“I use my art to show my love to the world.”
Born in the Northern Province of Shaanxi in Chenggu, China, Ting’s early years were heavily influenced by the disastrous Sino-Japanese war that all but destroyed his homeland. Ting’s parents were evacuated to Taiwan leaving him abandoned at the age of nine. He became isolated and lonely but found great solace in painting.
By the age of 11, with the limited supplies available to him, Ting was painting every day. He used cooking oil as a medium for his pigment but even with his meagre art supplies, Ting exhibited remarkable talent and he was given the opportunity to attend a prestigious art school.
In 1957 Ting was accepted into Beijing’s Central Academy of Arts and Crafts. During his studies he discovered Matisse, Picasso and Modigliani, artists who were to prove a huge influence on Ting.
After graduation Ting spent time in Kunming, part of the Yunnan province, an area known for its great beauty. Ting used his nights to paint, only to burn his work in the mornings, in an effort to conceal his abstract style from the authorities. His efforts were in vain and eventually Ting was compelled to escape to the monasteries of northern China to evade capture. It was during this time Ting studied the cave paintings on the old Silk Route which had been preserved for centuries.
Ting’s work exhibits a distinctive technique, one which portrays traditional Chinese influences as well as more expressive Western art forms. Ting’s paintings often feature the female form, but these are not the forms of models. The women are characters that have been created from Ting’s feelings of hope and from literature which has touched him.
Ting returned to Kunming in 1968 and laid low until the death of Mao after which time he and his colleagues were able to form the Yunnan Shen She Art Association. It was after this that Ting was commissioned to paint a mural in the Great Hall of the People, an extraordinary turnaround for an artist once so reviled by the authorities.
In an effort to gain complete artistic freedom, Ting made the move to the United States in 1979 where he has found huge success.
Ting has been commissioned by the governments of the US and China as well as organisations within the United Nations. He has produced both new works and limited edition prints and is one of the most celebrated Chinese artists of his time.
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“I use my art to show my love to the world.” ~ Ting Shao Kuang