Tips for an Asian artist in the West
1. Find a writer
A writer can help illustrate and tie in the artist’s ideas as a communicative piece. It brings more context and framing than just the visual piece of work.
Yan Bei does not know the local language of the new country where he lives. To reach out to the local target audience, he will need to find a writer knowledgeable for translations with a flair that captures the audience’s attention.
2. Find someone passionate about your artwork
Having someone fully aware of his works, history, and cultural background can also help pull in with finesse. With the common interest and awareness, gathering the stories about his artwork is crucial to help shed the relevancy you need.
3. Find someone technical
This person can be an art critic or has a specific literacy in writing to help put him and his works into the spotlight. Branching off the credibility and skillset of the influence in their field, they can be the bridge to propel him and get him attention and following.
4. Link the artwork with the artist’s personal story
Yan Bei has an elusiveness behind him when it comes to his artworks. One mentioned part was that he focused on fingerprints and identity. Fingerprinting in China also speaks about having the significance and agreement to release necessary paperwork, but people were illiterate back in the day. It also meant that the officials could also be corrupted and forcibly hold onto a poor man to mark his signature in ink to release his house deed or essential assets.
The connection between an artist and their artwork is like two peas in a pod. Separate entities, but it narrates and melds in perfectly if you as the audience are interested and wish to listen.
5. Searchable content
In the current day of technology and New Media – it is useless to venture into the online space without the connection of the content and viability to be found. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is vital to connecting the words and your artworks.
6. Own your content
The importance of curating your content would also mean that you will need to have your own website, with social media platforms, and relevant hashtags. It creates an eco-system of feeding and cycling through the different media for various information and reaching out to a broader audience base.
7. Relate to references
When we see Yan Bei’s works, first and foremost, the call out is “calligraphy Art”, “Chinese Art” and “Asian Art”. But he also has a lot of abstract ideas and fits in well with some of the Western artists that we do know. For example, his abstract water/oil colors are very close to Monet’s water lilies, and his experimenting with the paint fits in well with Jackson Pollock’s dripping.
Also here is the reference I would use for Fingerprinting in Chinese Culture: “Fingerprinting, Policing, and the Limits of Professionalization in 1920s Beijing”