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"Through My Loving Eyes": An Interview with Sicheng Wang

This month's featured artwork comes from Sicheng Wang. We were instant fans of his approach to the self-portrait. Sicheng recently took the time to answer a few questions about "Self-portrait," the piece featured in Split Lip, and his artistic process:

1. A number of your paintings, including "Self-portrait," feature the back of the figure rather than the face. Can you talk about this choice and what it allows you to explore?

The back is a vulnerable part of the body. We usually like to hide it rather than show it, except with those we trust. It shows the deep loneliness with the eagerness for being loved. Painting the back of the figure is an attempt to open myself to my audience. Meanwhile, it’s my self-reflection. Because I lack confidence in some sort of way. I think to be an artist is to explore my defect

through artworks. Painted the back of the figure is my expression of farewell and my enthusiasm of life.

2. You've mentioned you paint Baltimore at sunset every day. How did this project come about and what have you learned in the process?

Originally, painting Baltimore’s sunsets was a study of color. Color is a tool for expressing emotions. Sunset and twilight are magic moments which easily ignite human emotion. I want to use the sunset colors to connect with emotion. Through the process, it helps me look at the outside world and then express externally what I see internally. As the project moves ahead, my original intention was changed. Looking at the sunsets of Baltimore every day for the last

year, I fell into a meditative state of mind. I clearly felt the passing trace of time which gives me a space to think about my life. I started to paint without thinking, just letting the movement of hand and the color that I saw to express my enlightening moment naturally. At the end of this project, it came out like a self-reflective piece. And I learned how to use color to convey my emotions.

3. How do your digital painting process and your oil on canvas process differ from one another? Does each medium allow you to explore something different?

Digital paintings are more like a diary or a notebook for me. I usually carry an iPad when I travel around without my painting supplies. So I use digital painting to paint spontaneously and every daily life. And I focus on reality, recording the things that I see. However, when I work on canvas, I mostly edit the picture or image that I am interested in to combine with my imagination and painterly skills. These two media help me to explore two opposite ways of making paintings. Digital painting is training my ability of seeing from nature and painting as soon as I can to capture the perfect moment. Oil on canvas builds my ability of thinking and editing. It helps me to develop my imagination.

4. You also shared that missing home is an emotion you cannot resist. Can you share how this is expressed in your work?

Painting Baltimore is an effort to make this place as home through my loving eyes. The things that

I paint are the things I love deeply. I painted sunsets and the sky of Baltimore every day last year. These painted sunsets are about seeing nature; at the same time, it shows the longing for home and the bittersweetness of living in a foreign land. Choosing to be an artist is to choose a lifestyle of communicating with my internal world, which requires being honest with myself. Missing home is an emotion that I cannot resist, which is expressed in my work. Each sunset

painting is a small window of my mind. Looking at these paintings is a way to observe myself. I think sunset and twilight are emotional moments. When people look at the sky, we were mesmerized by the transient hues. The color I captured is the mood I had on that day.

***

All images appear courtesy of Sicheng Wang.


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