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Interview with artist Cai Qinying

Cai Qinying, a gifted artist from China, specializes in emotionally evocative oil paintings. Her artistic journey, rooted in childhood as a refuge from dyslexia, has evolved into a captivating exploration of classical artistry. She graduated from the Imperial Academy of Arts in St Petersburg, Russia which gave her a profound classical foundation and skills. Cai's work, including notable pieces like "Falling" and "Transitory Grief," reflects a deep connection to and understanding of personal experiences we all go through and resonates with the shared emotions through each generation. As a talented storyteller, Cai Qinying invites viewers to connect and feel the common threads of our shared human experience as well as reminds us of a fleeting nature of emotions and life experiences. Her message to the audience is: we are sometimes shrouded in darkness, but it’s important not to forget that there is brightness and never stop seeking it.


Having graduated from the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, how do you feel this classical training has influenced your approach to creating emotionally evocative oil paintings, particularly in works like 'Falling' and 'Transitory Grief'?

Graduating from the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg was a major milestone for me. The classical training I received there has undeniably shaped my approach to creating emotionally charged oil paintings, particularly evident in works like 'Falling' and 'Transitory Grief.' 'Falling' serves as a poignant reminder that even in moments of despair, one possesses the inner strength to prevent oneself from descending into the abyss. Conversely, 'Transitory Grief' captures the transient nature of human emotions, akin to the fleeting movement of clouds across the sky. My artistic process revolves around harmonizing timeless techniques learned from the masters at the Academy with my own unique style, resulting in pieces that resonate deeply with viewers. It's a delicate balance of technique, composition, and tapping into the depths of emotion to create a profoundly personal artistic expression.

Self Portrait
"Self Portrait"

From your early works to your current creations, how has your art evolved? Can you share insights into the shifts in themes, techniques, or perspectives over time?

Over the years, my art has undergone significant evolution, marked by shifts in themes, techniques, and perspectives. In my early works, I often explored traditional subjects, experimenting with classic themes and styles. However, as my artistic journey progressed, I found myself drawn to more complex and nuanced themes, delving deeper into the human experience. This shift has led me to explore a diverse range of subjects, from introspective reflections on personal growth to broader societal issues. Alongside thematic changes, my techniques have also evolved. I've embraced various mediums, from traditional oil painting to digital art, allowing me to express myself in new and innovative ways. Additionally, my perspective as an artist has broadened, influenced by my experiences and interactions with the world around me. I now approach each piece with a greater sense of exploration and curiosity, viewing art as a continual journey of self-discovery and growth.

“Sea of Tears”
“Sea of Tears”

You've mentioned that art became a refuge from dyslexia during your childhood. How has dyslexia influenced your approach to art and life in general, and do you feel it has shaped your creative vision in unique ways?

Growing up with dyslexia, art became more than just a passion—it became my refuge. While dyslexia presented its share of challenges, it also gifted me with a unique perspective that has profoundly influenced both my art and my outlook on life. Struggling with traditional forms of communication, I learned to rely on visual cues and intuition, developing a heightened sensitivity to shapes, colors, and textures. This reliance on visual thinking has not only shaped my artistic process but has also informed how I navigate the world around me. Rather than viewing dyslexia as a hindrance, I see it as a secret superpower that infuses my art with an extra layer of depth and authenticity. It's this unique lens through which I perceive the world that allows me to tell stories in ways that resonate deeply with others, transcending the limitations of traditional communication. In essence, dyslexia has not only shaped my creative vision but has also empowered me to embrace my differences and channel them into a source of strength and inspiration.

"Palm Fairy"
"Palm Fairy"

Your work is described as a captivating exploration that resonates with shared emotions across generations. What processes do you use to weave personal experiences into universal narratives within your paintings?

In my artistic process, I draw inspiration from my own journey and emotions to create paintings that resonate with shared human experiences. To achieve this, I employ various techniques aimed at fostering empathy and connection in viewers. One such approach involves careful composition, where I arrange elements within the painting to convey universal themes and emotions. Symbolism plays a crucial role as well, allowing me to imbue my work with layers of meaning that speak to broader human truths. Additionally, storytelling is integral to my process; each painting becomes a narrative that invites viewers to explore their own lives and emotions through the lens of the artwork. By tapping into these universal themes and emotions, I aim to create a space for collective understanding and introspection, fostering a sense of empathy and connection that transcends individual experiences.

Crystal Clear
Crystal Clear

The message of seeking brightness amidst darkness is a powerful theme in your artwork. How do you hope to inspire your audience with this message, and are there specific pieces that you feel encapsulate this idea most effectively?

The theme of seeking brightness amidst darkness is a central motif in my artwork, symbolizing resilience, hope, and the triumph of the human spirit. Through my pieces, I aim to inspire my audience by showcasing the beauty and possibility that can emerge even in the toughest times. One technique I employ is the use of symbolism and metaphor to convey this message, such as depicting light breaking through clouds or emerging from shadowy landscapes. Additionally, I utilize composition and color to evoke a sense of contrast, with vibrant hues juxtaposed against darker tones to symbolize the juxtaposition of hope and despair. Among my works, pieces like 'Falling,' 'Transitory Grief,' and the 'Self-portrait' effectively encapsulate this idea. In 'Falling' and 'Transitory Grief,' viewers can perceive a sense of struggle and turmoil, yet within these narratives, there is also a glimmer of hope—a reminder that even in our darkest moments, there is potential for renewal and growth. Similarly, the 'Self-portrait' captures the cyclical nature of life, portraying the continuous journey from darkness to light and back again. Through these pieces, I hope to serve as a beacon of hope for my audience, encouraging them to find their own sources of resilience and inner strength, even in the face of adversity.

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