Skilful fusion of traditional Chinese artistic techniques and references to western Pop Art has lead to Jacky Tsai's complex and vibrant style. Clearly influenced by the artist’s move to London from his native China in his early 20’s, Tsai’s work embraces the two cultural extremes by harmoniously fusing social imagery associated with East and West to produce conceptually and aesthetically rich works.
A dedicated and tenacious temperament has led to Tsai mastering an impressive range of intricate techniques including traditional Chinese guohua painting, mono printing, screen printing, silk embroidery, cloisonne lacquering, sculpture and painted porcelain. Hand finishing prints with gold and palladium leaf, or using glow in the dark inks he is willing to innovate and utilizes his repertoire of skills to consistently purvey his vision of balance and unity between societies.
Playing with perspective he builds up imagined landscapes, layering found images and his own painting, with a dually graphic and painterly eye. Bright psychedelic colours and collaged effect adds a Tropicália aesthetic compositionally to works such as ‘Flying Tiger’, where Chinese dragons and Jackie Chan lookalikes in martial arts poses share the frame with a cascade of American fighter planes, girls swinging from rope trapeze and tropical birds.
A desire to transform attitudes of fear and superstition related to death and decay, prevalent in Chinese culture, has lead Tsai to consciously promote the beauty within the symbol of skull. Craniums consumed by flowers, birds and butterflies, all representing regeneration and rebirth are a a reoccurring theme throughout his screen prints and sculptures, including ‘Vermilion Light, 2013, as well as the iconic skull image made for late British fashion designer Alexander McQueen, 2008, which gained him wide press attention.
Tsai's fixation with flawlessness, coupled with sharp graphic skills is exemplified in ‘Stained Glass Skull’ which pioneers potentially challenging ideas of religious fusion. The skull, rife with pagan symbols, is placed in the context of a Christian church stained glass window, whilst giving the appearance of an illuminated Calaveraor Mexican ‘Sugar Skull’. The work is possibly his most daring achievement in his quest to fuse cultural extremes.
In 2011 Tsai set up his own luxury fashion label, Jacky Tsai, which sees him place his art imagery onto clothing and accessories with the aim to create "artlevel" fashion products for collectors of both exclusive fashion and art. The label has become increasingly popular and is represented in high-end London department store Harvey Nichols. Collaborations with high-profile brands include D1 Gin and Shanghi Tang. Eyestorm worked in conjunction with the latter to produce an exclusive set of limited edition prints which complement the collection Tasi designed for their 2014 range.
Born in China in 1984, Tsai grew up in Shanghai and after completing his BA at the China Academy of Art, moved to London to study MA Illustration at Central St Martin’s, graduating in 2008. His debut London solo show in 2010 proved to be a success and in the summer of the following year he showed two works with Eyestorm in a private event at the prestigious Mayfair Hotel where both pieces were sold. Eyestorm exhibits and sells his work in Hong Kong, New York, Singapore and London.
our article on Jacky Tsai
and 'Investing in Art' here