The Dan Schneider Interview 19: Zhiwei Tu (first posted 10/6/09)


An Introduction   The Interview


An Introduction


  This is only the second time I’ve felt a need to write a brief Introduction to the subject of an interview. Unlike the first time, with poet James Emanuel, a little over two years ago, I have had no personal contact with the subject. Yet, I felt a desire to do the interview for the power of his art. I was not alone in this, as my wife and I both saw two paintings of Zhiwei Tu’s virtually simultaneously. We both moved closer to the two paintings (described in the opening of the interview) and had one of those almost ineffable moments. We looked at each other and no words were really needed, but there was a joy in acknowledging what was immediately apparent: while there were some other good, solid- even fine- paintings in the gallery we were in, the two paintings we saw were great. And not just great, but inarguably and immediately apparently great. Yes, one could go on for a few paragraphs why, but this is not a review of Tu’s paintings, rather an interview with the man.

  As in the case with Emanuel, despite Tu’s manifest excellence in his domain, the man is not a ‘name’ on the tongues of more people. While this interview cannot alone remedy that situation, I hope that it will serve as a good beginning for those wanting to explore the work of this artist with a wide purview admixed with an ability to mix classical sensibilities with modern subjects and modern sensibilities with classical subjects. But, if that sounds like the Academic fellatio many critics spill about whatever crony they are shilling, let me be more direct: I have never steered my readership wrong in recommending artists of quality and the quality works of art they produce, so trust me when I say my winning streak is in no jeopardy by recommending Zhiwei Tu’s visual art.

  A quick asides, however, on the text. His devotion to his art has, according to people in his circle, led Tu to be driven to it like most people of great purpose are. Consequently, Tu’s English language abilities are not as fluent as those of my past interviewees. Having said that, Tu comes across as earnest and engaging, and I really only had a handful or two of phrases that I had to clarify the meaning of by adding an article, preposition, or shuffling about a word or three. Had I tried to totally Anglicize Tu’s written answers I believe I would have done more harm than good, and possibly given an impression of the man that is false (be that impression positive or negative), even if done so with the best of intentions.

  Anyway, enough of this. I give you an interview with the painter Zhiwei Tu:


The Interview


DS: This month, we are speaking with painter Zhiwei Tu. I first became aware of Tu’s existence when my wife, Jessica, and I stumbled upon his work in a local Texas gallery in Marble Falls. Called Riverbend Fine Art it featured two of Tu’s great portraits, Frontier Girl and Farmer. Even in the larger formats of these online images one cannot do justice to how the faces of these two individuals erupt from the background. There is a deliberate haziness to the background, and then we get two faces- a young girl possibly in her mother’s clothes, and a weatherbeaten man. There is a power in not only the images but in their construction, for they show how one can take a seemingly Abstract background and plunge realism into it to strike a fierce note. And while there were some other painters whose work was solid, it was Tu’s work which grabbed both of us immediately as that of a great artist. Having said that, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed and please give us a synopsis of who you are, what you’ve done in your life, what your goals were (and if you feel you’ve achieved them), and also your place in the modern art world. Also, to the lay reader, an artist who is great summons up images of a young Mozart, or some prodigy, for whom all the world is a plaything. Were you extremely gifted as a young child?


ZT: Dear Dan and your wife, Jessica.

  Thanks for you and your wife Jessica like my art and give me chance for this interview. I will do my best to answer your questions.

  For this question:

  I would not care about how people call me, extremely gifted or not, even I was very young. There is one thing I would be very happy is that when I have done a very good painting, or got good progress of learning art.

  If people call me extremely gifted young child it may be from those paintings:

  1, the first Mao Portrait I did after I saw the one’s processing of doing Mao’s portrait in oil in1967. I was 16 years old.

  I used cans of wall color for doing the painting because there was not oil and I did not see oil color before. The painting was destroyed by rain because it was hanging on an outside wall of my school building.

  2, the first gouache painting, Mao’s portraits, I did in1967.

  I did the painting that I used gouache because there was not oil color in store, no art store in the town where my school at. Gouache seems more like oil, it can be painted thick, better than watercolor I thought.

  At the time I did not know how to learn art, learn skills and I only could see people paint is Mao. I like oil so I did gouache. Many people surprised too after they saw this painting.

  3, the painting I did in 1970 when the president of Wengyuan Culture Center visited my village and saw my painting on street wall then came to my high school to meet me. Later, same year, he invited me to be an artist in his center.

