Sketching out a career

Updated 2017-07-05 11:37:35 China Daily
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Fresh graduates from the Central Academy of Fine Arts present the best of their work at a recent graduation exhibition. Their pieces vary in media and genres, from installations, oil paintings and Chinese ink art to picture books.

Fresh graduates from the Central Academy of Fine Arts present the best of their work at a recent graduation exhibition. Their pieces vary in media and genres, from installations, oil paintings and Chinese ink art to picture books.

Taking up art for a livelihood is more than just striking a brush on canvas.

A degree from an art college does not always mean that you embark upon a path to become a successful artist. Instead, it simply means that you have entered a very competitive arena, and that you have to survive a rather high rejection rate.

"A lot of people will quit in the first five years after college, when they cannot support themselves, or they can find no support from outside," says Wang Meichen, 34.

She graduated with a master's degree in oil painting from Tsinghua University's arts and design academy in June.

"I told my mom that I would concentrate so much on painting that I may not have time to have children. She is OK with it because I have a sister who is married.

"Many talented girls get married and give up art after having a child. I feel sorry for them," says Wang.

"Once you stop it is unlikely you will restart."

Her wish to be a painter is so strong that Wang gave up a job as a product designer three years ago. She felt that the work was becoming routine.

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Wang Meichen, an artist with a degree from Tsinghua University's arts and design academy.

Wang Meichen, an artist with a degree from Tsinghua University's arts and design academy.

Then, when she enrolled at Tsinghua she found she was not well prepared for the new environment.

"Many of my postgraduate classmates had studied oil painting before," says Wang.

"I felt huge pressure, so for the first year I did not paint at all but tried to carve out a niche that could create a clear path for my future."

She adopted an abstract approach. And for the remaining two years she says she painted from morning until 11 pm, almost every day.

Many students of painting now incorporate installation and mixed media into their creations, making their work eye-catching.

Wang says she is not against the trend but is more fascinated with painting and the challenge it brings.

"Skills and vibrant colors don't necessarily make a great piece.

"It is what an artist wants to express that really matters, even though sometimes he or she is not understood by others.

"And that is the best thing I've learned at Tsinghua."

Only a start

An artist's confidence, however, needs to pass the viewers' test.

The first test for art graduates these days is the graduation exhibition.

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Fresh graduates from the Central Academy of Fine Arts present the best of their work at a recent graduation exhibition. Their pieces vary in media and genres, from installations, oil paintings and Chinese ink art to picture books.

Fresh graduates from the Central Academy of Fine Arts present the best of their work at a recent graduation exhibition. Their pieces vary in media and genres, from installations, oil paintings and Chinese ink art to picture books.

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