Artist Spotlight: Xiyadie
BY Christopher Harrity
April 21 2012 1:00 AM ET
The Advocate: Why are you an artist?
Xiyadie: I've been exposed to an artistic environment since childhood. My grandfather does landscaping and sculpting. My mother is a clever paper cutter and makes Hua-mo (a Chinese folk art form, that makes figures out of buns). The paper cutting that the old bounded-foot women in my village do was so fascinating that I eventually fell in love with it. Paper cutting is my own spiritual world. It is my world. In [that world] there are no worries and sorrows, only peace and free imagination. I never thought about becoming an artist. Some people saw my work and then called me one. I'm only a farmer, belonging to my yellow soil land.
What catches your eye?
Everything. Truth. Goodness. Beauty. Ugliness. Sometimes it's not about what you see, but rather what you can't forget.
Tell us about your process or techniques?
Whenever a good inspiration hits me, I cut it out using the traditional Chinese paper cutting techniques. I observe the patterns constantly during the whole process and work with the nature of my paper. I give and take boldly. In the days that I'm not feeling inspired, I just sleep [sic] till the day's end. I would tear up any works that are unsatisfactory, anyway.
What materials do you use?
I use a lot of materials. Banner papers, traditional Chinese rice papers, craft papers, newspapers, copy papers, cloth and silk. Everything that splits under a pair of scissor blades, I try to cut. Sometimes I imagine cutting the vault of the night's black sky into a flaming sun. Sometimes people like to fight with nature. Sometimes you have to work with it.
How long does it take you to complete a typical piece?
I don't think there's an average time. Big works can take me as long as 7 months and small ones for half an hour to hours. It depends a lot on my mood and whether I'm feeling inspired.
How do you describe your work?
Straightforward. The simplest folk art paper cutting is to make people understand at first sight. I use fixed folk symbols such as flowers to help me speak out.
What makes good artwork to you?
When I see the way the work appears to be and feel so delighted that I could dance and kiss it.
What is important and meaningful about bringing your work to the United States?
I think of my work as a pot of tea I make and I'd like to enjoy it together with my friends in the United States.
How has it been collaborating with your U.S. sponsors? (The Center Long Beach and Flazh!Alley Art Studio?)
I just want to fly over there and give my friends at the Long Beach Center and Flazh!Alley Art Studio a long, big hug. May our hearts be close to each others!