Artist who discovered the power of art makes Malta his home

By Fiona Galea Debono

Taiwanese artist Jason Lu, who has lived in the US and travelled the world, has chosen to make Malta his current home ñ the ideal base to sort out his thoughts and transpose them onto his canvases.

ìI discovered Malta by accident on the way to Tunisia and I loved it ñ the warmth of the sun and the people, and the sea.î

It is not that Malta inspires Luís art, but it is a good environment in which to ìrelax, calm down and digest my emotions. My travels shake me up and I return to Malta to put down my thoughtsî.

The 27-year-old artist has been living in Marsascala for two years after spending three years studying classical art in Florence. Lu also studied three-dimensional animation and web design in the US, but has returned to his classical background.

ìIt is impossible to survive on abstract art,î he said, struggling as it is to make ends meet.

ìThere is a conflict between art nowadays and what I do, which is not the trend. But I do now want to jump into abstract art and I have to believe in myself and what I do.î

Lu dive into art when he moved from Taiwan to San Francisco at the age of 15 and had problem communicating with his peers. ì I could barely string a couple of sentences, so I tried to express myself through art. In the beginning, people used to make fun of how I pronounced my English,î but as he developed his talent, they developed an interest in him and what he was doing.

ìThat is when I discovered the power of art. It is a simple language to express emotions.î Luís art moves hand in hand with his life experiences ñ that is what he portrays in his oils on canvas. They are personal and never commissioned.

Balance (picture), for example, an oil on canvas semi self-portrait, depicts Luís state of mind and how he felt about himself at the time he created it. ì I would squint to blur my vision to create this work.î

As regards the local art scene, Lu highlights the importance of foundation training, which seems to be lacking. It is a solid foundation training that eventually leads to more freedom to create, he believes.

ìToday, artists dive into abstract art immediately, but it would be better to build on sounder skills and then move into the direction they choose.î

ìYoung artists seem to be trying to follow someone elseís pattern, but their art should be developed gradually. In the beginning, you are more of a craftsman and then you become an artist.î

ìSome say the more you know, the more polluted you are and that your painting does not come form the heart. But, in my view, the more you know, the better artist you can be.î

The Chinese-American is currently working on a three-by-five-meter canvas, that expresses his struggle in life to survive as an artist.

ìI am trying to survive in a foreign country, where I have no background, no roots and no connections, but I have no regrets either.î

Lu has been working on the painting for five months, building layer upon layer and even wiping out the whole thing when he feels not happy with it.

His first solo exhibition ñ ìI wanted to wait until my works were powerful enoughî ñ includes nine acrylic on canvas and is being held at Auntielucy in the Baystreet complex until the end of August.