Many of the contemporary artists from China who have been exposed to Western influences are currently developing original techniques and styles which encompass the best of both Eastern and Western cultures. These artists, including Lu Hong, are being recognized on an unprecedented level throughout the world for their ability to synthesize international trends and traditional Chinese art forms.
Lu Hong, a child of the revolution, was born on December 28, 1959, in the coastal city of Qin-Huang-Dao. In 1966, the Cultural Revolution began and the effects of this political upheaval were profound for Lu Hong's family. His father, who had been a professor of mathematics at the University, was reduced to doing labor along the harbor. During this time, artists were only allowed to paint in the traditional Chinese style. Artists that were influenced by the West would paint at night and would either hide their works or destroy them so that they would not be discovered by the authorities. The entire country, as well as his family, experienced a time of great struggle and sadness.
During the late 1970's, while Lu Hong was attending high school, channels of communication were reopened to include information from the outside world. It was during this time that Lu Hong's family was visited by his father's younger brother, Ting Shao Kuang.
Ting was not only a world renowned painter and teacher, but also one of the acknowledged leaders of the contemporary Chinese art movement known as the Yunnan School. Ting recognized the signs which predicted future greatness in the abstract paintings of his young nephew. He encouraged Lu Hong to consider pursuing a career in art and, to his credit, succeeded in inspiring Lu Hong to make use of his innate artistic ability.
In 1979, immediately after graduation from high school, he moved in with Ting and began to study under his tutelage. He learned everything that he could from his mentor until Ting immigrated to the United States two years later.
The education that Lu Hong received during these two years prepared him for the entrance examination to the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. In 1981, he was admitted to the Academy which is acknowledged as the most prestigious art school in China. Despite the honor of attending this school, Lu Hong quickly became frustrated by the academic restraints imposed upon him. The traditional techniques taught at the school did not meet his needs for freedom of expression. Therefore, after attending the Academy for a year and a half, he left to experiment and develop his talent on his own.
From 1983 to 1986, Lu Hong painted, studied and absorbed information from every available source open to him. He was influenced by the works of Paul Klee, Modigliani and Picasso. He
listened to the classical music of Chopin. Mueller and Wagner, and read books on poetry, Western literature and psychology. Lu Hong feels this was the period when he matured as a person and a painter. Lu Hong relates "All my life I was forced to think and act a certain way but after I left the academy, I began to develop my own style of thinking and painting."
Seeking intellectual and artistic freedom, Lu Hong moved to the United States in 1986 where he was reunited with his teacher. Ting Shao Kuang. Due to the encouragement that he received from Ting and publisher Ron Segal of Segal Fine Art, in three years, he has become one of the most acclaimed contemporary Chinese artists in America.
He thinks of his art as "a kind of language, not just a vision." He strives to convey a message, feeling, or thought in a manner which will capture the attention of his audience. If he listens to a musical composition or reads a poem which inspires him, he uses it to develop a visualization which expresses the meaning he extrapolated from that particular piece.
Another characteristic of Lu Hong's paintings is reminiscent of ancient Chinese art, American Indian art, and the work of Picasso. He cuts many of his subjects into sections, painting only the most important parts. This distortion of perspective causes a natural blending of his subjects into their surroundings further enhancing the magical quality of his works.
Lu Hong's work is exhibited in galleries throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. Future shows are scheduled for New York, San Francisco, Boston, Hawaii, Beverly Hills and Japan.