Angel Fan Bio - New Short Version
Angel Fan was born in Hunan into a time of dramatic change. As China began a process of reformation and opening up which would transform the country into an economic superpower, Angel was herself just starting to grow. Her parents were creative, loving, and nurturing. Her mother was a teacher; her father a calligrapher. He lived by a motto which would have a lifelong influence upon Angel: Passion is the best gift.
When Angel was three her mother taught her to paint fish with ink - and a light went on in Angels mind. This was her first artistic experience, and she loved it. She spent the entire afternoon painting fishes in countless forms and colors. Although she did not know it at the time - or perhaps she did - her life would never be the same. Her family noticed her new love, and they encouraged her to cultivate it. Her father took her to visit talented artists who taught and encouraged her. Her cousin, a painter himself, showed her an incredible range of classics, from the likes of Van Gogh to Zhu Da, and young Angel was entranced. Before long, she was enrolled in formal classes and was drawing with a fervor that startled her teachers.
Her passion for art extended to many disciplines - writing, crocheting, clothing design, and more. She had a special fascination with dolls - which would become a lifelong passion - and was known in school for covering her textbooks with sketches of doll designs.
As she entered her middle school years, a well-known local painter noticed Angels talent and passion, and took her under his wing. He was determined to immerse her in a diverse world of artistic creativity, and to broaden her horizons. He did so by introducing her to a new wealth of literature, philosophy and classical music from both East and West. He ingrained upon her the idea that art is a lifetime thing - talent is something which must be cultivated. He influenced Angel profoundly - knowledge and thought have ever since been at the core of her work.
At the same time, Angel received orthodox training in drawing and painting: character drawing in the morning, color painting in the afternoon, sketching in the marketplace in the evening. She loved to write as well, and would often do so at night, with bedtime at midnight. Sometimes she sketched plaster figures to the music of Bach until two or three in the morning. She began to design and craft all of her own clothing, bags and hats. All of her free time was spent creating. Even after being accepted by a strenuous key high school, she insisted on finding time to paint every day.
By the time of her high school graduation, she had become something of a local celebrity, and began to host solo exhibitions of her work. She wanted nothing more than to be an artist, free to create and share her creations. For two years, this was her life. Then, on the advice of her caring father to secure formal higher education credentials, she enrolled at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, known for its rich painting culture.
Angel decided to learn something new there: woodcut printmaking. Printmaking is an arduous process, requiring a great deal of instruction in foundational skills. Angel was nevertheless fascinated, and would later put this new medium to good use. Meanwhile, she avidly absorbed all sorts of information at the Academy, building her knowledge and understanding, and growing as a person.
Angel came to understand during this time that artistic expression represents a harmonization of skill, intellect, and something deeper from within - something like the soul. A startling experience soon brought this understanding into clearer focus. She had traveled to Sanya, on the island of Hainan in the South China Sea. She went diving there, and as she swam in the depths, she was seized by a new feeling - a loneliness; an indescribable, almost mystical sense of emptiness. She surfaced, and the feeling was gone. As she glanced upward, she saw something move away from her across the pale blue sky, and felt that it was some part of her on a path of exile, forever lost.
Upon her return from Hainan, Angel was seized by a desire, more intense than ever before, to create. Drawing upon her new training in woodcut printmaking, she embarked on marathon sessions to create a series of black-and-white prints, completing an incredible six pieces in 20 days. Angel has described being almost in tears during these sessions, driven forward by an uncontrollable sense of urgency. After Professor Judith Lokie of University Campus Suffolk exclaimed that shed never seen such a young Chinese girl create something so sexy in black and white, Angel decided to name the series Black and White Sexy. That year, upon Judiths recommendation, Angels work was exhibited by several British museums and universities. She was 23 years old.
Angels work now spans many disciplines: printmaking, oil painting, photography, installation art, and more. She has also created a line of dolls - the Artangel Doll - which has been highly praised by Faber-Castell, and is an important feature of her installation pieces. She loves landscape painting and travels every year - sometimes for a month at a time - in search of natural beauty to interpret on canvas. Her landscape style is unique, using colors that contrast in bold, surprising ways. This style has even been dubbed Yaping Fan style by the art community, because it is so striking and personal.
Another project which has received critical acclaim is a series of black-and-white ink paintings, oil paintings and sketches which explore the male psyche. The series, named Old Boy, depicts masculinity in all of its joy, loneliness, passion and sorrow. Bazaars 100 Art Works Recommended called one piece solemn and deep, fully expressive of male loneliness, determination and strength.
Artangel Doll installations are yet another of Ms. Fans unique and thought-provoking projects. Angel drew on her childhood fantasies to create these poseable and supremely detailed dolls, and she arranges them in unsettling, phantasmagorical installations in which they fly, are reflected in countless mirrors, or are ensnared in webbing. The dolls themselves, as well as the installations, are explorations of girlhood, and Angels own experiences and thought processes growing up. What she has created is a surprising blend of the strange and the beautiful.
Youth development and adolescent psychology are topics of great interest to Ms. Fan, and she has explored them through her work over the course of the past 10 years, often painting her students and her friends children, and avidly communicating with both the children and their parents. As a culmination of this decade of learning, she has developed an experimental teaching system which combines art education with philosophy and psychology to help children develop into vibrant, creative and productive adults. She has taught classes utilizing this system at Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art, and elsewhere.
Angel is committed to philanthropic educational initiatives, and has contributed many works to charitable auctions in support of organizations such as China Legal Aid Foundation, Shanghai Adream, China Council of Lions Clubs, Guangdong Education Foundation and Guangzhou Charity Association. She believes that quality education is essential to the growth of bright, healthy young people, and art education in particular has a very special and personal place in her heart.
With work exhibited from Venice to Tokyo, Angel is riding a crescendo of creative productivity and recognition - and shes only just begun.