Experience

Yuqian Sun was born in Shenzhen, China in 1997. Without receiving any artistic influence from her family, her dream of becoming an artist sprouted when she was 4. She started studying art since then. In 2011, her long journey of studying abroad began. She came to the United States for high school. After graduading from Idyllwild Arts Academy in California, she continued pursing a BFA degree in University of Michigan, and graduated in 2019. Fascinated by the art of visual storytelling and the potential of decorative elements in her artworks, she entered the M.F.A in illustration program in University of Hartford and studied till today.

 

Artwork

Received her first 2 ball-jointed-dolls as the present for her 14th birthday, she falls in love with these resin dolls and started collecting them. In her high school and college time, she took dolls out to the forest and and wild every week to practice out-door photography, and kept posting on photography platforms to share with other doll collectors. She published her first doll photography book titled Picture Scroll of the Maidens at the age of 21.

Her skills and aesthetics kept evolving, and helped her discover a more and more vivid personal style over the years. Her work always reflect how much she adores the unique beauty of these dolls and the history behind doll aesthetics in various cultures. Her photography approach is a mixture of still life and portraits. She keeps exploring that invisible but concrete line between doll photography and portraits of real people.

In 2015, after noticing that multiple followers had commented about how her photography work always had a dynamic but balanced composition and impactful yet harmonious color palette, which reminded them of classical oil paintings, Yuqian started to realize the endless aesthetics potential of her photography work. It is her opportunity to let this creativity reach to the field of fine art paintings.

Starting from 2016, she tried to combine the two areas and turn her best doll photos into watercolor or oil paintings. Since then, dolls have turnt from a pure hobby into a significant and unique aspect of her original artwork.

The original purpose of portrait paintings is leaving records for people’s appearances. People’s facial features are everchanging because of their age, life experiences and mood. Therefore, capturing a certain moment in one’s life is pricelessly meaningful. But what about dolls? It is true that they are always capable of holding a perfect smile. Their adorable appearances never age. If their beauty is a reflection of doll artists’ ideal form of human beings, instead of their eternality compare to humans, why do writers and film artists always emphasize on the absence of soul, which seems to be the only flaw of their existence?

Artificial Fairies is an on-going watercolor series of portraits Yuqian does for her dolls. Unlike how modern literature and art portrays doll as, Yuqian aimed for creating artworks that turn these externally liveless models into internally living objects. She focuses on capturing the subtle expression of these lively dolls, creating an illusion that they are actually breathing, smiling, and about to talk with their gem-like eyes. At the same time, she makes the joints and the solid surface of them very noticeable, highlighting the fact that they are only an imitation of human beings.

This series of paintings was discussed the most at her first personal exhibition “Sand·Gold”, held in Shenzhen, China in 2018. It stimulates her audiences’ imagination, creating a narrative mysterious narrative that questions: what if these dolls are actaully living souls encaged by a silent, immobile shell? In these paintings, dolls are always surrounded by flowers, which have flaws but still full of vitality. The contrast between the dolls and the plants creates this poetic space that makes her audiences re-consider where the boarderline of life and lifelessness is.

Yuqian Currently focuses on watercolor, oil paintings and illustration-related work. The emotional intensity that emerges in the poetic flow of translucent color is the reason of her obsession of the medium. Watercolor is a medium full of unpredictability and transience. No matter how experienced the artist is with controlling the water and paint, there will always be some surprising texture and color-mixing created.

The flow is like the invisible breath of the water and the gravity. It is formless, but the trace of pigments and granulation gets to preserve it and turn into a romantic evidence of an ordinary painting moment. It makes a normal day of an artist’s life unique and impossible to copy, like how ancient insects are preserved in ambers. Isn’t that similar to photography? When working on representational paintings with watercolor, Yuqian thinks of it as capturing a solid form with a water, light and emotion, all shapeless materials. It is significant and meaningful when her understanding about not only the technique, but also the philosopy hidden behind this art approach gets more in-depth.

