Zhi Li

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Zhi Li

United States

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Becoming a professional artist has been Zhi Li’s dream since childhood. She was fortunate to have grown up in an artistic envirenment: her father was an artist, and she was always interested in watching him paint. She has loved drawing and coloring for as long as she could remember.

After graduating from an art and design university in Shandong, China, Zhi worked as a designer at an advertising agency, where she received a number of national and international awards. She participated in the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 1997. Her passion for classical oil paintings was awakened when she traveled to several European countries and visited museums, especially the Louvre. Seeing the Old Masters’ Western aesthetic artwork inspired her as her heart called out to pursue her dream and destiny.

In 1998, Zhi moved to New York to pursue the dream deeply rooted in her soul. Starting in 2017, She studied oil painting at the Art Student’s League of New York and won the Phyllis H. Mason grant. She learned from “20th century Old Masters” David A. Leffel, Gregg Kreutz, and Max Ginsburg. She greatly admires the traditional classical realism painting style of the Old Masters, though is most inspired by Rembrandt, Sargent, and Caravaggio. She presents her close physical observations through the canvas by using chiaroscuro, a crucial technique in tenebrism. She made this technique her dominant stylistic element, often darkening shadows and transfixing subjects in bright shafts of light. Light and shadow are omnipresent throughout space and time. They are the backbone of all life and experiences. Using chiaroscuro, she not only breathes life into her artwork, but also captures the essence of both the present and the past. Her philosophy is to understand the process of painting similar to the way a theoretical physicist seeks to understand the universe - seeking to comprehend nature’s “intelligence”. She believes it is important to paint what she sees, knows, and experiences, building on the sense of deep personal connection to this rich, peaceful, energetic, and beautiful world.

After just a few years in the Art Students League of New York, she was already proceeding to pave her own path as an exceptional artist, beginning with exhibitions and winning awards in shows, becoming a member of the Salmagundi Club, the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, American Artists Professional League, Inc. and Oil Painters of America. She has been designated a Living Artist/Master by the Art Renewal Center.  Zhi was a semifinalist in the 15th International Art Renewal Center Salon Exhibition and was granted the Samuel T. Shaw Memorial Award of the Salmagundi Club 2021 Annual Members Exhibition, and award Ronnie Culter Memorial Award for Oil Landscape at Fall Auction Exhibition of the Salmagundi Club 2021. Her paintings have been collected worldwide, and with her art, she hopes to convey to the world the idea that “beauty is truth, truth is beauty".  In the future, she would like to be a successful artist that makes her mark on the world and inspires others. She works from a studio on Riverside Boulevard in New York, overlooking the scenic Hudson River and Riverside Park. 

* This statement has been provided directly by the artist in association to their 16th International ARC Salon entries. This content has not been edited for typos or grammatical errors and has not been vetted for accuracy.