Art Global Talent Art Prize

Echo Xu: Interview with the 2nd Winner of the Global Talent Art Prize (6th edition)

Echo Xu

As part of collaboration with the Global Talent Art Prize, we are happy to share an interview with the 2nd winner of the 6th edition, Echo Xu, a talented artist hailing from USA.

In the realm of her artistic exploration, Echo Xu finds herself fascinated by the paradoxical allure of crafting artificial, plastic-like nature. Within this fusion of the organic and the synthetic, she seeks to unravel the complex interplay between humanity and the environment, questioning the boundaries we impose on the definition of the natural world.In a society increasingly defined by technological advancement and industrial progress, the concept of nature undergoes huge metamorphosis. Her work dives into the creation of landscapes that are at once authentic and fabricated, challenging preconceived notions of authenticity of human perception.The allure of plasticity in her art is rooted in the tension between the tactile and the manufactured. 

By infusing organic and artificial elements, she strives to elicit a response that blurs the lines between what is real and what is contrived. This tension becomes a metaphorical commentary on the human desire to manipulate and control the natural world, often leading to unintended consequences.Ultimately, Echo Xu tries to create the choreography between the authentic and the fabricated, challenging us to reevaluate our role as stewards of the planet and to contemplate the resilient beauty that exists in the spaces where nature and artifice converge.

Annunciation, 48_42 inch, mix media on canvas, April, 2024

Annunciation, 48×42 inch, mix media on canvas, 2024

1. Can you recall the moment you knew you wanted to be an artist? What made you interested in arts?

For a long time, I was perplexed about the moment I knew I wanted to be an artist. Since I’ve been doing art from a young age and come from an artistic family, creating art seemed so natural to me. However, I’m obsessed with the systematic learning of science and quantitative results. I like the feeling of knowing what’s right or wrong and what the next step should be. When I adapted this mindset to art-making, it turned into a painstaking process because there are no definitive right or wrong answers and no objective assessments. I think I figured out the problem just a few months ago when I found a way of art making that I truly enjoyed. It’s not about impressing others or proving anything. It’s the pure joy of materializing my thoughts and conveying them in a non-universal language. I truly enjoy the moment when I feel connected with the viewer, although we are strangers. My art can be loud and lively while I maintain silence at all times. The ambiguity of art provides both protection and understanding of myself. And I realized that I’m ready to do this for the rest of my life.

Hang my pillow case, mix medium, size varies, 2024

2. Tell us about your artistic process and the way you brainstorm ideas? What do you usually start with when creating? How do ideas become artworks?

I have two ways of working: material-driven or concept-driven. I’m always searching for new materials and new methods to experiment with. Ideas develop during this process, like how could I stick these parts together? How could I hang it? How can I spend less money in making? I’ll always push myself to think of new ways to solve these problems. For concept-driven work, I have another workflow. I’ll brainstorm and simplify my thoughts to get to the most important emotion or idea, and then think about the material that could most efficiently convey these ideas. I’ll think about it for weeks sometimes and not start making until I have a comprehensive, step-by-step plan.

Dotted pants jump , 30×40 inch , oil on canvas, paper, 2023

3. Do you have or have had a mentor or another special person to guide you?

I like to ask my friend who majors in computer science for input and see how the works or ideas look from a completely different mindset. Sometimes I also ask him to make decisions for me. The mindset of efficiency and functionality can really help when I have a pile of ideas and don’t know what to do.

Flyers, 55×55 inch, mix media on canvas, 2023

4. How has your style changed over the years? If yes, could you explain why?

I’m not sure if my style has changed over the years. I’m always trying to pursue something that is technical and gestural, chaotic and logical, organic and synthetic. I’ve tried lots of mediums and found that collage is my language. I like to work with existing materials and use the information that is already there to serve as details and gateways into my art.

Fishing for the moon , 7×3 feet, mix media, 2023

5. What kind of message do you wish to convey in your art? 

My art is deeply personal, but I don’t have expectations for others to understand it; I’m almost trying to hide the personal elements. I wish for my artworks to be visually appealing, rich enough to look at for a while without turning away, and fun to observe.

What are you looking at while on the phone , 42×36 inch, mix media on canvas, 2023

6. Tell us more about what project you are currently working on?

I’m currently working on a project related to contemporary politics. It is timesensitive, and this is my first work dealing with political themes. I’m not sure how it will turn out since I used to refuse such topics, but now I want to try.

Smoke after fire, wind under water, and me in front of a window

7. What will be your next project?

My next project will probably be an edited video using found footage about cooking vegetables.

Sunrise, 8×11 inch, silkscreen on paper, 2023

8. What is your dream project?

My dream project is to create public-engaging art, like installations, relational aesthetics – something that reaches beyond personal expression and involves more than just me making the art.

Wind under water , 8×10 inch , watercolor silkscreen, wood block print, 2022

9. There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you?

I would say the ideal state of mind for being creative is feeling secure and insecure at the same time. Feeling psychologically and physically secure enough to let ideas out without hurting yourself. But also feeling insecure, providing the maximum driving force to make those ideas happen. The unknown, the anxiety, the fear, the grief – these are all sources of power.

10. What is art for?

Art is for filling the days. People have to do something to fill their days and experience the sensation of living. We create and consume others’ creations. I think art is part of that process.

The beach man with dotted pants, 42×42 inch , oil on canvas, 2023

11. Thanks for the opportunity to interview you as the 2nd Prize Winner of the Global Talent Art Prize (6th edition). Are there any final thoughts, in particular for the ones who would like to follow your way?

I would say: have fun, have sadness, have loss, have happiness…you can have them all, and that’s your strength. Just need to be strong enough to hold onto them. Or you don’t have to hold onto them yourself; hold them in your art, and it will live on.

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