scene as felt by the characters in the painting. The viewer can also consider it as pre-set suspense.

CAFA ART INFO: In “The Lightness of Being” series of paintings, in addition to the backs or silhouettes of characters, the images of the wilderness, railways, dead wood, and the lonely bench in the park are repeated, which gives people a special “lonely” feeling, did you intend to create this design? Are the scenes that appear in the paintings true scenes or virtual scenes built in your mind?

Hao: Yes, I want to pursue such an effect, these scenes are not real and I hope to achieve an effect that is close to the real scenes. In the beginning, I collected materials as a reference, and then took these materials as elements to organize a screen, and I personally preferred the flattened process, as I can control it better. I also prefer quietness, and this loneliness reflects my understanding and feeling on social life.

CAFA ART INFO: In “The Lightness of Being” series of paintings, in addition to the use of acrylic and oil painting to create, there are also some drawings, which are slightly different from the previous works, it seems that the images of the characters were specifically designed, so that people have a feeling that they are in a “dynamic” or “nonexistence”, would you like to talk about this practice?       

Hao: There are only a few pieces in this series of drawings and they are small. My drawings aim at finishing thoughts of the works in acrylic, namely I began to turn my attention to the performance of the characters in the process, which was related to the anxiety that I felt. I think I am weak being an independent individual, and the majority of the ordinary people have similar feelings, especially people who live in the big city who have stronger feelings.

CAFA ART INFO: Why did you choose to study at the Department of Fundamental Education for Plastic Arts? Have you considered trying another creative style except for easel painting?  

Hao: I prefer to sit down and draw, so I chose the Department of Fundamental Education for Plastic Arts. I am rather slow in absorbing information, and it might be slowly reflected in my future creations but I still hope it is related to easel paintings. I have had some trials with mineral materials and it is possible to combine them with my creations.

CAFA ART INFO: How does the study experience at CAFA have an impact on your artistic creation? Did the mentor’s advise inspire you in the process of creation?     

Hao: CAFA offered a three-dimensional resource and students are able to participate in the communication of the resource. The biggest harvest is to make the acquaintance of a lot of friends, we are learning from each other, and we gain inspiration when friends are chatting and this inspiration might be transformed into more precise ideas. My mentor Ye Nan has been offering me a great help to my creation, especially in the conception of the work, as well as the relationship between creation and life. I think Prof. Ye has offered the greatest impact on the human feelings of work.

CAFA ART INFO: Do you have any plans after graduation?

Hao: After graduation I will go to another city to teach in a university, which is my ideal job, and I have plenty of time to continue to create and I will continue in the study on the creation of this stage.

Image courtesy of the artist, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

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