Chloe Xu is an artist that has been delightfully describing paintings here at the gallery. She described it as "painting with words". Which is exactly what she does. Her analysis as an artist reads like your painting the painting yourself. She takes a bit of the painting, a bit of the subject, a bit of the technique and bits of real life. I always feel strangely liquid when reading her work. As you will be seeing more of her analysis of art work as well as an online exhibit, we wanted to introduce to her to everyone.
Interview: Artist and Content Creator in the 21st Century
Who? Chloe Xiting Xu
What? Artist and content creator
When? Early 21s century (2020)
Where? The Netherlands
Why? Insight into people in the Dutch Art World 2020-2030
Chloe the artist
1. Please tell us something about yourself.
I am Chloe Xiting Xu. I’m an artist, art content writer, and video producer living in Amsterdam. I am a Chinese and moved to the Netherlands in 2015 as an International student at Piet Zwart Institute. Since then, I started to pursue my passion for art. I did some digital art like video collage and motion graphics in my early practice and worked in video production when I just graduated from school. Since this year, I have been putting my focus on art again. I am writing art content for Gallery Sciarone, and I am also working on an art project that connects nature, digital art and hand-painting altogether.
Tascha: It is good practice for artist to look at other art work and analyse the formal elements that go into a painting (or sculpture). At art acadamies in the previous century, you were only allowed to look and copy "great" artists work, before developing your own. Luckily we are not there anymore, but analysing art is still a useful technique in perfecting your own style.
2. How did you get into what you do right now? Please tell us more about your journey?
I have always been interested in art, and I have a general interest in visual art, film and literature. My dream, when I was 18, was to become a screenwriter because I wrote good stories. So I went to study in the most prestigious film school in Beijing. That was the time before social media and everyone around wanted to work for big films. But honestly, I was quite disappointed, because there's a bureaucratic organization "National radio and television administration" in China that controls all of the publication and free speech. That means, if you want to work in films or creative fields, many taboo subjects might get you in trouble. As a young screenwriter back then, I was told many times that what I wrote wouldn't be passed by the bureaucracy check, and people wouldn't work with me if that happened.
Once by chance, I saw a video collage project called "Still Life" by Jon Rafman. I got excited by the experimental film and learned that you can deliver a strong message without a budget, and you can finish the project all on your own. So, I started to try out college too. I got a chance to come to Rotterdam to do my master's in media art, where I began to take art as a profession seriously.
3. Who are your role models?
It's hard for me to tell one name, lots of different people inspired me. I visit museums and check-in art events frequently, I admire artists like Studio Drift, Quayola, Android Jones, Jon Rafman, and some social media artists like Arleesha Yetzer, Lioba Brückner.
Tascha: Studio Drift is an artist collective that explore technology and they create installations in museums. Quayola is an artist that delves into the tension between real and artificial and I see his impact on her art. Android Jones is a digital media artist and Jon Rafman makes video installations. The last two artists, paint in watercolours and really embrace their feminity in their art. As well as sharing their skill and art with a large community.
4. What inspires you?
People, subculture, social media, nature, travel experience, advertising, documentary, music and art festivals…
Chloe as a young artist and how much time we have.
5. Please tell us about you as an artist.
I started to create artwork from making images and video collages when I was in art school. I made a series called "Fresh to Decay", where I used found footage along with my voiceover to tell the story. I have also experimented with different formats, such as photography, painting, and short documentaries. Early on, my art practice was about young people and our millennial generation, and over time, my art has been more about nature, the spectrum of life, and the technological world that we are living in. I still like to experiment with different mediums, but I feel like I am at a turning point in developing a specific style.
6. What’s your most memorable experience?
The year before I came to the Netherlands, I had a car accident with friends on our way to a music festival. The driver fell asleep for a second, our car sped of the highway and flipped over in the air for 14 meters and fell to the ground on the other side. A farmer heard the crash, and he thought it was a debris, then he saw us and called the ambulance. We were sent to the hospital near that highway. Later on, we saw ourselves on the local news, the local people even sent flowers to us, they congratulated us and called us "survivors".
Tascha: You definitely are survivors. This is such a scary thing to have happened, it is a miracle you all made it out in good health. It is so sweet that you had such a caring community that reached out to you guys.
7. What’s your greatest fear?
The world lost its order due to wars, political and economic crisis. People come back to the survival mode, and we all lose our humanity and civilization.
Tascha: I think we are al also underestimating the impact this current COVID-19 pandemic has on us as well. It is luckily a crisis, where we can lose ourselves in art (movies, video games). It is also special to see how artist have reached out to us, to bring some beauty and projects into our lives to stop us from slipping away from the world. You have also started giving tutorials on Youtube during all of this.
"Reflections of a young artist"
8. Looking back, what’s one thing you wish you understood better before you ever got started?
Passion is the key to creativity. Be kind to yourself, do what you truly love, and speak your truth.
9. What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
I am not successful yet, and I want to get better and better. I keep working hard on my craft patiently, giving it time and priority.
Tascha: Small steps that build on each other and pausing at milestones to reflect how far you have come is the way to forge ahead :)
10. What keeps you going when things get tough?
At this point, I am lucky enough to have my love to support me by my side, and it makes me keep going! But in the past, I have been in a very tough situation, and I wish that I can be more kind and patient to myself back then. I believe the power of the mind, and you can change your attitude towards things to change the future. Good and bad things can happen depending on your attitude. And I always have hope and curiosity for the future.
Tascha: We all should learn to be much kinder to ourselves. I am glad you have learned to treat yourself with more compassion.
11. What is the one thing you wish people knew more about?
I believe in the power of creativity. I hope that one day the society applies the “basic income” for everyone, so everyone can be free from the debts and work for their true passion, and together we create a better reality.
Tascha: Universal basic income is the dream. It will allieviate so much stress and strife. As well as lead to so much healing. From data, we know, people do not actually work that much less. Instead it allows space for people to rest, heal and gain more education.
My mind exploding when thinking about all the layers folded into Chloe's artwork.
Chloe X Xu the artist
Chloe Xu, is a young artist with very interesting ideas about playing with the duality of our world. Her latest series mixes digital with traditional and I was very impressed by the intricies of her work. You need a moment to really sit and think about all the elements she is combining in her work. Its critical, its beautiful, its human, its therapy, its biting its all things. The stunning layers that go into her work always have me feeling like this meme up here. You can see some of this in how she writes about the paintings at the gallery. She connects facts, with feelings, subjects and thoughts with reality and what could be.
As a classical art historian, with a gallery specialised in paintings, I am very excited to see her development. We added prints of her mixed media from her 'Millenial Problems' Series to Artsper. Where you can buy one of her posters. We are excited to see what direction her art takes. For now she is still finding her visual voice so to say. Its all there, but just needs some fine tuning. She reminds me of what was supposedly said about Einstein; that he has all his best ideas before he was 28 and then spent the rest of his life developing it and bringing it to the world. I think Chloe is brilliantly forging her way as an artist.
Thank you for doing this interview with us. We really enjoyed getting to know you better.