Contemporary art, as we know it, is a testament to the times, reflecting society’s complexities, joys, and struggles. It’s a sector characterized by its diversity, with artists drawing from an array of mediums, techniques, and thematic concerns to communicate with a global audience. In this world, innovation is constant, and the value of art is not just in its aesthetic appeal but in its ability to provoke thought, evoke emotion, and inspire change.
Enter Wei Wang, an artist whose journey is as intricate and compelling as their creations. Wang’s career is a tapestry of varied experiences and roles, from graphic design to curatorial assistance, and studio coordination. These positions, held at esteemed organizations such as Futurefarmers, RISD Museum, and Kala Art Institute, highlight an ability to adapt and thrive in diverse artistic environments. But it’s not just the roles they’ve held that tell the story of their success; it’s also the international residencies and fellowships, from New York to Basel and Florence, that underscore their global impact and recognition.
Our interview with Wei Wang offered a deeper dive into the artist’s global professional experience and artistic collaborations. Wang’s work is a reflection of a journey marked by continuous learning, authentic expression, and a commitment to engaging with a world beyond the canvas. In their own words, it’s about embracing who they are, building genuine connections, and appreciating the magic of interdisciplinary collaboration. These principles don’t just guide their art; they define it.
Hello Wei, it’s great to have you with us! Tell us, how have your diverse international residencies and fellowships influenced your artistic approach and vision?
In these moments and spaces, I find myself on a journey of discovering and embracing my true self. Residencies, in particular, gather many artists from all kinds of backgrounds. It’s honestly a privilege to be part of this community, and the real secret to soaking it all in is just being real—embracing who you are and building genuine connections. These truths hit me every time I connect with fellow artists who are unapologetically themselves, spreading nothing but kindness around.
Can you describe a particularly memorable collaboration from your time with the Futurefarmers or another collective? What made it significant for you?
Every project I work on with Amy from Futurefarmers is memorable and precious, especially when I was initially exploring how to shape my own art practice as an artist rather than a designer. The way they collaborate quickly taught me that these labels don’t really matter in your work. Futurefarmers’ projects are always collaborative, and this type of experience truly helps me appreciate the magic of being interdisciplinary and open to all types of practices for collaboration.
In what ways have the different cultural environments you’ve worked in, such as New York, Colorado, Basel, and Florence, impacted your creative process?
I think almost definitely. I am still pretty new to the New York art scene, but looking at my close friends who have been working here for decades, the spirit is definitely different from the rest of the city. They are always a couple of steps ahead in planning, working, and more. Partially, it’s because of how competitive New York is, but truly, it’s about how everyone is passionate about their own craft. I am slowly learning to pick up these spirits from my peers.
You’ve held various roles in different organizations, from graphic design to curatorial assistance. How do you adapt your creative mindset to fit these diverse roles, and what challenges have you faced in this process?
Living through various experiences has been a significant aid to my practice. As a trained designer, I initially didn’t give much thought to my practical skills when venturing into fine art. However, I am gradually realizing the critical importance of these skills as an artist. Engaging in curatorial projects has particularly helped me understand the behind-the-scenes aspects of being an artist. It has given me insights into how exhibitions are crafted and how to collaborate with curators and diverse teams from different institutions.
Looking back at your time with organizations like the RISD Museum and Kala Art Institute, how do you feel these experiences have contributed to your growth as an artist?
These institutional backgrounds have provided me with partial insight into how the art world functions. These experiences enable me to think about and compare my practice through a historical lens, especially since all these institutions prioritize education over the commercial aspects of the art world. I have grown alongside all my colleagues, some of whom may not be artists but consistently express the deepest appreciation for art. It is very inspiring to witness and be a part of.
What strategies do you employ to effectively navigate and connect with the global art community, especially during international exhibitions and residencies?
In the early days, I found myself trying to hold onto everything, unsure of what lay ahead or what would truly benefit me. However, as the years unfolded and I collaborated with accomplished artists and cultural endeavors, I learned that success doesn’t hinge on having it all or letting external markers define it. Recently, I’ve shifted my focus to figuring out what my practice truly needs, steering away from the notion of aimlessly acquiring everything.
Your work has been collected by institutions worldwide. How do you think this global recognition has affected your career and the perception of your art?
It is undeniably a significant aspect of my identity, not solely as an immigrant artist by default, but also shaped over the years by how others have treated me and how I’ve interacted with them. These recognitions contribute greatly to my understanding of and connection with my authentic self and artistic practice.
Witnessing the exhibition of these collected works from various museum permanent collections is always gratifying. The most rewarding moments occur when people share their experiences or form connections with the art. Such interactions serve as inspiration for creating more works.
Lastly, with such a varied international presence, how do you ensure your art resonates with diverse audiences, and what do you hope they take away from your work?
It is always difficult to answer the question of who my audience is, but recent years have made this question less troublesome for me. As I evolve both as an artist and as a person, I’ve come to realize that the connection I seek through my work is inherently natural. Despite attempting to anticipate the trajectory of my art, certainty remains elusive. Hence, my approach is to maintain authenticity in my process. I will always keep my process genuine, present it genuinely, and hope to receive a genuine response.
Wei Wang’s journey through the landscape of contemporary art is a testament to the power of adaptability, authenticity, and deep-rooted passion. From diverse international residencies to impactful collaborations, Wang’s story is not just about the art they create but the universal language they speak through it—connecting cultures, experiences, and emotions. As we’ve journeyed with Wang, we’ve seen the world through their eyes, a world where art is not just seen but felt, a reflection of our collective human experience.
Now, it’s your turn to engage with this vibrant mosaic of modern art. Dive into Wang’s world, explore their works, and let their journey inspire your own path of discovery and creation. Whether you’re an aspiring artist, a seasoned professional, or simply an admirer of beauty in all its forms, remember that your voice and vision have the power to shape the future of art. Embrace the diversity, challenge the norms, and contribute to the conversation. Visit your local galleries, support artists in your community, and perhaps, most importantly, dare to create. Let Wei Wang’s fusion of vision, versatility, and voice be a reminder that in the realm of art, there are no boundaries—only possibilities.