If you know, then please tell me. All I can find out of this artist is that they are based out of Beijing and they have a pretty popular blog. And I say “they” because I can’t even confirm whether Qian Yi is a man or a woman! Blame this lack of insight on the fact that Google isn’t particularly good at helping you find out info on non-English speaking people, coupled with the fact that this artist seems to have only recently come onto the radar of people over here. Once you take a look at Qian Yi’s work though, you’ll begin to wonder why we haven’t heard of him (for lack of a confirmed gender) before.
Yi’s work is full of playful wonder, color, and strange creatures – just the stuff dreams are made of. Yi’s art reminds me of two of my favourite artists, both incidentally who are are Asian. The first is Taiwanese artist James Jean, as Yi has a similar East meets West style where bold surrealism meets traditional Eastern landscapes. The second artist Yi resembles to me most is actually my Grandpa, of whom I have vivid memories of him painting traditional Chinese ink paintings in his basement. In Chinese painting, each stroke is precise, bold and yet delicate at the same time, its nature dictated by the weight and twist of the wrist. Although I’m sure that Yi doesn’t use such techniques anymore, I can tell that he uses the same attention to brush detail as my grandpa, creating twisting tree trunks and wavering breezes that jump right out of the painting. Yi seems to be a master at manipulating tones and shadow to create a magical sense of depth and dimension that bring his subjects to life. He is also a master of versatility with his style ranging from traditional and whimsical, to gritty and dystopian; always though, Yi manages to maintain a sense of youthfulness and curiosity in his work. Certainly an artist to watch!