Chinese-American artist Helice Wen joins 1xRUN’s International Women’s Day collection with an alluring, hand-painted portrayal of a woman’s mind. Honing a unique talent for illustrating children’s books, Wen has shifted her focus to gallery work to display her incredible portraiture and life drawings, which she paints in concert with floral backdrops. For Wen, “the most beautiful part about a woman is not only the appeal, also the lively and colorful mind inside, just like a garden.” Read our exclusive interview with the artist below.
1xRUN: Tell us a little bit about this piece, anything immediate you would like us to highlight about this image?
Helice Wen: The title of the piece is A Garden Within – the most beautiful part about a woman is not only the appeal, also the lively and colorful mind inside, just like a garden, with seasonal changes and life cycle. The blank dialogue bubble is an element that is a part of my paintings, oftentimes meaning an unspoken mind and changing thoughts.
1x: Can you tell us more about the series it’s a part of?
Wen: The series is about using different types of flowers in different stages of the life cycle to represent the state of mind and emotion of women. It’s not evergreen and full of ups and downs, but always being resilient and nurturing.
1x: Tell us about your execution of this image.
Wen: The original painting was done with acrylic and oil on linen. 15” x 15”. It took about 50 hours.
1x: What were your earliest interactions with art growing up?
Wen: Copying illustrations on children’s books.
1x: Who or what was a prominent figure that played a role in your formation as an artist?
Wen: There isn’t a single prominent figure.
1x: What are some of the biggest challenges to being a working artist?
Wen: Long and diffident working hours. Emotional stress of working alone.
1x: In what ways is the art industry becoming more or less accepting and equitable for women?
Wen: I think starting a career in San Francisco is definitely better accepting for women and immigrant artists like myself. I have been given many opportunities through my career from female curators.
1x: What are changes that you would like to see?
Wen: I would like to see less criticism and comparison about content of art only based on sex of the artist.
1x: What does a balanced art industry look like to you?
Wen: More open discussion of a variety of topics. More opportunities for female art curators and directors.
View this post on Instagram
I am excited to be participating in @1xRUN’s 2020 International Women’s Day Print Suite! All month long they will be releasing new editions from some of today’s best female artists! I am excited to unveil all this edition because each print in the edition will be uniquely hand-painted by me! You can sign up for early access at the link in my bio now and my latest edition will go on sale on March 10th at 12pm EST. Find out more at 1xRUN.com or at the link in my bio… #helicewen #1xrun #1xIWD2020
1x: What artists inspired you in the past? Who are some woman-identifying artists that inspire you today?
Wen: A lot of woman identifying artists – in all kinds of creative art inspire me. Beside the art achievements, the fact they believe in themselves and stay in the industry, against the stereotype of women’s role in society, makes me believe that I can do it too.
1x: What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?
Wen: Be passionate, be patient, be calm when you work and be loud when you want to tell your message.
Follow Helice Wen on Instagram at @helicewen.