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  • Writer's pictureThe Beverly Arts

LABA International Art Festival Interviews Todd Williamson & Jiannan Huang on Abstract Art & Design


Artist Todd Williamson and LABA host Maxwell Goddell with LABA Blue-chip artist Jiannan Huang (iPad) joining by video conference


Pasadena, California, USA. 9th March, 2023. The LABA International Art Festival hosted an interview with artists Todd Williamson and Jiannan Huang on the topic of "Abstract Art and Design" at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, California. Mr. Huang was joined to the interview by video conference from his studio in Beijing, China, as he was unable to attend in person. The LABA host was Maxwell Gobbell who connected the two artists together and led the interview.

Todd Williamson, who is also the co-chairman of the LABA International Art Festival, gave an introduction about abstract art and shared his background and experience as an artist. He talked about the role of color in abstract art, and described his own journey of creating abstract oil paintings. He went on to say:


"Abstract art remains relevant in today's world because it allows artists to express thoughts, emotions, and complex concepts without using recognizable subjects. Abstract art has evolved considerably over time. Early abstract works tended to focus on broken shapes and flat forms, while modern abstract works tend to use a range of materials, techniques, and styles. There is also a great deal of texture and color experimentation to create evocative and expressive compositions."


Artist Todd Williamson


Todd Williamson is a Los Angeles-based contemporary artist and former arts commissioner for West Hollywood, California, where he served as chairman of the West Hollywood Arts Council for many years. He studied at the American Academy in Rome, Italy, the New Opera House in Naples, Italy, the Skopelos Foundation-Skopelos in Greece, the International Academy of Art in Venice, Italy, and the Louise Bourgeois Artists Salon in New York. Williamson is the recipient of the prestigious Pollock Krasner Foundation Award. His work has been exhibited around the world including Galerie Michael in Beverly Hills, Georges Berges Gallery in New York City, Nicole Longnecker Gallery in Houston, Texas, Premium Modern Art in Germany, and Art 1307 Gallery in Italy.


LABA host Maxwell Gobbell holds an iPad with LABA Blue-chip artist Jiannan Huang connected by video conference


The interview host, Maxwell Gobbell, connected the two artists together by video conference with Huang in Beijing. Gobbell raised the question of, "What is the relationship between art and design, and how do you integrate art and design together?"


Huang replied, "Art and design are inextricably linked. To say the same thing, I think art and design are both a process of innovation. Without innovation, art and design have no vitality. Of course, there are also differences. What art pursues is the unity of emotion and aesthetics, while design is more practical and utilitarian. The product of the combination of function and aesthetics."


LABA Blue-chip artist Jiannan Huang


"In addition, art puts more emphasis on personalization and the need to be done by hand. Design tends to adopt standardized creative methods and can be completed with the help of mechanical tools. The question of whether art and design can be integrated, I think this question is different for different people. I think that the two can learn from each other and integrate, first of all, thinking. Both artistic thinking and design thinking have their own strengths and weaknesses, and can learn from each other. Because both are a process of using thinking to innovate."


"Also, the accuracy of design technology can be used to perfectly to express the artistic intention that the artist wants to express. Communication of these designs with enough flexibility can be successfully implemented into product details. Of course, this is not to say that using mechanical tools instead of handwork to create art is not art. I think the high integration of the creator's emotions, thinking, and techniques is the life of art."

Jiannan Huang Hao Miaojian, born in Heyuan, Guangdong, is a famous calligrapher, painter, collector, appraiser, national first-class artist, and former part-time researcher at Shenzhen Graduate School of Tsinghua University. He is one of the world's finest artists, specializing in Western oil painting and Chinese ink. He is ranked third on the 2020 Hurun China Art List and 19th on the Hurun Global List with sales of $29 million. Huang holds several positions - Director of the Chinese Traditional Culture Promotion Association, member of the French National Artists Committee, art consultant for the World Low Carbon Cities Alliance, and France Jiny City Gold Medal Honorary Citizen. He was awarded the title of "Earl" by the Indonesian Royal Family. In 2021, he was given an honorary membership into the Royal Society of St. George (RSSG), California Branch. He received the RSSG "Master of Arts" Award in 2022, and the LABA Most Influential and Most Valuable Artist Award.


LABA Blue-chip Artist Jiannan Huang


Additionally, Huang is the recipient of the Gold Medal of the Global Philanthropy Alliance. He is the first and only LABA Blue-chip artist in the world, as established by the Los Angeles Beverly Arts and the LABA International Art Festival. He is also the only Asian artist to be elected as the Rotating Chairman of the LABA International Art Festival in the United States. Professor Wayne, a world-influential art critic in the United States, concluded that Huang benefited from his rich experience and accumulation of travel and life experiences. This allowed him to integrate Chinese and art conception with Western oil painting techniques, and light and shadow colors. He created a unique personal comprehensive painting system and a "new system."


LABA host Maxwell Gobbell, Joey Zhou, and Todd Williamson


At the end of the interview, the host asked the two internationally renowned artists a common question: "What is the trend of art and design in the future?"

Huang stated, "I think there are several directions in the future of art and design that we may have to face:

First, Smart Art and Design:

Use the most advanced artificial intelligence technologies such as natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to create new artworks and design symbols, helping artists realize more creative possibilities.


Second, virtual reality art and design:

Combining virtual reality with art and design allows audiences to participate in a more realistic way than reality, enhancing the visual and physical experience.


Third, digital art and design:

Using digital technologies such as 3D printing, digital image processing, and network media, creates new possibilities for artists, and explores two-way interaction, interactive artworks and design elements.


Fourth, social media art and design:

Unprecedented use of social media platforms to increase the visibility, recognition and word-of-mouth of artworks and brands, use social media to establish direct interaction with consumers, and achieve the common development of communication and participation.


Of course, I personally believe that no matter how technology and intelligence develop in the future, people will ultimately play a decisive role. Human emotions are rich, human imagination is unlimited, and human creativity has no end, and these are the vitality and source of artistic creation."


LABA and The Beverly Arts founder and chairman Joey Zhou


The interview was directed and produced by Joey Zhou, the founding chairman of the LABA International Art Festival and an internationally renowned TV host.









The Beverly Arts is sponsored by the JHSZ International Art Institute

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