Hui-Yi Pai

Born in: 1953, Taiwan
Lives in: Nantou, Taiwan
Education: P.h.D. in Art Education at National Changhua University of Education
Media: Painting
Describe your art in 3 words: Nature, Beauty, Heart

Standing outside the window - mineral pigments and animal glue on paper, 116.5x91cm

I regard art as a form of faith, just like religious beliefs, that must be approached with utmost sincerity. Every stroke and every brush must be sincere, focused, and emotionally charged. Only with such an attitude can one create works that stand the test of time. I aspire to create works that people can cherish forever, just like precious emotions and memories that do not fade away with time.

What themes does your current work involve?
My creations include realistic portraits, landscapes, urban life, and abstract paintings. Currently, landscape paintings are my main focus, especially the natural scenery I have seen during numerous travels. Nature has deeply inspired my artwork.
Describe your creative process.
My creation started with watercolor paintings. At first, I only created paintings based on my interests, but after receiving professional art education, I was drawn to the ancient oriental gouache painting, which led me to become a gouache painter. The technique of oriental gouache painting involves fusing mineral pigments with animal glue and layering them on the paper. Each layer of color creates a different atmosphere as they are stacked up. The colors of gouache painting can sometimes be layered more than ten layers, creating a unique artistic texture. Although I use traditional oriental media in my creation, my subjects are not traditional. I try to take modern life as my subject matter and have also experimented with abstract styles.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
The most significant factor that influences my creation is nature. Nature has inspired me greatly. Most of my ideas come from the nature, especially the landscapes I see during my travels. Nature is pure and true. It shows what it really is and does not hide anything, which is why it is always breathtaking. Although art is a cration of human, the spirit of nature can be represented in it, making it connected to nature. I create art because of my love for it and my commitment to my ideals. Everyone has ideals, and I feel extremely happy during the process of pursuing mine. Enjoying this pleasure is the purpose of my creation.
What are your goals and plans as an artist in 2023?
In 2023, we have been released from the uncertain situation caused by pandemic. I immersed myself in my studio during the pandemic, and as a result, I created many new works. In 2023, I hope to showcase these works and continue to participate in international art exhibitions.
How do recent advancements in technology affect your art practice? How may recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (image generator software) affect the definition of fine art?
The medium I work with, mineral pigments and animal glue, is traditional and old-fashioned, so it is not greatly affected by new technologies. However, I have also tried to present my works in the form of digital prints to make the ancient art of gouache painting more accessible to a wider audience. As for the development of artificial intelligence, it may have an impact on the definition of art, as some difficult techniques can be assisted by AI. However, art creation is not just about technique, but also about ideas and spirit. Ideas and spirit vary from person to person, and this is something that artificial intelligence cannot replace.
What is the role of the artist today?
The role of an artist is simple - they are creators of art. However, an artist is also not just a creator of art. When they impart ideas into their work, they become a philosopher. When they represent the elements of the world on a canvas, they become an observer. And when they immerse themselves fully in their creation, they become a spiritual practitioner connected to nature. The role of an artist can be simple or diverse.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?

There is no absolute standard for defining a good work of art. The meaning of a piece of work for an artist may differ from its meaning for the viewer. The themes and concepts that the artist focuses on may not be fully understood by the viewer, but in the process of interpreting the work, the viewer also gives the work new meaning. Therefore, a work of art can have different meanings due to the differences in the viewers and environment, which is also the most interesting aspect of art creation. I believe that any work of art that can evoke emotional resonance in the viewer and lead to discussion and various interpretations is a good work.

Green Holiday - mineral pigments and animal glue on paper, 91.72.5cm
Waterfall - mineral pigments and animal glue on paper, 72.5x60.5 cm
Thanksgiving - mineral pigments and animal glue on paper, 72.5x60.5cm
Pink Concept - mineral pigments and animal glue on paper, 80x65cm


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist

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