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Jun Tan - Expressionist Style in Modern and Contemporary Art

Updated: Mar 29


"Red Clothes" (2019) - Jun Tan


by James Ziffirelli

Jun Tan or Tan Jun (Chinese name) is an artist of many talents who has developed his own unique style. He is a master of many arts - oil painter, Chinese ink, calligraphy, sculptor, and accomplished poet with a book of published poems. He is known for breaking the boundaries of traditional Chinese painting as his artwork is often filled with movement, emotion, contemporary subject matter, and his own creative techniques. Therefore, surpassing tradition has become his conceptual motivation, with the use of expressionism to create his own style in his artwork.


"Vaccine" (2020) - Jun Tan


"Tongbao" (2016) - Jun Tan


Jun Tan's Chinese ink and wash paintings have been well-recognized in the art world as his style tends to be unique, featuring "brushless" and non-traditional techniques. In regards to technique, Jun Tan likes to experiment, often applying ink and paint with other materials, splashing on the paper, and blowing it or moving it across the paper in the manner and direction that he wishes the ink and paint to flow, making each piece its own unique artwork. Sometimes he even crumples the rice paper to add another effect to the flow of the art materials. This is in contrast to the traditional freehand brush technique, or "literati" style that has existed for centuries in Chinese art based on the four main materials - ink, ink stone, paper, and brush; further breaking the boundary of traditional ink painting. Therefore, he likes to say that his paintings are "made", not "painted".


"Tang Poetry Intention 2" (2015) - Jun Tan


"Wen Tianxiang Poems" (2016) - Jun Tan


As an artist, his style is most often considered expressionist and his ink paintings have been called "ink-expressionist". Although there are many different understandings of what defines expressionism in art, it is typically the subjective interpretation of reality based on the artists emotional, inner, and spiritual view of the world. Jun Tan's artwork is usually abstract in nature and based on an objectiveness that is modernistic and contemporary. His expressionism and creative techniques together provide new concepts for his paintings, and even his other types of artwork.


"Currency War" (2016) - Jun Tan


"Lingyin" (2019) - Jun Tan


"Colorful 3" (2017) - Jun Tan


"Heashot 7" (2020) - Jun Tan


"Fu" (2018) - Jun Tan


"Awesome" (2018) - Jun Tan


Jun Tan studied traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy during his childhood, and later went on to graduate from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in 1986. In 1988, he helped establish the Art Department at Xiamen University of Technology, and taught there until 1997. His artwork is collected by many institutions, and been exhibited internationally, including the United States and United Kingdom. He is director of the New Knight International Art League, academician at China Academy of New Wild Art, and academic researcher at Shanghai Xiangmei Painting Academy.



Jun Tan's artwork has been featured in many solo and major art exhibitions, throughout China and internationally. He has appeared on television and has been interviewed and published in many magazines and newspapers. A collection of his poems was published in a book called Nude Forward by Global Culture Press. As a multi-talented and highly accomplished artist, Jun Tan continues to attract attention from the art community for his innovative techniques, artistic creativity, contemporary vision, and modernistic expressionist style.

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