  This painting was missing.

  4, the first oil painting was selected to the big Art Exhibition of Guangdoing Province in China in 1972, at the time I was not training. An art professor from Guangzhou academy of Fine Art came to my hometown, Shaoguanm, and saw my painting then invited me to attend the academy for study.

  This painting may be someone has.

  5, this one is my very first still life painting I did in 1978.

  In the 10 years of the Culture Revolution (1966-1976) artists scared to do flower painting because government just allowed you to do painting from the subjects of workers, farmers and soldiers or Mao’s Portrait, so we learned art skills just from figures of that kind of people. I think you know little about that. So I did not do flower until in graduate program in 1978.

  6, the first nude painting I did, in 1979, after Culture Revolution and it was collected by the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art.

  In the10 years of the Culture Revolution no one could do nude painting, or learn from nudes, so we did not learn human bodies undressing. We just learned from face, hand and foot.

  This model was the first woman, young girl, posing nude after the Culture Revolution. We were the lucky ones of 4 graduate students in the China to have the first chance to do the first nude model because the Guangzhu city was the first city opened to the world. This is the reason that we had the chance because we were in Guangzhou and in graduate program, no for others.

  7, the first award of excellence from the 6th National Exhibition of National Art in Beijing in 1985 by this painting, Seven – Step Poem, I did in1983 and also it was selected to the first Exhibition of Chinese Oil Painting in 1987 in New York in the United States.


DS: In researching your life, I see you were born in 1951, in a small farming village. Were there any modern amenities that you had growing up- i.e.- telephone, tv, movie theaters, or could life then have passed for life back in 1751?


ZT: There was not any electric power, no electric light, telephone, radio, movie in my poor village. Until 1960s, there were electric power light in school but weak light, at home we used small kerosene lamp. I do not know when I had the first shoes- 10 years old? I did not have bed at home until 27 years old.


DS: Were you raised in a commune, since the Revolution had taken place just a few years before your birth? Were you raised to worship Mao Zedong?


ZT: Everybody my age was raised in a commune in all of the country.

  When the Culture Revolution began 1966 I was 15 years old, in middle school, finishing second year. People had to read Mao’s notes before every meal, at least 3 times a day. This situation lasted 2 or 3 years.

  Later on, there was no class in school so I had time to do painting for learning skills for my art.


DS: When did your visual talent emerge- in school or earlier? Were you then, and are you now, more drawn to the physical aspects of replicating realities or using deeper ideas to foster your self-expression?


ZT: I did not know what was art or visual art. I found that I just loved to paint after the first Mao portrait. Painting made me very, very happy after I did the first one of Mao.

I wanted to do painting so much so I could not sleep all night. Every night I just waited till the sun rose because someone said doing painting at night was bad because the light of electric power was yellow and it would do me wrong judgment for color. So I did not do at night and just being very exciting to wait next daylight.

  I did not know what my goal of art was. And I did not know what subject was good for me. The chance for me to do painting or learning was biggest thing for me. I did not care what was subject, Mao or other things. But figure was my favor.

  Later, I found Chinese history thing might be my future subject of goal after I visited the place, the biggest music instrument in the World, the Bells were discovered in central China in 1978.

  The New York Time and Discovery magazine said that the Bells was the biggest music instrument and richest sound in the World until today. Also the Bells is art.

  I started to do this subject in 1978 and I finished this painting this painting in1996.


DS: Were you aware of your own creativity as a child, or was that something you came to learn as your interests developed more?


ZT: I think that was something you came to learn as your interests developed more.

  Later, I focused on the quality of my art. I want to do the best I could to reach the top quality in the World. This has been that I wished to work harder and harder to create paintings. Some of my big paintings were lasting more than 10 years to finish. I really want to create paintings which can touch peoples’ hearts.


DS: What are your views on painting in the current day? Do you think painting has been neglected- especially more realistic portraiture and historical paintings, in the wake of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art?


ZT: Yes, I think more people pay attention on modern art because commercial, mostly, or some politics.

  There are many, many people love painting, representational art. There is the fact that you can see in museums alot more people seeing representational art.

  Today, in US, there still many artists do the representational arts. There are some great ones, like Andrew Wyeth; his painting touch people’s heart deeply; Howard Terpning’s Indian paintings are strong, deeply to touch people; Richard Schmidt’s skill is wonderful; and David Leffel and more. I learned a lot from them. Their art will be forever.

