Mei Xian Qiu – Art and Cake

Bio Pic taken by Ken Weingart

What does a day in your art practice look like?
It usually starts with reading a book and thinking of art in the periphery of my mind. And then I begin to make sketches, and writing. Then I start to work in earnest, which involves visual multimedia. Sometimes I am painting, or photographing something, or proofing, or creating props. Other times, I do research. I storyboard and write a lot. I usually end the day working on scent memories using a perfume organ and cleaning up the studio. It creates a peaceful resolution to the night. I hardly ever listen to anything. I find it too distracting.

How has personal experience influenced your creativity?
Certain experiences in early childhood, including repeated international immigration, created inter and intra culturalism that threw me “out of the box,” from my surroundings, shifted my perspective away and outside of the shared histories and rituals of those around me. This made me create my own internal rituals, culture, and explorations based on my own formulae of “better truths.” My reaction to political upheavals and violence in childhood was to examine the story making machines in propaganda and advertising in my work.

Qilin, Spring UV cured photograph on plexiglass substrate

What would life be like without art?
Art gives my life focus. It is a lens to observe. For others it would be some other lens, maybe science, mathematics, or martial arts, to figure things out with.

What inspires you?
Question marks generally. Stories more specifically. Orchestrated actions and histories and their impact. Spaces between stuff, how it is empty and full at the same time.

If you could change anything about the art world, what would it be?
I would make it a more even playing field. I would make it a vehicle for empathy, a way to understand the awesome power of diversity. I would make curiosity and authenticity prominent in art. I would let art cross other disciplines and permeate everything.

Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom, 8075 UV cured photograph on plexiglass substrate

What are your words of wisdom for someone starting out in your field?
Don’t do it unless you have to.

Who would you most like to collaborate with? Why?
With the people I am presently collaborating with, YAXS Foundation, a Guatemalan non-profit archive that promotes artistic practices and experimentation as a form of emancipation. We are working on a research articulated project called THE HOUSEWIFE, that begins with thousands of personal letters of Blanca Mora y Araujo, the wife of the great Central American writer Miguel Angel Asturias. By connecting with the letters in an emotionally intimate and empathetic, yet contemporary, way we are able to use the letters as a starting point to explore and perhaps empower the feminine in its many forms.

Qilin, Summer UV cured photograph on plexiglass substrate

What do you wish to accomplish with your art?
To create a bridge, a question, an experience, a journey within myself and the viewer that is impossible to write about.

What is the hardest part of creating your art?
Simplifying the work. I find the best work to be organic and almost simple. I tend to consistently overthink, overdo, create denseness instead of clarity. We tend to build dams instead of following the flow of water. The best thing a lot of artists can do is to break apart their own work and recreate it in its most elemental forms.

Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom, Bird Cage UV cured photograph on plexiglass substrate