I’m interested in how queer male bodies inhabit domestic spaces. Through rendering these nude bodies, I interrogate the concept of masculinity. In my work, figures are bathed in sexual innuendo, tension, and gay desire. They expose themselves or commit acts of kink while staring directly at the viewer, including them in a secret act. The figures in my paintings are sexy, frail, effeminate, and sickly.
As an immigrant from China and a gay man, I hope my works can share the life and emotional landscape of my community. We immigrants leave our homes and our countries behind, and experience intense culture shock upon arrival in our new environment. Aside from logistical difficulties and visa limitations, we experience intense feelings of deep loneliness, unmet desire, and spiritual discomfort. Despite these challenges, going back home is not a good choice; in China, queer people have no legal protections. Discrimination and differential treatment happen as a matter of course. The queer diaspora of China is faced with the dilemma of not belonging anywhere. Because of this, I only use my Chinese friends and myself as references.
The still lifes in my paintings also play a very important role. The white socks, shorts, underwear, and sneakers are private kink signifiers for the Chinese gay community. I also paint cute toys, flowers, crowns, fashion clothing, perfume, and gay photography catalogs. Through arranging them with models in my paintings I reveal these gay men’s personalities and style of living. Through my works viewers can see these people who live on the margins of American society.