Tristan Liao

Tristan Liao

Victoria | 1 artworks for sale

Having worked as a primary school teacher I have taken a years leave to develop myself as an artist with the goal of selling and exhibiting my work.... Read more
  • death and life  drawing tristan liao
    Death and Life
    Drawing / 60.9 x 60.9 cm
Having worked as a primary school teacher I have taken a years leave to develop myself as an artist with the goal of selling and exhibiting my work. I currently work from home using my garage as a studio and enjoy spending time in nature through camping in the bush or visiting the seaside. I am interested in several spiritual philosophies while being a master of none but find that the insights are valuable in so far as they provide me with a greater sense of freedom. Being from a mixed Chinese and Australian background has also given me unique access to different cultural perspectives both positive and negative that influence me generally and specifically in relation to my artistic endeavours. Currently I live in the suburbs of Melbourne with my wife and two young children who are my biggest fans and also at times critics. They also inspire me to develop greater depth in my artworks with the hopes that it will serve a useful purpose to others in addition to being visually stimulating.

Which new trends or Australian artists do you find inspiring at the moment? I find the work (and work ethic!) of CJ Hendry inspiring I think it is interesting in general how hyperrealism creates a different experience for the viewer and a sense of refinement to the subjects depicted. I like how the amount of effort and skill to create her works make them quite intense while being contrasted with the fun and edgy objects represented.

After visiting the Melbourne Art Fair, I was captivated by the works of Kirsty Budge I found her surreal abstracted imagery compelling and though provoking. It was interesting to discover how she creates her works intuitively placing equal importance to adding and removing elements in her paintings.

I am also impressed by the work of Lindy Lee a well-known Australian Artist of Chinese descent. I find the way she authentically incorporates philosophical and spiritual themes in her work inspiring as well as her powerful use of the elements of fire and water. Her ability to be comfortable in relinquishing control and allowing random elements to shape her work is also something I resonate with.

Which Australian deceased artist do you most admire and why? Growing up I often viewed an artwork in our home depicting a bush turkey and other native Australian birds I always wondered why the turkey was so black, barely visible and menacing. I recently discovered that this is an aspect unique to the works of the renowned Australian artist Clifton Pugh who painted this work. While unfamiliar intellectually with his work until recently I have always been influenced by the powerful use of black by him to convey accurately the mystery and raw savagery of nature.

Which exhibition that you have visited made the greatest impact on you and why? Viewing Vincent Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Crows at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam left a lasting impression on me. I think I was struck by the emotions conveyed and the subtle beauty still present throughout. It also highlighted for me the way in which art is present far beyond the physical work when considering the many people involved in preserving, promoting and maintaining his legacy.

Where do you get your inspiration for your work? The inspiration for my work is informed by my exploration of spiritual writings and speakers such as The Dao de Ching, Zen Koans, Ramana Maharshi, Ram Dass and Sailor Bob Adamson. I also enjoy finding the commonality between different forms of human endeavor in various fields where a person strives to achieve a personal goal that they are passionate about. Viewing though provoking and evocative artistic expression continues to inspire me in its various forms from fine arts to music, movies, videos, and video games. More specifically when creating works I am inspired by what I consider to be the generative force of reality and allowing this to create through or alongside me as much as possible. Finally all the many moments spent with family, friends and my community are a constant source of inspiration.

Do you have any rituals or habits involving your art-making that you can tell us about? The growing lexicon of shapes, symbols, and textures that I use in my works I feel at times are quite habitual, in some way forming a ritual that aims to set a foundation for intuitive evolutions or new forms to arise from what I consider to be the void. These new forms and techniques are then repeated forming new habits and rituals. When working like many artists I also try to invoke a flow state where I am present and focused during each stage of the work as much as possible.

What do you like most about being an artist? As an artist I enjoy moments when I feel a strong connection to the creative spirit and the opportunity to channel this into a visual medium. Being able to share this with others is also a personal goal that I seek to fulfil as best as I am able.

How do you handle bad days when you experience artist's block? I find the experience of artists block occurs in the middle of creating an artwork and I usually find completing the final stages of the artwork the most challenging where I need to be vigilant and follow through. In general, I find that persisting regardless of how I perceive my level of creativity to be is beneficial in that usually new ideas are born from this. If I feel the quality of the work is impacted however I will step away to allow myself an opportunity to return to the work with fresh eyes. I find that spending time outdoors and in nature is the easiest way to facilitate this.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date? I feel my pyrography work Lost and Found – Found and Lost required a greater level of sustained focus than any previous works as the medium in general requires even greater precision, timing and patience. As an artist taking the first steps into professional practice, I don’t have any notable achievements other than my own personal growth which I can see when reflecting on my current works.

Do you feel that you want to make a difference to the world or in people's lives? If yes, how? Through my artworks I would like to encourage the viewer to engage with their own intuition and be open to spontaneous interpretations of meaning that occur to them personally when viewing the largely ambiguous imagery in my work. Eventually through the work I hope to guide the viewer to a place of non-dualistic subjective awareness as a resource they can use in their own lives.

What are your plans for the coming year? This year I plan to focus on creating larger scale artworks using pyrography on Poplar Plywood boards. I aim to develop myself and my artworks as much as possible through continued research and the creation of this series of work. I also aim to build community and networks to support my journey as an artist.