Saturday, April 11, 2009

Art Space Talk: Antony Liu

Through painting, Antony Liu makes sense of broken things and searches for subtle beauty in the midst of discord. Liu states that he believes in the coexistence of things, but not in their equality. He explains that where conflict reigns, the possibility of harmony is present. He attempts to find bridges in order to situate what is displaced. Thus, his work reflects an interest in the unchanging laws of color science and theory. Liu states that he finds a sense of security in the fact that what we see can be identified and categorized.

Light Composition, 2009, Oil on Canvas, 24" X 24"

Brian Sherwin: Antony, what can you tell us about your academic background concerning art? Did you study art formally? Tell us about your art studies in general-- any influential instructors?

Antony Liu: My first formal art training was with artist Vernon Wilson in Los Angeles, California, where I spent a year and a half learning traditional figurative drawing and painting. Part of this included studying the fundamental principles of color, which entailed spending numerous hours learning how to identify, mix, and manipulate precise hues and values. These exercises in control over color became a reoccurring interest of mine over the years, and are currently the field upon which I explore my ideas.

I also attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, where I received a bachelor’s degree in Illustration. Several instructors there influenced my work including, Robert Kato who taught me a great deal about line quality and layers in drawing; and Lynn Aldrich who helped me view painting more objectively, which ultimately enabled me transition from representation to abstraction.

Green Composition, 2009, Oil on Canvas, 24" X 24"

BS: Tell us about yourself. At what point did you gain an interest in creating visual art?

AL: I started drawing regularly in elementary school—in particular I remember obsessively writing the alphabet in large 3-dimensional shapes. In the 1980’s, I was excited about graffiti art of the hip-hop era and I created drawings emulating that same style. In my teens, I spent about 20 hours a week trying to perfect drawing people and representational still lifes. This led to enrolling in the Illustration program at Art Center. After Art Center, I took a long break from painting and spent most of my time doing graphic design. I am currently creating art again on a regular basis and look forward to maturing my work.
Pink Composition, 2009, Oil on Canvas, 24" X 24"

BS: Can you tell us about your art? Give us some insight into the thoughts behind your art.

AL: My art considers and explores conflict and harmony, displacement and resolve. I am interested in the idea that there is beauty in the midst of discord. My work is inspired by situations in life, people and relationships. I’m very interested in the idea of making right that which is wrong, finding bridges that help connect and situate displaced elements, and bring resolution to contention.
Red and Blue Composition, 2009, Oil on Canvas, 24" X 24"

BS: Can you discuss your process in general? Are there any specific techniques that you utilize?

AL: I like to work in series. It allows me to work out ideas on several paintings at once. My paintings evolve over layers of paint applied one color at a time. I spend the majority of time mixing and adjusting colors.

BS: What about other influences? For example, are you influenced by any specific artists?

AL: I really like the work of John Millei. I am drawn to the characteristics of both freedom and control interacting in his paintings. I like Sol Lewitt’s work for the same reason, including his examination of colors, lines, and shapes. I really like the subtlety of color in Milton Avery’s paintings. I am also influenced by the whole idea of color classification, as seen in ink color books, paint chips at hardware stores, etc. A significant amount of my inspiration also comes from people, places, and situations in life, particularly the unusual and peculiar ones

BS: So what is the specific message you strive to convey to viewers? Do you adhere to a specific philosophy as far as your work is concerned?

AL: Right now, I am trying to illustrate the idea that there is beauty within discord.

BS: What are your thoughts concerning the internet and utilizing the World Wide Web in order to gain exposure for your art? In your opinion, why is it important for artists to embrace the internet?

AL: I believe in using the internet to gain exposure to art. However, I try to use it cautiously when dealing with my own art; being careful how, where, and in what context I present myself. In general, I think that artists should not ignore the internet because the reality is it has changed the way people do things, including all the aspects of experiencing art.

Yellow and Green Composition, 2009, Oil on Canvas, 24" X 24"

BS: Do you have any concerns about the art world at this time?

AL: None at the moment, because I think that the artist will always have the need to create, and it will always be important for the audience to have art.

BS: There has been several stories involving copyright infringement in the mainstream press as of late. What is your stance on copyright? Do you see strong copyright as a reflection of artist rights in general? Or do you feel that copyright restricts creativity? Do you have a stance on this issue?

AL: I believe in copyright laws. How strongly I believe in it will reveal itself over time, perhaps as I come into closer proximity with situations involving infringement, or even experience it myself firsthand.
Dark Composition, 2009, Oil on Canvas, 24" X 24"

BS: As you know, the economy has been hard. Have you had to change-- or should I say adapt-- your practice due to the economy?

AL: The economy has affected certain aspects of my art. I have had to be creative about working in a smaller studio space, and I have had to adjust to working on smaller canvases. In general, though, the ideas I base my paintings on have remained the same.

BS: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your art?

AL: Not really. It’s something that I feel privileged to be able to do. It’s an alternate way for me to think about and process situations in life. I hope that my message will mature and refine itself.
You can learn more about Antony Liu by visiting his website-- You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page--
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
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