In China, the art world has long been defined by the rules of etiquette, not the rules set by the state.
A master of Chinese art has been defined as someone who has been “chosen” to lead a profession, not necessarily to be an artist.
Art students are required to have a degree in a field outside of the arts, and many are trained by government-sanctioned masters who have no professional training whatsoever.
But this is changing.
Art graduates have begun to move beyond the strictures of the art profession to explore and create in ways that are new to the West, and are even attracting the attention of Western filmmakers.
They are increasingly breaking down the rules in China’s increasingly commercialized art world, and have been celebrated in the international art community as an example of the future of Chinese culture.
They are becoming the vanguard of a new wave of Chinese artists, some of whom have not been part of traditional art for so long.
Art students, for example, are making their mark in the global art community, which is growing more and more global as China’s population grows and its economic status improves.
Chinese students are now making the most of the opportunity to do what they love outside of China, with the added benefit of exposure to artists from around the world.
“I feel like I’m a part of the Chinese art world right now,” said one Shanghai-based art student, who did not want to be named.
“I feel that I am one of the first Chinese students to do something like this, and it’s awesome.”
The art scene in China has grown in response to the country’s economic growth and rapidly changing economic environment.
A few years ago, many artists would have had to live and work in China in order to be able to produce their work.
Today, there are thousands of Chinese students doing their own work in cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, and most of these students are graduates of prestigious art schools.
“Art is becoming more and better, and the students are showing up in the world,” said another Shanghai-born artist who asked not to be identified.
“It’s not that I don’t have experience.
I have had many opportunities to make a living in China.
But I feel like there’s more to be learned.”
Some of these artists, like the Shanghai-made artist who works in Shanghai’s Chinese Museum of Contemporary Art, have received grants from China’s government to pursue their art careers outside of Beijing.
And some are just beginning to discover the arts outside of Chinese borders.
While they are still very young, the artists who are taking on these roles are already making waves in China, even though they are in their 20s or 30s.
“I was working as a photographer in Beijing, and I got a call from a company wanting me to shoot some photographs for them,” said the Shanghai artist who did her work in Shenzhen.
“My job was to photograph people.
So, I went there and shot some portraits of young people.”
Art has become a way to connect with people outside of mainland China, and artists who work abroad are also finding that art can be an escape from the stresses of mainland life.
“When I first came to America, I had to work at a very fast pace and I didn’t have the freedom I do now,” the Shanghai photographer said.
“But I love what I do.
I think it’s amazing.
I love that people come here to see and experience something they can’t do in China.”
And while art can often be viewed as a means of escape from Chinese life, some artists are finding that it is actually a way of communicating with others outside the country.
“Chinese artists are always trying to reach out to the rest of the world, so it’s really important for me to work with them and to work outside of my country,” said Shanghai-trained artist, who asked that her name not be used.
“They’re trying to find their way back home.”
In Shanghai, artists are also seeing an increasing number of Chinese visitors who are not Chinese.
“The Chinese government really cares about people coming to China,” said Beijing-based artist, whose work includes work that was inspired by a recent exhibition in New York City.
“There’s a lot of Chinese people who are visiting Shanghai, and they are really happy to see what they see.
It’s great to see.”