The Blood of Life. An interview with Mingzhang Sun

Mingzhang Sun is a Chinese born artist known for his expressionist, sensitive compositions. Currently based in London, he proposes a multifaceted creativity through which the representation of his inner reality takes shape. Ming is the author of an intimate lyric and the living proof of an art understood as an emotional mirror able to reflect, explore and digest the most delicate shades of our soul. We decided to contact him during the “global lockdown” to try to discover the impulses that lie behind his creative process and his personal point of view about the contemporary, and future, role of art.

Mingzhang Sun in his studio.

Starting from the bottom, what is art? What is your point of view about art? Culture is universal but every one of us has an intimate relationship with creativity and art, in its broadest sense. Is it just an impulse, a need? Is it a thoughtful act?

The fascinating thing about art is that art is a concept without a definition. I am often asked how do I explain art. So far, I think of art as expressions which are born from the experiences and emotions beyond what we can describe by simple words. Art is mediums mixed with thinking that naturally grows from itself. A painting is a living being, there is a starting point and an end, but a painting truly develops by its own desires. The artist never has total control. That is the nature of art. And we all need art even if we don't notice how often it appears in our lives. Art helps us to grow and survive, it helps us make sense of those moments filled with memories and thoughts. Art is the joint between people's minds and hearts.

How is going your quarantine? Are you working during this time or, as many of us, are you overloaded by thoughts?

My quarantine is almost the same as my other days except that I can't visit museums and restaurants. I have spent most of my time indoors for years. But this lockdown has made me pause my fast thinking about the things that I have been chasing. This quarantine has me thinking about art and death. I am always wondering what would happen to my paintings after my death. Everything that related to me will continue without my participation. I have been thinking of that world after me. This lockdown has also offered me full time to work on a summary of my study of fine art and fashion. My mind is always packed and it is good to have time for picking out suitable subjects and locating them in the right medium. That has been the main tasks for me.

This one is connected with the second question. Do you prefer to experience in freedom what life offers to you, and then work, on the canvas, on your personal experiences and feelings or do you prefer to work on something that you are living at the same time?

I have always worked on artworks based on my experiences in life which strongly touched me. This worldwide virus led me to a painting that I have just finished based on how we are living at the moment. But usually I paint about the past. For me, my mind is normally aware of what to do next in my art. And it is always linked to my storyline. I am motivated to visualize all of my emotions in an experience. That process is better done through hindsight.

What do you think about the future? We are living in surreal times; everything seems so fleeting. What is your opinion about the future and, in particular, the future of the art world? Do you think that art is still able to help people to deal with the present, and remember the past? Many old works of art can support us, right now, in our comprehension of the world. We need to reset our illusory position; we need to be more aware of our roles and limits.

It is very hard for me to imagine the future, but I am sure art for its own virtue will always find its position even though the economic situation seems to be washing away all the dreams and futures of young artists. It is a shame that not many people realize that it is creative people who are balancing the peace of the world, and cultivating and sharing an awareness of goodness that has been buried deep. The massive nonstop bombardment of information offers possibilities but also creates chaos. Fast technology updates make it even harder for people to sit down properly and enjoy a still artwork. But that is even more reason for the world to support art. I believe Art will always be the tender and warm liquid that fills the gap between the rough edges of life and connects things with truths which don't need to be fully understood to be felt. Art is the blood of life. It has always been and it always will be.