What's your approach to painting? How do the reactions of western and Chinese audiences differ?

Beijing-born, Paris-based artist Jiang Dahai:

'I get the paper I use from Anhui province. You'll never find Chinese paintings on this kind of paper. I'm the only artist that uses this ancient paper. In modern art, the stress is on the material that's used, so I'm trying to bring the ancient traditions through to modern times, by using the old materials. In traditional calligraphy, the brush and ink, bi mu, is considered integral. But if you're talking about modernity I just don't think it's as important. By adopting a western approach in creating modern Chinese paintings, it's been a merging of east and west.

'I'm inspired a lot by Degas, mainly because I can see the abstraction in his work that others may not. Westerners are more accepting of my paintings than Chinese. I think it's because they've been exposed to more western art. It's a strange phenomenon, but the Chinese aren't as accepting - mainly because I don't think they understand modern Chinese paintings.'

What do you think of the high prices being paid at auction for works by artists such as Zao Wu-ki? Chinese art seems to be very popular right now.

'It's a bit strange - a bit hard to believe, really. They're talented men, but I have a lot of French friends who simply won't accept the new phenomenon of higher prices being charged for Chinese art. Artists should, in any case, always paint for themselves, and not with an audience in mind. This is where I think things have changed. Art is becoming too commercial.'

Images of Calligraphy - Recent Work by Jiang Dahai, Alisan Fine Arts. Ends June 10