My friend Karen Patterson gave an excellent talk at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary entitled: "Surveillance as an Art Form: Art, Life and Ai Wei Wei Under Scrutiny in the Peoples Republic of China". Karen spent 15 years, living and working in the artist community in Beijing. She was was married to the artist Wu Yuren and was a friend of Ai Weiwei. While we may know something in passing of the work of these artists, her talk gives us close up view of the day-to-day struggles they face. The recording picks up just after the intro: https://soundcloud.com/martinhoc/art-and-life-in-china
The role of the artist is two-fold, both as an artisan and an intellectual. To this end, my research focuses on historical painting techniques (many of which were lost in the 20th century) and the historical, philosophical, and theological milieus in which they arose. I am continually evaluating these areas in relation to current trends and philosophies.
I consider myself to be an artist in the European painting tradition also known as Traditional Realism, which places the depiction of the human figure the highest possible artistic statement. My work is an interplay between dominant themes found in European cultural history which includes biblical personalities, allegorical stories, ancient myths and fairy tales and how these are appropriated, adapted and perceived by contemporary culture. Inspiration comes sources as diverse as Hellenistic Greek sculpture, Byzantine icons, Renaissance frescoes, the American comic book, and modern cinema. I strive to not simply copy the work of past masters but move forward making work that is both radically traditional and of our time.