Faye Wei Wei

As summer comes to an end, we are lucky enough to visit British-Chinese painter Faye Wei Wei in her magnificent home-studio in south London. Faye is often a muse of ours, her transcendent large-scale paintings ooze references to symbolism, mythology, and romance. Like Renli, Faye’s love story with the past is prominent within her work.

Her figures tell abstract modern-day stories, with poetic names such as ‘Iv always been a weeper at the Cinema’ & ‘I Once Fell in Love with a Boy From Paris, Who Worked in a Funeral Parlour, Selling Sad Flowers’. For a young artist, her mature pallet combines neutral romantic tones and empowering rich highlights. As we rifle through piles of sketches and artifacts lying around Faye's studio we speak to her about what got her to this point, and what keeps her inspired.

I Once Fell in Love with a Boy From Paris, Who Worked in a Funeral Parlour, Selling Sad Flowers, 2019

What are your first memories connected to art?

I remember painting a sunset with colouring pencils, I loved blending the red hot egg yolk sun into an orange and fading it into a light pink, the landscape in the drawing was a big red hill, I remember liking that it was red and thinking it was quite clever as if the grass itself was soaked with the sun to the point of becoming a poem of a hill, in the foreground I drew a little fence for scale and to place myself in the heart of the drawing, it was the first time I felt I could escape into the infinite space of a place I created for myself, I felt myself falling into this landscape into the moment and I can see it in my mind now.

Can you tell us about the process of creating your work? What inspires you?

Lately, I have collected a lot of old photographs, old pictures of my beautiful friends too, I've been inspired also by my collection of books, one, in particular, a medieval Tudor flower drawing book.

"It was the first time I felt I coula escape into the infinite space of a place I created for myse1f"

Days and nights have mingled in your sweet cmbrace, 2019

Where is your favourite place to go to seek inspiration in London?

The french house in Soho with a glass of fernet and a half Guinness, or henry the 7th chapel in Westminster Abbey, or the part of the abbey where all the dead poets are buried, the stone is cold and you can sit in peace and think, also maybe that secret garden behind the Odeon in Covent Garden, or the Wallace collection, or Bonnington square gardens, there are too many inspiring places in London, what luck to be from here.

A favourite artist from the past? And an artist that you currently admire?

Past, Pina Bausch, now and forever, Wong Kar Wai.

What's the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

If you're choking on a fishbone place the rice bowl above your head and tap on it with chopsticks saying "bone down bone down"

What are some values and beliefs you live your life by?

Go home to eat your mother's cooking at least twice a week.

Renli Su Girl Wei Wei

Photographer: Benjamin Werner

Direction and words: Nina Scott-Smith

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