Born and raised in Tianjing, China, a town 50 miles from Beijing, artist Jigang Xing has made Columbus a faraway home away from home. His time spent living in Germany and New York, where he studied art and how to make a living creating it, simply confirms the oddity of his choice of relocation.
Xing currently lives in Powell with his partner of three years, Xiaohua Cai, a computer programmer in the city. He has transformed his basement into a studio and uses the walls of his home to display some of his more recent works. We sat down in his very modern living room to talk about his life and art.
Xing says he remembers drawing and painting from an early age. "I finally started to work with an art teacher, when I was fifteen," he says. Xing is a multi-faceted, multi-talented artist. His art varies from abstract to realistic, depending on his chosen medium: oils, acrylics, inks, tempera, and gauche amongst others media. He creates woodcuts, lithographs, paintings, portraits and ink works. Two things-a thorough professionalism and a commitment to exploring the basics of art (structure, shape, form, color, and composition)-mark all of his
While Xing would like to make a full-time living from his more abstract works, he currently pays the bills by doing commissioned portraits that are intensely detailed and truly beautiful. He creates these life-like
portraits by working with models, as well as, studying photographs of his Subjects.
His abstract works are large in size and kaleidoscopic in feel and texture. Xing says that he usually starts his abstract works with recognizable shapes and forms and then begins to tear away until he comes up with amazingly complex and mesmerizing works. "I work in a very expressionistic way," he says.
Even though his favorite medium is oil, Xing is currently working with ink on rice paper and other Asian surfaces to create minimalist pieces that are wonderful to behold in their most basic forms. These are greatly influenced by calligraphy and characters from China and Japan. Xing's work honestly blends the best of East and West in interesting and innovative ways.
Xing says his influences include, but are not limited to, Picasso, Wilhelm DeKooning, and Franz Kline. Xing is currently trying to build up a new body of works before he seeks representation from a gallery in Columbus. In the meantime, he has representation in New York and Cape Cod, where his artwork is quickly gaining notoriety.
Look for Xing to gain a similar notoriety here in Columbus as soon as his works debut in the Capital City.