I've tried to follow the sequence of your questions but the points overlap. Let me know if you have any more questions.
I entered the army in 1970 and for the first 6 years I was a radio operator, librarian and film projectionist.
This job entailed waking everyone up in the morning playing Chinese army music and
playing propoganda movies at night.
As well I looked after the library and it was here that I found a room with banned
The book that would change my life was Michelangelo drawings and I would spend many
Sundays in the locked libray marvelling at the sketches of the human body and then
started copying the drawings - all of which was banned during the cultural
Also communal showering was part of army life and at the same time as I discovered
Michelangelo's drawings I was inspired to draw bodies of other females based on my
observations in the shower.
Some girls were suspicious of my advances in asking them if I could draw them but
most agreed after I explained that I only wanted to draw the body and never was
their face drawn. This is where I learnt my craft of drawing the female body.
The other major influence in anatomy came about when I started training as a nurse.
Part of the training was examination of bodies and the
relationship of bone and muscle and I would go back after class and examine in
detail how the human body was formed.
?A large part of my life is sleeping and dreamimg. I've always needed more
sleep than most people and I'm a private person and enjoy my rest and sleep and so I
see the state of a women sleeping as a beautiful and comforting image,
In regards to frogs I'm scared of them but I have another feeling which is that they
are cold and in summer they represent a feeling of a cool breeze which is relief on
a hot day.
My military training and other experiences were all based in training in all female
environments so men were a small part of my army experience and therefore a small
part of my paintings.
Also I know the female body more than a man's body and my females are also
influenced by Michelangelo's muscle drawings so I have merged my army female images
with Michelangelo's male muscle to create my images like a genetically modified
Also this period in the army which is female centric was intimate in a spiritual,
psychological and habit forming way as we had no secrets and we were working through
a period that had never existed and will never exist again.
The camaraderie and humour was all encompassing - we lived in the same army compund,
we trained and worked together , we ate together - this was our life cutoff from
family which Mao had said was an acceptable part of the cultural revolution.
My series on genetically modified food is an extension of my female images which are
genetically modified in regards to incorporating Michelangelo's male muscles .
?Modern female athletes are realisations of that image.
My 14 metre work the "Relic of the New 87 Immortals-Following the Sun" shows
interposed images on this Ming Dynasty scroll of? females covering 100's of years of
I'm not interested in either the fashion or the politics of any eras. In my mind
clothing and fashion mask the real person so there is an element of mockery of the
original Ming Dynasty images which show nothing of the real person but show a lot
about the fashion of that period.
I'm not influenced by modern pop culture and the "in your face " so
claimed erotic and pornographic images.
As stated before I'm also not interested in politics and whilst there is
no question that modern china is totally open to western influences - good and bad -
I see that like the rest of the world it will create great challenges on many levels
- social, cultural, economic, environmental. The speed of change is not something
that I embrace but the access to a global artistic community is something that I
find stimulating as an artist.
3 Jun 2009