  Abstract and Pop art is one kind of many arts. Like music is one kind of arts. The World needs many different arts, America needs too. Even today’s music, if one is composed better music than Mozart, people still would love.

  I love some of abstract art too and some modern arts. China has thousand years long history of abstract art, like art of stone and calligraphy….

  Some like to create new forms of art. New is good but not every new form is good quality.

  I do not think every people just see new forms, no others.


DS: In your youth, did you have adults or teachers who recognized that you were brighter than most other kids (as great artists are) and encourage you? Or did they not notice anything at all?


ZT: Before college adults around me did not know what was real good art. And I did not think much about future.

  Since college teachers encourage me to become the great artist, like Rembrandt, Coya, Velazquuez, Repin, Sargent and Fechin and more.

  In 1972 our class with 15 students, we had a set of the black and white negatives of Fechin’s paintings and processed 15 sets for every one keeping secret because in the Culture Revolution government did not allow people to learn from the materials of outside country.


DS: On your own website there is an anecdote about your discovery of the depth of your talents:It was not until the equivalent of high school age that Zhiwei first saw oil paints being used to create brightly colored images. The way this discovery came about is truly a remarkable story.

  The government in Beijing had dispatched an experienced artist to the village to create a huge picture of Chairman Mao Tse-tung.  Young Zhiwei happened by one afternoon and saw the painter at work.  Fascinated, he watched for hours on end and finally asked the man if he could have samples of his paints. Zhiwei took them to the equivalent of the village pharmacy. There, he acquired cans of paint which he mixed at home into more than a dozen different shades.

  The next day, instead of going to school Zhiwei returned to the site where the artist was still at work on the portrait.  The boy boldly set up a work space next to the artist and began painting his own portrait of Mao. When both the artist and the boy were done, the village elders were shocked to discover that Zhiwei's portrait of Mao was far superior.  They even selected it for public display instead of the artist's own painting.’

  While one can assume this was a happy moment for you, how did the older artist act? Was he envious? Oftentimes, in the arts, lesser artists nurse rages and hatreds when they meet clearly superior ones. Have you ever encountered this, even in later life? And how have you handled these encounters? And what do you think drives someone who feels that way?


ZT: At the time it was in Culture Revolution’s year 1967, no one cared about this. But big scare was politics of the movement of the Culture Revolution. If you did not do wrong on politics you were fine. I think he was happy to see me good and also he gave me many critiques on my painting.


DS: What painters first captured your imagination? Has painting helped you understand more of the cosmos?


ZT: Many art teachers in Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art, they got me in to knowing the greatest painters in the World. Mostly, Rembrandt, his light in his painting make me to love light and color and to do hard work to create top quality art. And from his life I learned that I did not fear of living in poor condition if I could have the chance for doing art.


DS: You are self-taught as a painter. What advantages do you think you have gained from this? What are the disadvantages? How do you think your art may have been different had you gone through a formal ‘career track’ in the arts?


ZT: At the beginning I was self-taught painter but since I studied in Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art 1972 I had many good art professors and have been learning very hard. Learning hard and love doing painting are my big advantages. I was surprised I could be an artist and many people said that I have done some good paintings. I am happy what I am.


DS: You were, however, offered scholarships, and went to college. Putting aside

your artistic side, what was life like as a college boy in Mao’s China? Were there any similarities to life on American campuses in the last few decades?


ZT: In college time in Mao’s China, we had very simple life, just focused on study, learning the basic skills for doing better painting. We did not need to worry something else, like earning money. Chinese government paid for us but poor condition. There was no money and no chance that people could make more. We did not have phone, radio, nor games. In class we learned and after class went to paint out. Mostly hundred percent of our time was learning art. But while we did creative artwork we had to do the politics thing that put us hard.

  This was my early life.

  At college, in America, students need to find a way to make money for tuition fees and living, selling art, or do other job. And there are too many things for play. It is more difficult to concentrate for learning. That is that I think from my situation or I saw.

  In China, politics push too hard on art. In America, money is the thing pushed too hard for young students, and too much commercial things and games.


DS: How do you think painting has affected your ability to communicate with others in everyday life? Or, are you simply more visually oriented?


ZT: I think seeing painting can relate and know each other too.

  Comparing other artists from the West my oil painting is more oriental visual that people told me, even thought I totally learned from western.


DS: Often, one reads of great artists who are parts of cliques of other quality artists? Were you ever in such a group, or are you a loner? How do you think that set of circumstances affected your development as an artist?


