Jacky Tsai famously designed the iconic Alexander McQueen skull during an internship placement at the couture house, but the artist is now a name in his own right, as Millie Walton discovers
Millie Walton: What does it mean to be the first Chinese artist signed by the Fine Art Society?
Jacky Tsai: I feel extremely honoured because it’s a gallery with such a rich history. It’s also important for the Chinese art circle in London and Europe. For the past 25 years Cultural Revolution art has dominated the Chinese art market, but I represent a new generation of contemporary Chinese art, which is relaxed, funny and colourful. It’s art which can hopefully be enjoyed by both Western and Eastern people.
MW: How has your art evolved since moving to London?
JT: I trained in China as a graphic designer and I never thought I could actually be an artist. No one thought I was especially talented, but when I came here everything changed and I gained the confidence to enter the art world properly. I’m also influenced hugely by Western pop art, which isn’t a recognised art form in China.
MW: Is your work received differently in China now that you have gained reputation as an artist?
JT: I don’t really explore my name in the Chinese media. I’m just trying to build up my reputation in western countries and sooner or later people in China will accept this kind of commercial pop art, but I don’t think that will happen right now, probably in ten years time or so.
MW: What’s the most difficult thing about your career?
JT: I’m lucky that my career has been relatively smooth so far, but you have to always be hard working and trust in yourself. Never give up. It’s also important to be extremely clever with managing your time. You have to manage yourself like any other company. In the contemporary art world, I think that it’s the idea you have, which is now the most important thing. So many people have the skill, but different ideas make you stand out.