As queen of the kooky and macabre, Xue is known for her fairy tale paintings. The former fashionista fuses supernatural themes and a sugar-sweet colour palette to create irresistible lowbrow pop surrealist pieces.
With inspirations ranging from Victoriana to dolls and funfairs, she applies just as much wry humour as paint. For each character, Xue sketches out the faces before adding makeup, hairstyles, clothes and accessories. She uses oils on board and paints at home on her easel, with her dog Kuma and daughter Macey - who is sometimes too helpful!
Each painting takes between 80 and 120 hours to complete. Xue - who originally hails from China - uses multiple layers of glaze, while the carved frames lend her work a Baroque aesthetic.
Xue says: “I love vintage pin-up imagery, film noir and silent films. We cannot escape the past and our sweet yesterdays, whether imaginary or real. They are my repository.”
Xue paints with oils on board, which is a smooth and light texture to work with. She sketches first for the right composition, and then makes a mock-up to trace onto the board. She creates many layers, starting with the far background and finishing with the detail at the front.
The artist adds: “For each character, I first sketch out the simple faces. Then I add makeup, hairstyles, clothes and accessories – a bit like when you style a real person! During the process, I develop ideas about the atmosphere for each individual. This comes naturally with my fashion background."
Fun fact: Xue and her husband Bruce are keen mushroom hunters!
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