NAME: Mitchell (Yuxiang) Wang Location: Live in Jersey City, work in Manhattan
So we’re going to start with the difficult question: sum up your creative process in one word/phrase, and explain why!
C.O.C.K. (I’m not being disrespectful, and sorry Mom if you are reading this)
- Capture the moments. Most of my materials came from little vulnerable moments in daily life, I found it to be captivating because those are the moments you are the truest to yourself. It’s brutal but there is beauty in it.
- Outline the scene. I usually start with sketches to outline the storyboard and create a sort of creative flow.
- Cast the emotion. Once the framework is done, I will start pouring the colors and emotions onto it. I need to feel and almost relive those moments that I’m depicting. I want it to be bold but not overwhelming.
- Keep it true. I don’t go overboard. The emotion is there, but I don’t let it take over and be in charge. I need it to stay true and authentic, I need others to resonate with it.
Were you always an artist, even as a child? What was your path to becoming an artist?
I’m the only child in the family. My parents were busy with their work all the time, so I learned how to entertain myself as a kid. Pencil and sketch papers were my best friends. I would spend hours drawing and coloring. Sailor Moon characters were my favorite things to draw. I loved the feeling of getting lost in the ecstasy of pure creation, it almost felt like I was haunted and became a different person. That’s how I knew at a young age that no matter what happens, I will always have art to hold on to. It’s like a harbor where I always feel safe and embraced.
What is your medium of choice and what drew you to this particular medium?
Digital art. I love how creative you get to be with digital art. There are literally no boundaries. You can mix all kinds of mediums, you can layer water color over oil painting along with charcoal sketching. The possibilities are unlimited. It allows you to create unique pieces of art.
Most of all, you get to avoid making a huge mess of your apartment or wherever you are working on your art. No accidental paint spills on furniture, no piles of brushes and water buckets, all you need is your iPad, apple pencil and a glass of wine (sometimes a bottle).
Is there any particular experience, person, place or thing that inspires you to create? Tell us about that.
The entire collection is pink, featuring different shades and textures, but all pink. The inspiration behind it was my single life. People always portray singlehood as sad, dull, black and white, what they don’t know is you can just own it and turn it into something glamorous and spectacular.
Remember that night you left the party before everyone else, grabbed a slice at the corner pizza store and hopped on the F train home? You feel sentimental but you are not lonely.
Or that Sunday afternoon you spent on your couch naked reading and drank a whole bottle of rose? The quietness of your studio apartment calms you, you hear birds chirping outside on the fire stairs, you hear the icemaker running in your freezer and you think “what a nice world without a human voice.”
I guess what I’m trying to get at is that there is a crucial distinction between “being alone” and “being lonely”. The former is a choice, whereas the latter is an emotion and they don’t always equate one another, and I attempt to enliven my solitary moments with a gleeful pink color.
Moreover, being single doesn’t mean you can’t have a loving and content life. It actually gives you the opportunity to work on the relationship with yourself, which is the most significant relationship you ever get to have in life. I chose to look at my singlehood through these pink lenses and enjoy those little vulnerable yet mindful moments.
What is it like showing your work to people and what do you hope people take away from it?
Each and every one of these pieces is very personal. Showing them to people felt like having my personal journal read by the public to a certain extent. However, I also feel this simultaneous urge to tell my stories and send the message across. Your vulnerability makes who you are and oftentimes you can nurture it and become a stronger and more mindful person. There was a very sweet couple that reached out to me after the show and told me how much the pink series resonated with them. They are moving in together to a new apartment and wanted to have my artwork on their wall to remind them how single life shaped them up to be a better version of themselves and eventually led them to each other. They sent me the following message on Instagram:
“We were talking about how it’s actually really appropriate to have a love letter to single life in our first place together. We both enjoyed being single because it allowed us to grow and develop and fall in love with ourselves before we met each other. We’d never change those single years and we’re so happy to have an ode to that important time up on our walls.”
This meant everything to me. The connection and instant bond created through art is just magical! It absolutely serves as a great deal of momentum for me to keep going on the path of art.
What advice do you have for other artists who may be looking to get their work exhibited?
Be bold and stay true. If you have a voice, speak out as bold and loud as you can through your art. Meanwhile, stay true to yourself because truthfulness manifests itself and it’s how you tug at heartstrings.