Q&A | James Chu Artist, Macau Art Garden coordinator: ‘We keep on pushing young artists, giving them more chances to exhibit’

The Art For All Society (AFA) opened its “Perpetual Splendor – Works by James Chu” exhibition on Monday, attracting several art enthusiasts to the event.
Chu is the coordinator of Macau Art Garden and holds several positions in various art and design associations in the region.
He has held six solo exhibitions in Macau and Beijing and has participated in over one hundred group exhibitions globally. The art expert has also won more than 40 design and art awards in Macau and overseas.
Chu’s current solo exhibition features six paintings and will be open to the public for a month.

Macau Daily Times (MDT) – What was the inspiration behind these six artworks?
James Chu (JC) – Just in general, I usually paint abstract. Abstract is the main style that I use for painting. For me, I think it’s important from time to time to preserve good spirit in my work. Also it’s important to try to express the feeling throughout the last three years [that I have experienced].
MDT – Is the art industry in Macau growing?
JC – Slowly. Many more people participate, especially through visiting us at Art For All Society and Art Garden. We’ve built this platform for eight to nine years. We keep on pushing young artists, giving them more chances to exhibit, to publish in catalogues, to bring them overseas and give them experience. We help them to grow and introduce them to the art market, to the potential buyer. From time to time, we see a consistent pattern of what pushes people to buy and it’s a kind of process. The artists themselves keep on working but at the same time the whole society has to grow together with the artist. If you grow together with them from time to time, that’s the time when they appreciate the art more and feel comfortable to buy something from Macau artists.
If they buy it, there are more opportunities available for the artist to dedicate more time to their artistic career; because it’s very difficult. If you don’t sell, if you don’t really make a living out of producing artwork, then what do you do? Art teacher or freelancer? Still you have to find a way, you have to find how to balance and keep your spirits up. Through your artwork, you have to show everybody that you are doing something. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do.

MDT – What are some challenges faced by local artists?
JC – There’s too much competition in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. With this price range, you can a find a lot of artworks in a lot of Hong Kong, Taiwanese and Chinese galleries. So many people are getting involved in this business and a lot of artworks have been created. So it’s not easy, especially when you are just called “Macau resident artist.” The space, rent is very expensive, the living standard is higher than China, Taiwan. It’s quite difficult.

MDT – Macau’s art market still has a long way to go as you have mentioned. Do you think the region can one day be like Hong Kong, where art is valued?
JC – Never. Because of the size of Macau and its population, we can never be compared with them, rather we need to find our own way.

MDT – In addition to promoting art awareness, what are the other aims of the Art Garden?
JC – To give artists a steady work space is also one of the priorities. We have 36 studios upstairs. We have a contract for six years so they don’t have to find new studios every two years. More constant space for creative work is very important.

MDT – What difference does the Art Garden make for the artists?
JC- I shouldn’t say, the others should tell.

Categories Headlines Interview Macau