Today we’d like to introduce you to Lin Ji.
Lin, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m also known as Webson Ji in the United States. I got my bachelor degree at China Academy of Art majoring in Public Art in 2017. I finished my graduate study at Savannah College of Art and Design and got an MA degree in Sculpture in 2019. In July 2018, I was honored as the Best Young Artist of the Year of 2018 GAMMA Young Artist Competition in Tokyo, Japan, out of 226 participants from over 26 different countries and I was the only one who lives and works in the United States among the top five. In February 2019, I was selected as one of the significant Asian artists for a group show called “Here There” in the World Trade Center, New York by the Asian Cultural Center.
What kind of art do you make? Do you have any preference for the medium?
I use daily products and common materials that people can recognize immediately. Generally speaking, my works are more based on conceptual and spiritual levels instead of figurative shapes or forms so as to switch my audience’s recognition from the outside shapes to the inside content.
Where does your inspiration come from? Is there anyone who inspires you through your career?
I think there are two different triggers that drive me. One is my personal experience of being a competitive swimmer when I was a kid, and the other is my eastern perspective of the world. I had been trained as a professional swimmer when I was a little boy for seven years. During that period, the relationship between water and me was exclusively tight. I learned a lot from it, not only the physicality of water but also the characteristics of it. So nowadays, my works are mostly based on water. For the other part, I think my changing perspectives of the world benefit me with a variety of topics and expressions. When I was creating my projects back in China, I simply played the role of a young artist, a student, or a son in the family just like everybody else. However, when I moved to the United States, I began to realize the difference between my eastern background and western society. I was constantly made aware of being an Asian, being Chinese, and later, I got obsessed with digging into who I am as a human being in the world. I began to look back at the culture I came from.
Bruce Lee is my mentor during my art creating process. I would say we share something in common, not only the heritage of being Asian and Chinese but more of what we appreciate. Bruce is well known for his quotes and a lot of people follow these words of wisdom, like “Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.” His efforts to broadcast the Eastern philosophy with the martial arts did contribute a lot. I believe I am also sharing my values and ideas with my audience with an eastern-based expression, visually or conceptually. I used to talk about the potential of individuals, using the contrast between small containers and the massive materials that they pour out. Now, I am trying to become someone who helps to contribute to the human culture and philosophy neutrally and objectively, like water.
What are you working on right now?
I am working on my solo exhibition at Besharat Museum Gallery called Black Water. It is more like a self-portrait of all the emotions that I am going through. No color palette, no severe brush marks, no specific textures or patterns, nothing. Left alone in a foreign country, knowing there is no one from my past that I can turn to, standing in the middle of the unknown.
I feel like it is okay to stay in solitude. It is okay to live with loneliness. It is okay to bear with vulnerability. The black water will take away everything and just keep going. It is all about that moment, the unknown. All the differences between age, gender, class, race will be washed away, and all that left is the soul itself.
Can you tell us more about the Solo exhibition Black Water?
Atlanta, GA – Besharat Contemporary presents Black Water a multimedia solo exhibition by Webson (Lin) Ji. Besharat Museum Gallery is located at 163 Peters St. SW, Atlanta, GA 30313. The exhibition opens on April 12th, 2019 from 5pm-7pm.
Besharat Museum Gallery is proud to introduce Webson Ji’s exhibition Black Water. This project examines Ji’s experience of moving to the States. The installation will showcase Ji’s recent works including site-specific sculpture alongside, painting and drawing.
The exhibition will last for a month. Admission is Free.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I was trying to learn more about American Culture and the ability to speak English. The whole process took some me some time but I did learn a lot from my colleagues and professors. It was not easy from the start, but it is getting better now.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My professor Martha Whittington and Susan Krause have been really supportive of my career as my mentors. They showed me kindness and knowledge so that I felt welcome and embraced even as a foreigner. Also, my dear friend Abigail Miller has been nice to me as always. The way she treats people really gives me a living example of how Americans show respects to each other. We are going to do our solo shows at the same time at Besharat Museum Gallery in April.
- Website: www.websonji.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/websonjl
- Facebook: facebook.com/websonji
GAMMA Young Artist Competition