Essentially what I do as an artist is to transcend duality and subsequently the self. Our thinking is implicitly dual, more often than not we are trapped in holding onto apparent absolutes. It’s either good or bad, right and wrong, this and that, I can and I cannot. Yet this false dichotomy of worldview is perceptual, not the ultimate truth. It’s not either yin and yang, the opposites give rise to each other and are interdependent in the natural world. My work bridges together the seemingly opposing ideas and elements, balancing the opposites into a unified and harmonized whole. My quest as an artist is to facilitate the visual realization of you are nothing, you are everything. This open and dynamic mindset will lead you to the path of self-overcoming. As you become a fluid force, formless and shapeless like water, you can adapt to everything and be everything. Eventually liberating from your external limitations, transcending oneself from within and become Nietzsche’s “overman”.
Jessie Siu, a Hong Kong-based female artist, is a philosophy postgraduate whose work of art shows heavy influence of both Western and Chinese philosophy.
Jessie is largely a self-taught artist, did not formally study art, and see herself more as a philosopher with the wings of a painter. Art to this disciple of wisdom is a means to the acquisition of truth, moral improvement and the overcoming of self.
In order to truly convey the expressive spirit of the Taoist and Existentialist worldview, she felt the need to break away from the restrictive boundaries of any existing art schools, artistic styles and prevailing trends in the current contemporary art scene.
Jessie created two distinctively original visual languages to communicate her own philosophy and coined them “Inkless Ink” and “Almost Animated".
“Inkless-Ink” creates Chinese ink-like paintings without the use of ink. The pure white canvases magically transform into Chinese ink-like with the activation of a LED-light mechanism. The yang interchanges to yin. The hidden yin world is made visible. This process of concealment and revelation of possibilities-to-be is at the core teaching of both Taoism and Existentialism.
“Almost-Animated” is originally known as transcendental impressionism. Yet Jessie later dropped the clumsy philosophy jargon to a more relatable term. This style is characterized by multiple layers of rapid thin lines, continuous brushstrokes and open composition. The dynamic flow of lines, colours and shapes create the illusion of movement and achieving the effect of “almost animated”.
The two styles could not be more different in appearance yet they are instantly recognizable as her own and essentially dealing with the same investigation, namely, the meaning of being.
To Jessie, Art, at its greatest, should transcend the appearance and allow the truth to spring forth. As an artist, she sees it as her mission to inspire, shape and transform the basic sense of what is, what matters, and what could be. Possibilities and truth are much more than meet the eyes. Genuinely meaningful possibilities and the ultimate truth are not immediately perceivable to us but waiting for us to discover and rediscover.
Jessie’s career in art is short. She had never in her wildest dream imagined becoming an artist and did not decide to become one until the beginning of 2016. Her hybrid practice releases her from the mainstream and leading to mold her individual path.
Jessie has an extensive portfolio of interdisciplinary collaborations and corporate commissioned-based projects, clients include Marks and Spenser, the Grand Cinema, Zadig & Voltaire, Hong Kong Ballet and Lan Kwai Fong group etc.
She first established herself first as a Designer-prenuer, co-founded a designer sock business in 2013 with her brother. She described her socks as a design that speaks philosophy and makes you ponder about the meaning of life. Two years later she discovered her passion in teaching art. With this change of heart, she gave up everything and in June 2015 established MBA Art Workshop, at PMQ, a one-of-a-kind art studio that taught art like no one else. Taking inspiration from cooking classes, she designed a series of one-off art workshops that are simple, fun and entertaining. By breaking down the process of painting into simple logical steps, absolute beginners without prior training can create something so beautiful they don't even believe they make it themselves. Jessie is a strong believer in crossing boundaries and overcoming obstacles. She finds so much meaning in helping the self-proclaimed-untalented to become talented making masterpieces with their own hands. Even for only 3 hours, the art making experience is a life-changing one. Jessie was invited to give a Ted talk at Ted x Lingnan University to share her unconventional teaching philosophy in February 2017.