Artist's Statement

Dad’s Hands Are Smaller

John Ziqiang Wu

Dad’s Hands Are Smaller is a story of my family, also a story of the gift of art. I had no intention of it becoming an art project. But, through the process of making the works, I became inspired to see art in new ways.

I had a family emergency in 2009 and had to drop out of school to take care of my dad. It was an intense and scary moment and I was very anxious. My dad was in the hospital a lot, and I was spending most of my time with him. I came to know all the spots to sleep: couches, arm chairs and even folding chairs became my beds. During this time, I started to make small watercolor drawings, which was like a diary and helped me keep up my spirits. After a two-year period, I had made around 200 drawings. I have continued to make watercolors and in 2018, I self-published a book of the works in Dad’s Hands Are Smaller.

Most of the drawings in the show were made during the time I dropped out of art school, but I kept thinking of the watercolors and continued to work on them when I returned to school and then later while in graduate school. My art education has been so important to me. It expanded my view of art and to imagine its possibilities. But school also made me think of art through an institutionally accepted lens. Eventually, I felt I needed to rediscover things in my life that I overlooked. Dad’s Hands Are Smaller has been the one of my most important bodies of works. The watercolors were made from my heart. They were so simple but so helpful. When I think about art and the value of making art today, I see how these works opened a lot of doors for me.

It is a beautiful thing to see how all kind of artists and art learners find their own ways to engage with art. The story of art is in everyone.

Wet Paint, 12” x 9”, watercolor and gouache on paper, 2018
March 11 – August 30, 2020

John Ziqiang Wu: Dad’s Hands Are Smaller

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