Exhibitions

2022              Gem in Their Eyes – Pigeon’s Blood Gallerium Art Prize 2022 Group Exhibition

                       Circle of Motherhood, “Expressions 2022”, Marin Society of Artists

 

                       Artificial Fairies-4, Gem in Their Eyes – Mandarin Garnet, 11th “All Women” Online Exhibition, Light                                                Space & Time Online Art Gallery

 

                       Artificial Fairies -5, “Black & White” Online Art Exhibition, Art Room Gallery

 

                       Circle of Motherhood, 12th “Botanicals” Online Art Exhibition, Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery

 

                       Echoes of the Tides, Artificial Fairies-4, 6th “Colors” Annual Art Exhibition, Fusion Art

 

                       Irregular Pearls, 5th “Abstract” Online Exhibition, Art Show International Gallery

 

                       Artificial Fairies-4, 3rd “Still Life” Online Exhibition, Art Show International Gallery

 

                       Circle of Motherhood, “Flower & Still Life” Online Exhibition, Gallery Ring

 

2021          Beautiful Creatures and Artificial Fairies-6 exhibited in group exhibition River-Flow, Aohu Art Museum, Shenzhen, China

 

2021          Artificial Fairies-4 exhibited in the opening exhibition of V.C.Gallery, Shenzhen, China

 

2019          A Pile of Clothes is Growing from my Chair exhibited in group exhibition =g, Carrousel du LOUVRE, Paris, France

       * Yuqian Sun – China Illustrator Alliance Show, traveling personal exhibition, Bund Finance Center, Shanghai, China; Anyi Art Museum, Shanghai, China; exhibition venues to be determined in Hangzhou, Suzhou, Dalian, Guangzhou

 

2018       * Sand-Gold, Nest Gallery, Shenzhen Sea World Culture and Arts Center, Shenzhen, China

                 The 6th China Illustration Biennial Awardees Exhibition, Turner Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

Certifications

2021              Elected to be official collaborative illustrator of Potala Palace, Tibet

2019              Elected to be a member of China Illustrator Alliance

2018              Elected to be a member of International Illustration and Design Study Visit group

2016               Elected to be a member of Shenzhen Illustration Association

 

Awards

2022           

                      Invisible Lotus, Bronze Award, “Shades of Green” Camelback Gallery, United States

  Artificial Fairies – “Please Don’t Go”, 5th in Overall, 3rd in Painting, 11th “All Women” Art Competition, Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery, United States

                     Gem in Their Eyes – Mandarin Garnet, Special Recognition, 11th “All Women” Art Competition, Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery, United States

 

                     Artificial Fairies – “Please Don’t Go”, Merit Award, “Black & White” Art Exhibition, Art Room Gallery, United States

 

                     Circle of Motherhood, Special Merit Award, 12th “Botanicals”, Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery, United States

                   Circle of Motherhood, Honorable Mention, Multimedia art competition, Blue Blood Gallery, Czech Republic

 

                    Echoes of the Tides, Honorable Mention Award, 6th “Colors” Art competition, Fusion Art, United States

                    Artificial Fairies – “Until the Lemon Turns Sweet”,Finalist Award, 6th “Colors” Art competition, Fusion Art, United States

 

                    Irregular Pearls, Honorable Mention Award, 5th “Abstract” Juried Art Competition, Art Show International Gallery, United States

 

                    Artificial Fairies – “Until the Lemon Turns Sweet”, Honorable Mention Award, 3rd “Still Life” Juried Art Competition, Art Show International Gallery, United States

 

                    Circle of Motherhood, Crystal Award, “Flower & Still Life” Juried Competition, Gallery Ring, United States

 

2018               Turner Award, 2017-18 China Illustration Biennial

2016               Excellence Award, 2015-16 China Illustration Biennial

Publication

2017             Picture Scroll of the Maidens

Doll photography portfolio published by the Lingnan Fine Arts Publishing House

2014             Nice to Meet Me

Personal Portfolio published by China International Press

2009             Diary of a Fat Cat

Original comic storybook published by Lingnan Fine Arts Publishing House

Education

2015-2019: Bachelor of Fine Arts-Stamps school of Art and Design-University of Michigan

2011-2014: Visual Art major-Idyllwild Arts Academy