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Painter Ming Ying tells us about her work and the prizes she’s achieved


Written by
Jane Cuppage
Published date
21 June 2018

Ming Ying is a Chinese final year BA Painting student who was shortlisted for the Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize this year. Previously she won the Khojaly Peace Prize for Art and has been shortlisted for the Lynn Painter-Stainer Prize and the William Morris Prize. Ming answered our questions about being at Wimbledon, but first she tells us about the Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize:

“I am very excited and feel so honoured to be a shortlisted artist. This is a great inspiration for me as a young artist who is determined to create artworks in the future, even though I have met some challenges and pressures when I decided to choose to be an artist as my vocation. The Ashurst Prize chose two works from my series created in my second year as part of the final shortlist. I think this is an important way to approve my past efforts. I always spend time focusing on creating art works and keep a record of any inspiration, like rich imagination or intense emotions appearing in my mind, therefore I cherish every chance to show my works. The prize provides a precious stage for emerging artists to show the works so that more people can see my works. I am very grateful to this and encouraged to developing my art career by approval of panel. This is a precious experience for me. I think it can really help talented and hard working people develop the works and get more chances to reach our artist dreams.”

Please tell us a bit about your background and how you came to study at Wimbledon?

When I was in Beijing I learnt that in today’s world Britain is one of the pioneers in art and design and that fact attracted me to move here. I had expectations of opportunities and to experience the art education and atmosphere here. Furthermore, London gathers rich art resource and provides many precious platforms for young artists. So I made my decision to come here so that I can get closer to my ideal.

Why did you choose to study at Wimbledon?

Firstly, Wimbledon is a famous and high quality college with a long history and secondly, BA Painting at Wimbledon is of a high standard in the British painting industry. For a student who loves painting, I think Wimbledon is a preferred place to start your career as a painter. Here there is an admiring atmosphere and experienced tutors promote students to concentrate on creating artworks. I believed I could gain a lot and be improved in the painting field and have the qualities of a real artist by studying here.

Painting, as people know, is quite traditional compared with many other forms of arts. For me, this is a pure field which deserves a total devotion by creators. However, I think that the painting language leaves the room for reform. It is my hope that I shall do something for it and develop unlimited possibilities within limited materials. This is a big challenge for me, but in another way, a fascinating attraction to me. In my understanding painting sometimes works to arouse our sleeping perception and makes our existence felt. I hope I can bring new feelings into painting, which will thus arouse people to have a deep thinking and make them influenced.

Please tell us about your current practice:

I have mainly focused on creating oil painting works over past three years. I have been exploring a personal painting language and devoted myself to bringing a new visual experience of painting to viewers. I have tried many different painting styles and intended to combine the eastern philosophical theories with western way of representation. Striking colours and exquisite composition, delicate sense of rhythm become the characteristics of my works. I have explored and developed my personal painting language which is dynamic flowing of feelings that come out in my paintings, I expect people will be more easily aroused to think.

My inspiration is from some philosophical idea that everything is in absolute motion and stillness is relative. Eastern Buddhism believes that all things in the world have a constant state of change and are interdependent, for this western philosophers have the same ideas. To express this  phenomenon and reflect the ever changing and dynamic nature of this world, I intend to adopt  more visually flowing lines and striking colours, which can better tell motions and changes of the world. Hopefully so that viewers are easily touched by and connected with this changing world. To better express the tortuous nature of the world, I have tried to use flowing brushes and striking colours in my paintings which have a stronger impact on viewers. I expect that the use of such flowing brushes and strong colours can be developed into a new painting language which will teach people to face this dynamic changing world, stimulate their imaginations and enrich their sense of the objective world.

Today’s society is undergoing more acute and diverse changes. For this reason, I have tried choosing a flowing, visual, but implicit approach to match the changing of the world so that people can feel the change and search for what is behind the flowing motion. This is something each person will try to understand based on their own life experiences and their emotions.

Please tell us about your final pieces for the summer show:

I have created several series of works of different topics but they are all based on my personal painting language which I developed. For example, integrating the Chinese zen meditation into the paintings, pursuing a subtle and gentle sense of rhythm and atmosphere. Putting the perspective on the vitality of the growth of natural stuff, or focusing on the space and sense of light perception produced by intense contrast. I explored different aspects to try every possibility. Finally, I selected some from these series and recombine them together to form a highly recognizable style to present my conception in the degree show.

As an artist, I think I have the responsibility to make influential work for the general public and society. In order to explore my personal painting language and bring a new feeling to the viewers, I have tried as such for some time. I am eager to express my thoughts and thinking of society, life and culture through artworks. I expect that more and more people will resonate with my works and will thus be aroused to have a deep thinking through the strong expression of my works.

How have your tutors or technicians added/assisted or influenced you in your final show?

I tried many different ways to express my ideas, I have been trapped in confusion about how to develop subsequent works at times. Many tutors and friends gave me good advice, particularly in my final year, tutor Geraint Evans. He gave me many useful suggestions and helped me make clear the direction of my development. He gave me serious comments on almost every piece of work leading me to think about what I really should insist on. He helped me see how I have improved my works and how I would develop them in a more mature, objective way. For my developing works, I am also very grateful to my first year’s tutor Alicia Paz, she encouraged me a lot and inspired me to start a new development direction, which promoted me to improve quite a lot and found a new attractive way in my second year. They all will exert deep impact on my art career.

Is there a favourite project or piece of work that you completed while at Wimbledon?

My favourite one is the series ‘Visualization of Reminiscence’. That series is a quite personal reflection and is melted by my memory and deep emotion of a tough period of mine. When I recall that period of hard time, I find that there is still something warm kept in my memory which I regard as a power that supports me. To better express such feeling, I try to get those in my memory condensed into different pictorial moments. Therefore, all these painting works act as a portrayal of my past life, not only mentally but also physically. I believe that, if a viewer has the similar feeling or experience as that of mine, they will surely get resonance out of these works, and if so, I will be much gratified. The fragments from that period have left indelible imprints in my mind, they encouraged me to move on and often remind me that I have made the prettiest decision in my hardest time.

Do you have an artist influence?

Maria Lassnig and Salvador Dali influenced me a lot at the very beginning when I explored my painting style. After that Georgia O’Keefee became a very important artist for me to change and search for a new style, which set me free. I was profoundly impressed by her way of painting description, the lines and waves in her works impel me to develop my idea and practice my theory of painting. Meanwhile, Alexander Calder’s conception of moving and dynamic feeling out of artworks which support me to combine my ideology and pure painting language together.

When I was a child I began to study piano, this hobby accompanies me all the time. I love multiple music genres, music gives me quite a lot inspiration and motivates my imagination. My artworks’ creation cannot be supported without music.


Please tell us about your work placement?

I have been on a work placement in my second year. I had a chance to be an artist assistant for artist Alicia Paz. I learnt a lot, not only how a professional artist works, but also how she developed her career. She gave me useful advice on how to treat the occupation and how to develop my own works. The experience has benefited me a lot.

Ming’s work is on display in Wimbledon’s Summer Show until Saturday 23 June and as part of the Ashurst Emerging Artist Shortlist until 30 June.

Or follow Ming’s career on her website.