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Shuai Tan - Creativity and Style in Visual and Contemporary Art

Updated: Jul 30


"Bright Future" by Shuai Tan (2017)


While some artists have a distinctive style that is recognizable across their artwork, others such as Shuai Tan bring a variety of styles and techniques to their artwork. Each painting is its own style, an abstract expression of the subject he is painting, and often incorporates multiple styles and different techniques in a single painting. Shuai Tan (Chinese name Tan Shuai) was born in Chongqing, China in 1966. He studied art at the Chongqing Light Industry School, and after finishing his studies, began his career as an artist and worked as an instructor from 1986 to 2005. Today, Tan has exhibited his artwork at exhibitions internationally in the United States and across China, with many collectors and institutions collecting his artwork.


In "Bright Future," there is the feeling of light and heaven, an abstract expression of positivity for the future. It appears to be the side of a mountain with light from above reflecting down the rugged terrain, and specs of green grass and plants showing signs of life. Tan uses the strong element of perspective with converging lines to capture your attention and lead you looking upward to the sky and the heavens.


"Purity and Fire" by Shuai Tan

As an artist, Tan has his own concept about art and painting: "Painting is a visual art. The first thing that pierces people's perception is intuition. Although theory is important, it is not the painter's primary focus. They are more concerned with the subject and direction of painting, how to paint it, and what style and technique they should use. When deciding what the content should be, the artist needs to have the technical skills on how to draw. Otherwise, it is impossible to talk about art as a painter."


In "Purity and Fire", the painting is a mixture of brush styles with the background being very atmospheric, a firey and smokey gray blending into the blue sky. In contrast, the white flower in full bloom, is boldly painted with dimensional texture and brush strokes that define the petals. The flower's shading and the pink highlights are complemented with the shades of blue. His gestural brushstrokes around the flower are whispy and airy, giving you a sense of the wind blowing and the turbulence of movement.


"Color" by Shuai Tan (2017)


Brushstrokes and brush technique are important elements in defining pictorial style. Many artists create new styles in their art by changing their brush techniques to creatively paint their subjects and evolve their style. Shuai Tan shows his range of painting techniques from the smooth application and blending of color in "Colors" to the three-dimensional layers of paint used on "Fengyun", where the paint is aggressively applied in multiple directions with a heavy brush or palette knife to give it rugged and expressive texture.


"Fengyun" by Shuai Tan (2020)


In another style, Tan shows his ability in portraiture with his painting "The Actress". It is evident that he has artistic skills in creating the human form as there is the realism of proportions and shading that shows his understanding of lighting combined with the abstract style of the painting. While her skin is smooth and fleshtone, the background around her textured and very colored.


"The Actress" by Shuai Tan (2020)


In the painting "Dislocation", you see another style that looks like an illustration as well as a painting. There is the mix of realistic colors, perspective, shading, and the reflections of the light in the water. The texture and brush style appears to be mostly smooth and the water looks to be still. It is contrasted with the texture of lotus pods and the reeds that look to be dried along with some pond grass.


"Dislocation" by Shuai Tan (2019)


Shuai Tan has been published with media coverage by over a hundred different media organizations, both in China and internationally including: Toutiao, Global Art Network, Sogu, Sogou, Netease, Phoenix News, Chinese and Foreign Art Network, Baijiahao, Daily Express, Yidian Information, Douban, UC, 360 Art, and many others.

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