Artist
Yangzi Xu Naperville, Illinois

Artist Yangzi Xu captures a nostalgia for Chicago and its dramatic seasonal changes in her expressionist cityscapes. Having a full-time job and being a wife and mother, Yangzi makes a habit of painting everyday to keep her passion exciting and fresh. She keeps a queue of ideas and reference photos that she takes throughout the year. She looks through her references, tweaks and adds elements to them. Once inspiration strikes, Yangzi draws several sketches and begins to work with oils on canvas on multiple pieces at once - to keep each painting spontaneous and new. "I try to capture the paradox of life in the city, where one can be in a crowd and yet feel alone," Yangzi says. "My main intent is not to capture the physical reality of a scene, but to express my own moods and feelings to my audience." In her free time, Yangzi enjoys reading, with her current favorite genres being biographies and memoirs. Yangzi is an alumnus of DePaul University in Chicago.

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    About The Artist

    Artist Yangzi Xu captures a nostalgia for Chicago and its dramatic seasonal changes in her expressionist cityscapes. Having a full-time job and being a wife and mother, Yangzi makes a habit of painting everyday to keep her passion exciting and fresh. She keeps a queue of ideas and reference photos that she takes throughout the year. She looks through her references, tweaks and adds elements to them. Once inspiration strikes, Yangzi draws several sketches and begins to work with oils on canvas on multiple pieces at once - to keep each painting spontaneous and new. "I try to capture the paradox of life in the city, where one can be in a crowd and yet feel alone," Yangzi says. "My main intent is not to capture the physical reality of a scene, but to express my own moods and feelings to my audience." In her free time, Yangzi enjoys reading, with her current favorite genres being biographies and memoirs. Yangzi is an alumnus of DePaul University in Chicago.

    Artist Statement

    I've discovered something magical about city streets and weather. The reflection of car lights and traffic signals on a rainy day, the blurry silhouettes of buildings when the streets are snow-covered, the endless play of light and weather - these elements dominate my art. I also try to capture the paradox of life in the city, where one can be in a crowd and yet feel alone - many of the people represented in my scenes are standing or walking apart.

    My primary medium is oil and I paint fluid and rough strokes with both brush and palette knife, using a limited color palette that’s intended to be haunting and evocative. In the studio, I usually work on multiple pieces at once, a practice which gives me time to ponder and gauge my progress and next steps before beginning each new layer. I paint from references that I've meticulously chosen from an ever-growing repository of thousands of photos I have taken over the years. My main intent is not to capture the physical reality of a scene, but to express my own moods and feelings, as well as to trigger personal memories and emotions in my audience as they form their own interpretation of each piece.

    Artist Background

    DePaul University
    Master of Science, 2009

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