By Hailey O’Connor
Chinese Ink & Multi-Media Artist
Art’s influence on Linjie Deng began at a young age when his parents, who owned a fireworks store in China, would put him in an empty box as a method of keeping him safe. Linjie would involuntarily bother his parents during business hours — until they came up with an idea. They gave him a piece of paper and ink, telling him to “do whatever you want.” Linjie did not limit himself to this paper. “I would draw on the walls and on the bed. My mom got pissed off and sent me to calligraphy class” — a skill that Deng would later use to ease tension at home. This class inspired him to paint on a door broken during a family argument with the character of good luck and fortune: “Fu”. Through this, he realized the power of art. Soon after, he learned Chinese ink and paintings. At university in Beijing, he took on multimedia and design art, honing his craft within a more technological route. He states, “As I progressed, my medium changed. I began with paintbrushes, ink, and rice paper, then used computer software and incorporated western culture more later on.” He goes on to say, “I think art saved my life. If I didn’t have art, I wouldn’t know how to express myself during that troubling time in my home.”
UN Global Callout
Linjie, like most New Yorkers, didn’t think coronavirus would wound the city as deeply as it did. “I thought I’d stay at home and see what would happen, but every day it got worse,” With all of his calligraphy paraphernalia in his studio, Linjie instead went to his computer and created three works inspired by his time in isolation. “As an artist, I thought ‘why not create a strong image with a strong message for the public; art is about bringing change, for myself and others.’” The posters, designed for the UN Global Callout to Creatives, feature vibrant colors and texts, such as a woman at home with her pets with the words “Stay Home, Save Lives” above her, and a medical worker with arms around the city, urging New Yorkers to stay strong. He recently finished a canvas painting entitled “Password”, where he continues to spread the life-saving message. His new work “Teeth Falling Out” explores his relationship to basic elements that he had taken for granted before COVID: water, sun, leaves, soil, and air. The sales of his pandemic-influenced art will benefit New York Presbyterian Hospital’s frontline healthcare workers.
Museum Chinese in America
The critically acclaimed Chinese-American painter and master calligrapher’s work has been shown in both China and at the Museum of Chinese in America. Most recently, his work was presented right alongside classic masterpieces of Renoir, Monet, and Picasso at the Hampton’s Virtual Art Fair. His collection at the 3-D fair comprised of 25 works, including the aforementioned social justice-inspired pieces, calligraphy works, and abstract paintings.
To close out 2020, the young art maestro seeks to complete a series of ten works that encompass everything he’s learned during his ten years of life in Beijing and the United States. “I want to illustrate what I’ve seen, what I’ve learned, and what’s changed,” he says, “I want to show people my journey.”