I have explored painting throughout my adult life in different ways -- first collage and acrylic painting, and then hand-painted paper collages that were graphical and geometric. While working as a graphic and web designer, I taught myself screen-printing, which led to my line of hand-printed apparel.
I began this recent body of abstract painting while screen-printing some other work. I wiped excess ink from my spatulas onto paper, and then added other colors. I don't use brushes, but implements like spatulas, sponges, and squeegees borrowed from my screen-printing and anything I can scrape with, like old credit cards. My technique ranges from light sweeping movements to more effortful, forceful motions. Sometimes I'll use a spray bottle or just blow on the paints to move them around and blend colors. I began by using sheets of printmaking paper, and am now painting on ultra smooth canvas.
I use fluorescent colors and saturated hues taken from my screen-printed work. I combine bold aggressive strokes along with transparent layers that sometimes have an experimental cinematic quality. I think about some of the hand-painted films of Stan Brakage. I seek to capture certain moods and atmospheres in these expressive, process-oriented pieces. My paintings allude to a dreaminess of past places, suggesting the passage of time. There is simultaneously a frenetic feeling and a calmness to my work. This paradox may capture our state of mind as we face our inherent transience and impermanent nature while being consumed with ourselves, our lives and personas. There is at once a sense of joy and fear, wonder and dread.
An Li Liu was born in Guelph, Ontario Canada and lived in Toronto for over a decade before moving to the US. She resided in Boston, MA for six years, and then moved to Berkeley in 2014. She attended the University of Toronto majoring in Cinema Studies and Religion. An Li then studied New Media Design and worked in the industry for a several years as a web and graphic designer. She is a traveller at heart having traversed much of South and South East Asia where colors and energies are very potent. An Li delved into yoga practices with a special interest in Buddhist philosophy and then became a yoga instructor herself several years ago. While An Li took formal art classes in University, she is mainly a self-taught artist with many influences — everything from sublime landscapes and atmospheres to streetscapes and modern living.