The Cultivate Curatorial Board is excited to share the work of Xingyi Zhao, a fiber artist.
Xingyi shares their work and process in our interview below.
Learn more about the Cultivate Featured artist series below.
Learn more about Xingyi on their Instagram.
Briefly describe your work or share your artist statement.
An object has its pre-existing character and materiality, and my job is to discover its assigned role in my work through improvisation and play. I’m interested in the way that printmaking gives images unique textures: the subtle character of a mark develops through various approaches of transfer, sometimes delivering unpredictable happy accidents. I also create hand-woven textiles. My process usually begins with my ever-growing archive of found objects and waste materials: a piece of wrinkled receipt paper, used butter wrapper, smiley face stickers; all give me tremendous joy. I give my work a sense of playfulness, but play is a serious matter.
How do you go about beginning a new piece? Do you have it planned or is it more spontaneous?
I usually start by looking for inspiration: going to the library, visiting museums and galleries, scavenging waste/found materials that excite me. I would have a brief idea and then get experimental and spontaneous with it.
What is a barrier that you, as an artist, overcame?
I had a hard time finding the medium that speaks to me in school. I came from a traditional painting and drawing background. For a long time, I would feel stuck staring at the blank canvas. I was frustrated and had no confidence in myself at all. The first time I sat in front of a loom and started weaving I realized that this is the medium that truly inspires and frees me, and I have never looked back since then.
What is your go-to music when you're working on art?
Some artists I’ve been listening to are: Wet Legs, Laura Marling, Courtney Barnett, and Tom Misch. I listen to a lot of female artists. They are role models I look up to, especially women of color.
What do you strive for as an artist? What form of recognition is important for you?
I strive for the urgency of constant making and art as a form of expressing myself. Support and encouragement from family and friends are very important to me.
What advice would you share for artists? Share something that you have learned along the way.
Always keep working and show up at the studio every day. I find it useful to clock in the hours and treat my studio practice like a 9-5 office job.
What is a work of art that is an inspiration to you?
Quilts made by Rosie Lee Tompkins are my recent inspirations. They are so bold in colors and warm and intimate in materials. Her works are so inventive and ahead of time.
Who are three working artists that you love and would recommend?
Christy Matson, Molly Haynes, Marie Hazard. They are all weavers and textiles artists I admire a lot!
A curated collection of emerging and midcareer artists. The featured artist program at Cultivate serves to share the artist's work and process with the community, inviting them to understand how and why an artist creates the work they do, to market and promote artists, and to connect artists to each other and to our network of curators, artists, and gallery owners.
These artists are curated together and represent the work that we exhibit at Cultivate. The artists are selected in January and June, and scheduled out for the six-month period. If you are interested in being one of Cultivate featured artists, please visit our open call for submissions.