Emerging Artists In Oil Exhibition: Jenny Li


Jenny Li's Artist's Statement

I am a rising grade 12 student at Steveston London Secondary high. My artistic goal is to create the worlds that I imagine and that I want to see in reality. I paint the things I see in my dreams. The paintings allow others to see the worlds that pop up in my head. Imagining them for myself is simply not enough for me. I have to share them.  

The scenes that I imagine and paint are inspired by my life and the things I see around me. My hobbies are watching movies and taking walks around Richmond. The subjects of my paintings are often altered versions of the things I see on my walks or in films.

My family and I immigrated to Canada in 2013, and we have lived in Richmond ever since. I enjoy exploring my new city and seeing how it changes over time. Watching the sunset is an example of one of my inspirations for the changing colours you will see in my paintings. Richmond has the most magnificent sunsets, and the colour is different every day.

I am also inspired by watching horror and fantasy movies because I like to imagine supernatural themes and fictional worlds. They tend to influence my dreams. When I think of a subject for a painting, then I can turn to this stock of images. As you can see in my paintings, the colours contrast forcefully, which can surprise my audience. The style of these unusual images stands out from ordinary vision.

The symbol of horses represents freedom to me. They can spend their lives roaming, and I would like to be able to be free to choose my own life, like them. When I was younger, I had opportunities to ride horses, but at the time, I did not take them. Maybe in the future, it would be fun to ride a horse for once.

Imaginary female figures help me represent my vision without necessarily being me. For example, the exposed internal organs of the female figures show that, although the outward appearance may be different, everyone is the same inside. Many teenage girls spend a great deal of their time thinking about romance and relationships, and I try to make that imaginary world into a picture that shows the fun that we share with this kind of gossip and fantasy.

Trapped, Oil on Canvas

"The inspiration for this painting comes from a television program about a girl who endures chilling adventures. One episode seems to say that angels are actually the source of evil because their beautiful appearance deceives us into thinking that they are good. The heavy chains show how the figure is trapped by its own fears. I used a mixture of oil paint with a black base and a highlight of a softer texture. The shadows around the outlines of the wings give the figure better modelling and volume."

Anatomy Series, Oil on Canvas

The Inside, Two Sided

"These female figures were inspired by two pictures of a statue I saw on the internet; the first picture showed the exterior, and the second showed the internal organs from a cut-away view. The Inside expresses the sentiment that, although outward appearances differ, we are not truly different from each other when seen from the inside. In Two Sided, I thought it would be interesting if I could add colour to the same theme: Never judge someone by the surface because the truth is always deep down." 

The Foundation of Romance, Oil on Canvas

"The bright pink and Tiffany blue colours are romantic, but they are a dream of

romance. I’ve included some traditional motifs of young women in love, like flowers in bloom and insects. Like a green apple, the young woman is developing and growing. The red apple in her other hand hints at a grown woman with experience. The difference between the eyes shows a natural imperfection--no one is perfect in this world. One side is a statuesque and distant representation of beauty, the other is self-conscious and aware, staring right at the viewer."


The Water Horse Series, Oil on Canvas

The Water Horse, Through the Fire, Beyond the Horizontal Line, The Waves

"The original idea for the Water Horse series of four paintings comes from the character of Nine-Tailed Fox in the classical Chinese geography and bestiary, “Classic of Mountains and Seas.” I changed the figure to a horse, however, because the horse better represents the wild and free spirit that never accepts limits.

Through the Fire depicts the fire wall inside people—that is, the problems or difficulties we have with ourselves and others. The water horse is the self that breaks through the fire wall, showing that nothing is impossible if we try. In Beyond the Horizontal Line, the same theme is represented in the composition and colour contrast of the red land and blue sky. In The Waves, I tried to get away from the same blue and red palette of the others in the series. Despite the colour change, it still expresses the sense of conquering difficulties, as if overcoming strong waves on the sea."       

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