20200824-IMG_0768 - Jingze Du.jpg

INTERVIEW WITH JINGZE DU

A short conversation with the freshest Chinese artist based and flexin' in Dublin.

the interview was done on

21 November 2020

Image courtesy of the artist and Steve Turner, Los Angeles

S.M

"You’re born in China, Yantai, and you grew up in Ireland. This background itself is very rare. What was the cultural shift like?"

J.D

"The initial shock was the weather and the food. I still miss our Shangdong cuisine. Things are more relaxed and easy-going in Ireland. We share the same obsession for American pop culture. When I lived in London for my MA, it reminded me of China again. Their idea of tea is still very different. "

S.M

"Did you start painting from an early age?"

J.D

"I started learning academic drawing when I was five years old. My teacher, Wu Xiaolin, a great painter insisted that I should have strong fundamentals.
I started painting at around 15. My mother encouraged me to go to museums and galleries to look at the works in real life instead of from photographs. I loved to look closely at the paintings’ surfaces from different angles to learn techniques and guess the artists’ feelings and motives."

S.M

"We noticed that you used to do a lot of photography. What was that like? "

J.D

I love it! Photography was my gateway to many new fields and events. I didn’t know many people when I first arrived in Dublin. The camera was a great tool for me to meet and connect with new people.
In college, my friends and I were big fans of the street photographer Daniel Arnold. I love fashion and also looked at a lot of images by Nick Knight, Tim Walker, Paolo Roversi and Juergen Teller. My knowledge gained a theoretical layer when I began studying Wolfgang Tillmans and Hito Steyerl.

Photography helped me enormously in terms of understanding the role and impact of images, as well as how they interact with the viewer and the space they inhabit.

S.M

"What’s your studio like?"

J.D

"An orderly mess. I have only the essentials in my studio, though it’s still crowded. I’m currently doing a residency at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin."

S.M

"Any Daily rituals / routines?"

J.D

"I like to listen to Podcasts and catch up on readings during my daily commutes. They lend me an outsider’s perspective and help me view and understand my work as someone else."

S.M

"Who inspires you? Or What inspires you?"

J.D

"Inspiration comes from everywhere. Educating myself with as much history as possible helps me better understand the context of my practice."

S.M

"The portraits all have an elongated, and distorted feature. Perhaps this is what most of us know your work for. This style, what are you trying to say? What are you exploring here?"

J.D

"I think I initially took cues from Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Many other musicians are also distorting and layering their own vocals to create a more soulful and impactful sound. I tried to apply that technique to a visual medium. I want to test the effects that distortion has on images, and how it may affect the viewers engagement with it. The skull in the ‘The Ambassadors’ encouraged me to also think about the possibility of looking at an image from more than one viewpoint. I imagined how my viewers may engage with the image differently depending on where they stand in the room. I don’t think I have made what I set out to do, which makes each new work interesting for me. I like to allow a painting happen organically during its creation, sometimes diverting from my initial idea, and becoming more interesting to me through these changes."

S.M

"Most of your work are In Black/white grey scale.
Back in the days, you used to do collage-like paintings. Tell us about your evolution of style."

J.D

"The earlier paintings were trying to explore too many things at once. The portrait paintings are in fact still collage paintings, for instance, a nose from one image and eyes from another. The overall series can also act like a collage. I learnt it’s best to keep things simple, and trust the work to grow organically. "

S.M

"Art world has been changing a lot during the lock down period, especially towards the online digital world. Whats your view?"

J.D

"I think it’s great! I think the lockdown has just accelerated what was already happening. I don’t believe the digital experience will entirely replace the physical. Personally, I still love the experience of going to a gallery and feeling the presence of the art in the space, along with hugs and conversations. During the past few months, a lot of museums, galleries and art fairs were offering virtual viewings of the spaces and artworks, I love it! It was very exciting to visit these digital spaces and view works which were previously only available to the VIPs and the very privileged."

S.M

"If you could go back in time, what era would you like to explore?"

J.D

"I think now is the most interesting time to explore. The future holds even more."

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