James Jean in Hong Kong
Taiwanese-American visual artist James Jean will be in town next week for an installation at Blitz Lane Crawford which runs until end of November. In addition to OVM, Jean's line of jewellery and scarves, an exclusive line of chiffon scarves, iPhone veils, and PVC and canvas pouches will be on display, and Jean will be present to paint the installation space at the Canton Road store from 24 to 26 October.
"For me it is not really a crossover between my art and working in fashion. It is all just visual. When I am painting and designing the process is the same," says Jean from his home in Los Angeles.
The fashion world has been taken by Jean since he accidentally influenced the aesthetic of one of world's leading fashion houses, in 2007. Hired to paint murals on the walls of Prada's Epicenter stores in New York and Los Angeles, his ethereal images of nymphs and fairies caught the eye of Miuccia Prada and were featured in the Prada spring-summer 2008 line. "I am not sure they expected that project to take off the way it did," says Jean. "It evolved into something that bled into the actual aesthetic of the clothes."
Born in Taipei in 1979, and raised in New Jersey, Jean graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City before moving to LA. He spent his formative years as a comic book artist, but, in 2008, resolved to dedicate himself to fine art. "I have stringent standards about what I want people to be exposed to in terms of my work," he says. "I am only one person, so unless I can clone myself I want to keep this kind of product line small."
The Blitz exhibition shows a dark romanticism that explores a range of moods. There is a lyricism to Jean's designs that maintains femininity while exploring the surreal. He creates artefacts that are culled from the narrative landscape of his paintings. They are snapshots of his aesthetic that plays with the idea of transparency and layering.
Within the work for Blitz, Jean has created a character called Velum. "Velum lives in the glasshouse and really encapsulates this idea of transparency. I see a woman who enjoys a sense of escape. A woman who is elegant but is also not ignoring the imaginative side of her existence."