Liane Chu is not one to do things the conventional way. The up-and-coming painter – she uses “acrylic and oil techniques and materials from the West to inflict thought upon the Chinese identity and heritage, paying homage to the Chinese women who have inspired her while seeking to play a part in diversifying the stereotypical image of China” – launched her art career by purposely hiding her age.
“I decided I needed to do an exhibition in New York, because that’s like the holy grail for arts. So I didn’t put in my age when I was applying for Artexpo New York, and they ended up accepting my application,” she says. Three years later, the university student – who turns 22 this month – has held a solo show in New York (after a curator saw her work at Artexpo), participated in group exhibitions in Paris, Taipei and Hong Kong, provided artwork for a new Cathay Pacific business-class lounge and is currently gearing up for a show at PMQ.
Chu has also become a well-known advocate for living with Tourette syndrome, the neurological disorder that causes involuntary movements and tics.
“I’ve had ADHD and Tourette’s since I was young, and I have learned to acknowledge [Tourette’s] as my best friend,” says Chu, who grew up in Hong Kong and lived in Shanghai and New York before returning to Hong Kong for university. “Without Tourette’s, I can’t paint. I release my energy through painting; it calms me.”
Chu’s latest collections, Flower Women and Crackle Splash, continue her impressionistic portrayal of nature’s beauty combined with silhouettes of female figures and natural flora and fauna. They also reflect the artist’s own journey of self-exploration and questioning what it means to identify as Chinese, while acknowledging the impact of women and the female identity in today’s society.
But – perhaps expectedly – Chu, who’s been painting since she was two years old, isn’t studying art but is instead pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communications. “A lot of people say I’m successful, but I disagree – I envy my friends who have a 4.0 grade-point average,” she says. “I love going to school and I think that not going to art school opens up my perspective, and I learn something new every day.
I’m considering taking a finance course, or even a PhotoShop crash course, not necessarily going to work in that industry but just because I enjoy acquiring new knowledge.”
Outfit: Chu’s own | Watch: Richard Mille RM 07-01 Open Link