Name: Hui Ma    Location: New York City

Sum up your creative process in one word/phrase, and explain why.


I mix ideas and mediums to create a complex and entertaining scene.

I always combine inspirations from my dream, childhood memory, classic artworks, as well as my everyday life encounters. I like writing notes and drawing sketch whenever a new idea hits me, then combines and edits a few similar ideas into a series of artwork. I experiment on combining different materials and mediums for my works too. It’s always based on my mood and theme. Sometimes I prefer traditional media like acrylic or watercolor, other times I use resin or make collages with found objects. With this process, I slowly create a sarcastically fun world.

Were you always an artist, even as a child? What was your path to becoming an artist?

I think so. I am not from a rich family, and with both my parents working, I learned to entertain myself at an early age. Paper and pencil were my favorite and accessible toys. I draw everything I wanted but couldn’t get. Like a Barbie doll,  dollhouse, snacks, new clothes, and so on. When drawing them, I slowing imagine the taste of enjoying them. In that way I already had them, and I will be satisfied. I think I was a sort of artist when I was a child. When I was a little bit older, I started to consider to be an artist. I had traditional drawing and painting training, which prepared me a solid foundation for future creativity. When graduated from undergraduate, I took a break and traveling around to experience different cultures. I didn’t draw much during the break, but my “artistic” eye and mind never switch off, so all the experience has later become the inspiration for my artwork. Now I stay in my studio most of the time, but take short trips and draw sketches from time to time.

What is your medium of choice and what drew you to this particular medium?

I mainly use watercolor on paper, then use watercolor pencil with the details.

I started to study Chinese traditional ink drawing when I was 6 years old. The interaction between ink and paper has always fascinated me. It was immediate, passionate, and the texture was one of the only kind. The experience has influenced me greatly. Later when I was older and started to pursue my artist career, watercolor naturally becomes my choice of medium.

Is there any particular experience, person, place or thing that inspires you to create? Tell us about that.

There are many people and experiences that inspire me to create this series. I used to learn traditional Chinese painting when I was a little kid, and later Western art history also had a big influence on me. So my work is mostly the fusion of eastern drawing techniques and western subjects. First and foremost, I am deeply influenced by Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights. I love the bazaar world that he created. All the details in the painting were horrific, but also kind of funny. I was also inspired by erotic comics. I was about 10 years old when I encountered romantic/erotic comic the first time. I was so shocked since no one in the family talks about sexuality (of course, I was too young for the topic). I didn’t know the stories in the comic is just a fantasy that is not likely to happen in the real world. But the flesh, sensation, and depiction of intimacy have made me create my own fantasy world in later years.

What is it like showing your work to people and what do you hope people take away from it?

Most people giggle when they see my work for the first time. I think it’s the first and most honest reaction when people hear a dirty joke. I enjoy the flirtation in my works, and that makes my friends tell an inappropriate joke.

With all the big words to describe my work, I simply want people to find my work entertaining and find more details and stories every time they see my work.

What advice do you have for other artists who may be looking to get their work exhibited?

Always follow your passion. Don’t imitate other artists work just because they are successful (except practicing drawing techniques). Also, besides staying in your studio, be actively connects to other artists. It is important to have a community that supports you and gives you good advice.

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