William Liao was inspired artistically from an early age. Growing up in Beijing after the Cultural Revolution, he was surrounded by classical Chinese culture as well as new European art. These are the influences which continue to define and inspire his work today. With seven years of professional training, William graduated from Beijing Normal University, with a Bachelors of Arts degree, majoring in Fine Arts. Specializing in portraits and landscapes, William usually starts each piece with some kind of connection with his model or scene. He works out ideas and explores all the possibilities, then lets the painting itself take over. The end result is not about the aesthetic of the piece, but rather, it’s a reflection of the energy that he has received.
“I was born in Beijing, China after the Cultural Revolution and my initial artist pursuit was to become a fashion designer. I soon learned that I preferred painting, whether it be Chinese painting or oil painting, and received very systematic and rigorous artistic training in university.
“Later in life, visual art became my profession, instead of painting. I used computers to create static and dynamic images and did this kind of work in China for ten years followed by another ten years in Canada. During my time in this digital world, I found myself ignoring my ability to observe and paint in a traditional fashion. I wanted to go back to something more complex and deeper than the digital art I was currently creating.
“My paintings’ subjects are quite varied — portraits, cityscapes, landscapes, florals, and abstract compositions. I believe artists should express themselves in all genres. Every painting depends on my feelings at the time and my understanding of life. This feeling and understanding change over time, sometimes to the complete opposite. I love seeing this transition because it shows me that I am growing.
“Painting to me is a string of all my life. Music, calligraphy, literature, movies, and sports. And I am very lucky and blessed to be an artist who can express my feelings about life.”