JIETING CHEN

 
 

A special kind of magic occurs when pigment meets water in Jieting's paintings. Vibrant colors spill right off the canvas and bleeding colors are carefully manipulated to form her figures and further enhance the narratives of her work. She thinks of water as its own medium rather than just a supporting element. Most striking about her watercolor paintings are the strong emotion and expression her feminine subjects exude. She delicately balances the fluid lines of bleeding paint and feminine curves of her subjects with sharp geometric elements. This stark contrast represents an intriguing exploration of the connections between internal emotions of woman and the external cultural representation of woman. As a self proclaimed shy personality, she is able to express her thoughts, ask questions and consider culture through her art, much of which is influenced by her Chinese
upbringing. After attending the Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication she made the difficult decision to leave her friends and family to move to the U.S. Her risk paid off, after furthering her studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York she pursued a successful career in graphics and animation. Her sentiments that 'art has no boundary' reflects her varied skills, she has lent her talents to award winning film and animation projects. In May her work will be shown at the Tokyo International Art Fair. Also on the horizon is a self-published book entitled “You Are Here Today”, a visual journal that reflects on saying goodbye to the imaginative world when one grows up. Currently based in New York City, Jieting is represented by Agora Gallery in Chelsea.

 

jietingchen.com

 

What excites you most about creating your art?

I think what excites me the most is that as an artist, you can visually tell your story. I feel like I am an actress behind the stage, my film or painting is the screen. You can share your life and point of view with other people, and everyone views your work differently. It is very interesting to see how people react to your work because nobody feels the same. It feels great to be connected with other people through my art works. I am not a very social person, so my art is my own way to tell my story and express how I feel.

 
The White Snake — ink and watercolor on paper
 
 

What are some of the most challenging aspects of being an artist and how do
you overcome these challenges?

It took me ten years of education and practice to hone my craft, yet it's really hard to
find a job in the art field, it's even harder to support myself by doing this full time. The art market is extremely competitive, that's the ugly truth. So I had to find another full time job to support my art career. I was feeling anxiety about this and was so eager to market myself. One day, I just stopped marketing myself, and had more time to paint and better myself. The result is I got into the gallery, art fair and am drawing more attention to my work.

 

In addition to fine art you are also an award winning animator, designer and
illustrator. How do you mentally and creatively handle switching between these different roles?

I do believe art has no boundary. I like creative works, movies or paintings, or even
leather making. To me, it is a media to express myself. So even though it looks like I did
many different things, I look them as the same.
However, approaching commercial projects is very different from personal projects. When I am doing commissioned art, I mainly focus on how to serve my clients’ purpose better. If it is an ad, I need to sell the product. If it is editorial, I need to sell the story. When it comes to personal project, the only thing I need to sell is myself.

 
Lady Pink — colored pencil on mylar
 

Beautiful nude female subjects and selective use of the color red in your work
appear to express sexual tension. Would you agree? Why is expressing
femininity and sexuality important to you?

I do agree. Female figure is not only beautiful but also very powerful. My paintings are
about who women are, what they think, how are they react to society, and how I
view them individually as a woman. Take my new on-going project Bento Girl as an
example. The sexual tension instantly grabs your attention because humans are
naturally drawn to it and it is how this world views women. People consume sexuality
from women in movies, internet, ads and billboards on the street. It becomes cheap
and fast, like fast food, like a bento box. Women are trapped in this image and
tension that it gives. Some enjoy it and some do not. I am not the one to judge whether it is right or wrong. But I would like to show it through my eye and bring it to the public
attention, that this sexuality is becoming a bento box for people to consume.


Your use of geometric shape is quite intriguing in that they form a strong edge
around your soft, delicate subjects. Does the geometry in your work have special meaning to you?

I would like to create a contrast between the softness of female figure and hardness of
geometric shapes. It also creates a relationship between internal emotions and external
world. It is very interesting to see that simple shapes can create depth in space. The
interaction also has different meanings as the size and position of geometric shapes
change. They also visually give the image a balance and are very fun to play with.
 

The Psyche Knot — ink and watercolor on paper  

 

Much of your work is influenced by Chinese oriental paintings, now that you are based in New York do you think living here will influence your creative process?

I think living in New York has definitely changed the way I create art, the change is
more about the way I think and it is a cultural shift. Every culture meets here in New York, you can always find interesting people here. What I like about New York is you get to work with different people and learn from them. Every one has different stories. And from my paintings you can tell I am very interested in human figure, so New York is definitely a perfect place for me to create my art.