ZT: I am a loner. I want to have my style and develop stronger then people can see this is Zhiwei Tu’s art.

  But my art is representational art.


DS: Being born and raised in rural China, how do you think that has affected your outlook on life and art? Oftentimes, artists who grow up in a particular place develop tendencies and outlooks influenced by their surroundings- be it the Outback of Australia, the urbanity of New York, London, or some other metropolis, or life in the mountains, or near the sea. The most famous example might be Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman’s notoriously dour take on life, influenced by the climate and seasonal extremes of Scandinavia.


ZT: I was not planning to be an artist. I just suddenly came out to love art. I did not have plan or a little idea of thinking study in art school. There was not any signal to let me think that way of being artist.

  After college I know art history in the World.

  There is not the fact that people live by Metropolitan Art Museum in New York so they would become good artist. Many great artists came from countryside or far from big cities. A great artist may come from everywhere.


DS: Let me quote another anecdote from your website: The Cultural Revolution, which began in 1966 and lasted about ten years, did not enhance Chinese culture, as its name would imply.  Instead the opposite occurred.  China's intellectuals were publicly harassed, forced to work in the fields, to clean toilets, and to stand endlessly in shame at public bus stops or march through the streets wearing "dunce" caps with placards hung around their necks proclaiming their "sins."  Many were severely beaten.  Everyone was required to study Mao's teachings and read only approved books about him.  Students denounced their teachers, children denounced their families, neighbors denounced each other.

  The only art that was tolerated involved subject matter that glorified the revolution.  It was considered counter-revolutionary to address personal or inspirational themes in one's work.  Any artist who wanted to express his individual talent through painting, sculpting, or other art forms did so only at great risk to himself.

  Once, while Tu was creating a painting to his own liking, someone suddenly pushed open the door to his room and saw it.  A report was made at once.  As his punishment, Tu was forced by Red Guards to tend cattle on a distant farm.

  Because all graduate schools were closed as the Cultural Revolution reached its zenith, Tu’s studies were interrupted.  With time hanging heavily on his hands, he became a vagabond.  For months he wandered through many distant parts of China and along the way learned a great deal about Chinese culture, history, and the contemporary customs of the many localities and ethnic groups throughout China.  These experiences inspired him to create hundreds of paintings and sketches of the people of Tibet and other remote and nearly inaccessible areas.  It was during these travels, too, that he was inspired to undertake the painting of a heroic-sized work depicting the monarchy of the ancient courts of China.

  There are many artists, in many disciplines, who would have become so depressed that they would have thought or acted upon a desire to suicide. Did those thoughts ever cross your mind? If so, how did you combat them?


ZT: This was not so bad to me. I would not think the way. But many people desired to suicide in the Culture Revolution.


DS: In the DVD of his latest film, Three Monkeys, Turkish film director Nuri Bilge Ceylan is interviewed and says something really remarkable. He claims that too many filmmakers (and artists) in countries with oppressive governments use censorship as an excuse to not be creative, thus essentially giving inand writing only moralistic political art rather than using the limits as a way to be more creative. Thus why so much writing in Latin America, as example, is so bad and laden with political screeding. Yet, in looking through your online catalog of paintings, it is clear that your work, while not centrally political, has political elements, but always places them second to the art. Are most Chinese artists, today, incapable of this, either constitutionally or out of fear? And, has the Chinese government opened up a bit, in a sense learning that great art produced by its people can only aid the society?


ZT: My paintings are ok.

  Now Chinese government more open to artist for themes, you do what you like.

But do not do the painting to against today’s government and there is not law you can not do it but you can not, like here you do not want to do something to against your working boss in public.

  Now China is alot more different than before 30 years ago. It looks more open than America today in art from some points.

  Can you believe that one artist using gun shooting at art in exhibition or eating death baby in modern art show couple years ago?


DS: Why do you think so many artists believe that politics take precedence over artistic quality?


ZT: Some artists do but most of artists do not. Normal people do.

  Many masterworks on politics themes by great masters are a good spotlight on showing in museums in the World. Some artists like politics subject, it is come from their heart, so they did master works. But forcing every one to do politics is wrong.


DS: You place great emphasis on technical craft in your work, and this is something that is lacking in much Modern Art across the world. Are you a perfectionist? What pros and cons does this have on your work?


ZT: Modern Art is one kind of arts in art history. Abstract is one kind of thousands of arts in art history.

  Modern art did not allow to do or display in public but now is ok in China. Some modern art gave good technical skills too, some make me very exciting.

