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Jacky Tsai’s New Multimedia Works Mix Eastern and Western Influences

Jacky Tsai has become increasingly known for his multimedia works, especially his iconic "skullptures" made famous by Alexander McQueen. Not only a prolific sculptor, the Chinese-born, London based artist is currently working on a new series of works which includes hand-painted porcelains, lacquer carvings, and intricately embroidered pieces. They are to be exhibited later this year at The Fine Art Society in London. Tsai, being incredibly hard-working, does not comepensate the content of his pieces for the amount of detail that goes into them.

Jacky Tsai has become increasingly known for his multimedia works, especially his iconic “skullptures” made famous by Alexander McQueen. Not only a prolific sculptor, the Chinese-born, London based artist is currently working on a new series of works which includes hand-painted porcelains, lacquer carvings, and intricately embroidered pieces. They are to be exhibited later this year at The Fine Art Society in London. Tsai, being incredibly hard-working, does not comepensate the content of his pieces for the amount of detail that goes into them. Some of his lacquer carvings, for example “Culture Clash!,” are up to 6 feet across. This work in particular is representative of Tsai’s ongoing theme; a clash between East and West, where DC Comics superheroes interrupt the harmony of nature in a Chinese landscape. Inspired by the two culture’s interactions, Tsai somehow achieves to balance their opposing visual ideals.


“Culture Clash!” by Jacky Tsai, Lacquer carving, 2015

The peaceful imagery of Chinese painting also clashes against wartime motifs in his white and blue porcelain pieces. This type of juxtaposition occurs throughout Tsai’s choice of materials as well, as in his Suxiu embroidery, the oldest extant of needlework in China. Crafted by elaborate methods using up to 1,000 different types of threads, they provide the canvas for some of Tsai’s most signature images, like his floral skulls. As symbols of death and decay, their placement on a material traditionally used for illustrating scenes of life adds to their irony. All of these make up what Tsai refers to as his “visual collage,”  mixing Eastern and Western elements in his art just as they mix in everyday life. It’s a mix that continues to intrigue and influence him. Take a look at more of his recent artworks below.

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Chinese-born, London-based artist Jacky Tsai brings his fashion-world experience to his interdisciplinary art projects, which often fuse illustration, printmaking, sewing and sculpture. Tsai says that he is fueled by his contrasting experiences living in both Eastern and Western cultures. With his skull sculptures (or "Skullptures" as Tsai refers to them) and illustrations, the artist combines the morbid with the ornate. These symbols of death and decay become the sites of regeneration as flowers blossom on the skulls like moss — a juxtaposition Tsai uses as an antidote to his native culture's superstitions about death.
St. Louis based artist Cayce Zavaglia (covered here) hand-embroiders portraits of family and friends using wool thread. Her technique is surprisingly painterly and realistic, mimicking the effect of oil painting, her first discipline. Zavaglia recently debuted a new series of both hand-embroidered portraits and paintings based on the reverse images of her embroideries. Titled "About-Face", her new work is now on view at Lyons Wier Gallery in Chelsea, New York.

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