  I am not a perfectionist. I just want to do my best I can, do what I like, do I think I would do better.


DS: Auguste Rodin once mentioned that his sculptures were always there, and he just removed whatever material needed to reveal them. Do you slowly accrete ideas, images onto the canvas? Or does a painting almost come to you fully made, meaning you then just have to do it, the hard work is done?


ZT: I had main idea in my mind and put on canvas. While processing I change a lot to get better until I think that is ok. Some never get to be finished. Later on take back to look and change something I don’t like, I always do this way.

  “A painting almost come to you fully made, meaning you then just have to do it, the hard work is done”, this is me.


DS: Now some quick comments on some of your work, by me, and then, if you will, any anecdotes or comments from you on the work. This painting depicts a giant raft on the Yellow River. Its story can be discerned from the moment, there is great detail, like a Frederic Edwin Church painting, yet it also uses many Modern techniques. Comments?


ZT: This painting is the collection of China Museum of Art in Beijing.

  This is not real story from history but it happened all the time. People were sending the wood to build those emperor’s buildings and make huge ships.

  I had experience once my old brother took me to help him. We did a small raft. When it dropped to lower level from high water it was big scare. Water covered wood and people. We were total under water.

  Yes, I used modern technique, the hands for the composition.

  Please see this helm of Ming Dynasty.


DS: This painting is less kinetic, but one also senses the weariness in the backs of the men. Are you drawn more to more kinetic works, or just whatever is on your mind at the time of conception?


ZT: People pulling ship to move up by Yellow River or Yangtze River were undressing men. Most reason is poor, no money buy cloth or for saving cloth.

  When I was on the raft with other I was total naked. We were in mountains so no one else watching and we saved dry clothes for going to village when we had to meet some one.

  People on the raft moving the helm were singing a song. They sung to put power together on hands to move the helm and make raft turn.

  As people were seeing the painting they acted like those people in the painting singing song and moving. Many said this painting real touch people’s heart.


DS: This painting also has the feel of the Hudson School American painters of the 19th Century, but you always tend to focus more on the human element, rather than the grandiose. What draws you more into the human tale? This painting, and others, contains an erotic element, as well. To what degree does eros figure into your art? Or is merely a byproduct of the particular work?


ZT: I think you are right. On this painting, Dancers, Bells, Ancient Music, The Bells, huge music instrument, was not seen until in 1978 in Chinese history. People did not know how great Chinese music was in history. There was a story in 500 B.C. that said that 3 hundred musicians playing Yu (a type of wind instrument) in one orchestra Mr. Nan Guo was unable to lay music, but he passed himself off as one of the Yu players in an ensemble.  Later when Mr. Nan Gou heard that the new emperor would ask players to play solos, he ran away immediately.  This has given rise to the Chinese idiom “Lan Yu Chong Shu” (pass oneself off as one of the players in an ensemble). I used this story and the huge bells to create a painting to show people how great music and dance were in 500 B.C.

In Chinese history a girl once showing naked body she would not get married in her life. But in ancient history on a lot of paintings there were girls without top dressing danced. Chinese people do not understand how and why so I create them to let people get more to think. 


DS: This painting of yours was stolen. What do you feel about that? After all, there will likely be many works of yours that you will never actually see again, so is there some sense that you have been violated? Or do you just sympathize with the owners’ loss?


ZT: The painting stolen was paid to me by the gallery in L.A.

  I think some one still keeps it but I do not know what I can do. This is the only painting I lost in America.

  I have another one, nude painting, which collected by the Museum of Guangzhou academy of Fine Art of China. That painting with the collection of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art exhibited in Boston in about 1985. After the show my painting has been missing.


DS: In a related vein, what do you think of the people who buy your work, but value it only as a monetary investment, not aesthetically for its art? Do you feel that these are not the sorts of folk you want owning your work, or do you believe that if they are willing to pay the most for your work they are entitled to their own reasons?


ZT: When I was live in poor condition I thought people buying my painting and would keep better than me.

  I think that most of people buy my art because they love them, not just investment. I like to keep some good ones in my hand so that sometimes I can see them, but also I want to sell good ones to buyer and let them keep in good condition because they are good art.


DS: This painting is classical, yet even though it’s not a full body scene, there is a greater kinetic energy than in paintings I’ve seen of dancers, even those of acknowledged masters like Degas. One can feel the fingers opening (or closing). Comments?


ZT: Many people seeing my painting they follow the dancers in painting to dance and sing a song. Even the big one, Hands, Raft and Yellow River, people saw it and sung. Many said my art moved viewers.

  My lights in painting make people to think there is light come from the back of the painting then they took painting over to see if a light in the back.


DS: This painting of a somewhat effeminate American Indian boy, reminds me of this anecdote from your website:Once, on a trip to see Mount Rushmore, Mr. Tu visited a Sioux Indian reservation in South Dakota.  He was surprised to find scenes of Native Americans strikingly similar to those of some parts of rural China.

  "I know, of course, that Native Americans originally came from Asia, but I was surprised at their resemblance to the Chinese peasants," Tu says. "The artist's fascination with the Native American emerged while he lived in China, through his exposure to the works of Howard Terpning, Andrew Wyeth and magazines about the West. Tu said he was struck by the physical resemblance between Tibetans, many of whose portraits he had painted, and Native Americans. Even though the artist was aware that Native Americans originally came from Asia, the similarities still surprised and inspired him."

  What is it that impels you to move beyond just your own narrow life experiences while other artists- even those greats, often have such difficulty in doing so? Is this just your nature, or was it a part of your upbringing, or a philosophy you’ve adopted?


ZT: I think my experiences as I saw. I like to draw Tibetans because they are very strong shapes, solid forms and different living lives. Indians have same. Their lives are somewhat the same.


DS: Do you believe in The Muse? Divine Inspiration? I find that many artists use the idea of a Muse or Divine Inspiration as a crutch for times when their productivity is fallow. I call this the Divine Inspiration Fallacy. Any opinions?


ZT: The art is not good and the artist is not good. I do not care about where artist come from. Even the artist does not have big name. Art is good and the artist is good.


DS: While I make no claims to being up on every artist in every field that comes along, for someone of your artistry it seems mind-boggling that you are not nearly as well known in the USA as you should be. 50 years ago you would have been a household name. What is it about America that seems to be so indifferent to the higher arts?


ZT: That is OK for me.

  I think big thing for me is that my paintings can make money for my family’s living. I focus more on doing good quality art. I am very happy right now for my artist’s life. My life is simple and I like simple. Simple is good for me. I like living here in the US because simple life let me have more time for doing more art.

  I do not like gallery calls me very day to ask me hurry do more paintings for gallery, sorry.


DS: Are there any other arts that have influenced your paintings? Like foreign films or writing?


ZT: I am sorry no from films or writing. But for my art I have been influenced by many of the greatest masters in the World.


DS: On an Omniversica show interview with poet Fred Glaysher, he stated he believed that in order for change to occur in the arts a new master has to step forth and ‘bury’ the dinosaurs and phonies. He also stated that that’s the only way it’s ever been done. This sounds very much like Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. I.e.- that new great artists are sneered at, then accepted, then canonized, just as scientific ideas are. Would you agree with this?


ZT: There are many ways people can go to be a new master, not only one way. Becoming a new master does not have to “bury” the old masters. Many new ones learned a lot from old ones or “stealing” some from old ones. Picasso “borrowed” many from old ones and ancient art.


DS: Let me end this interview by asking of your own family. You live in the Chicago metropolitan area. Are any other members of your family (wife and children) interested in the arts? If so, how has their art or opinions affected your work?


ZT: My wife, Danni Hu, is music teacher, teaching violin and piano. One of the reasons that I do some music and dance painting is because of her music. Every day, kids play music by my studio and some kids learn dance from the ballet schools around my area. The models I got for those paintings were from those.

  Danni’s father, Hu Yichuan is famous in the world. His art is in the American college textbook, Living With Art, by Mark Getlein: page193 is To the Front! 1932, a woodcut.   Once he said to me: “Do not hurry to get famous, Most important thing is do best art.”

  My son, Dan Lang Tu, works for Intel and studies at San Francisco Academy of Fine Art only part time.

  They like my art and give me some helps and ideas.


DS: Are there any other things in the arts or your life that you seek to accomplish? Do you feel that there is some sort of duty for artists to try and promote the works of other great artists? If not, does a great artist, or work of art, simply have to fend for themselves?


ZT: I always hurry for doing painting. I need more time to do better painting. Many art schools and colleges asked me to teach art but no time.


DS: Let me allow you a closing statement, on whatever you like. I think that this interview will have a historical value that will only increase with time. Thank you for yours.


ZT: Thank you so much for your giving me the chance to talk about.


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