Alice Cao – Artist Biography
Alice Cao is an interdisciplinary artist, illustrator, and educator from Surrey, Canada. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Bachelor of Education (in Visual Arts) from UBC. Her work ranges from whimsical children’s illustrations and surreal paintings to dreamlike sculptures and film photography.
She is inspired by her imaginative daydreams, nature walks, poems, stories, and dream journals she has written throughout the years. Alice is experimental and playful in her approach and enjoys working with a variety of mediums to discover new ways of thinking and making. She is particularly interested in watercolour due to its beautiful unpredictability and the lively ways that it moves and interacts with each other, which allows her to explore the tug-of-war between conscious control and manipulation and the act of letting feelings and intuition take over, between the comfort of predictability and the discomfort of the unknown. Alice would compare her artistic process to the way she writes a poem: There are no instructions or steps; the work unfolds and expands as it goes, like a story coming to life.
Alice Cao – 艺术家简介
Alice Cao 是来自加拿大温哥华的华裔艺术家和自由插画师，同时也是深受学生喜爱的中学老师和随笔作家。2019年她以优异的成绩毕业于美国罗德岛设计学院的插画专业，并在两年后进修了UBC 的艺术教育专业，研究想象力和创造力的开发和培养，以及如何运用多媒体和游戏增强课堂互动。如今的她在热爱的艺术和教育事业里自由穿梭，并利用业余时间创作诗歌和故事。Alice从小就热爱艺术，喜欢把不同的材料和技法都玩儿个遍，在不停的探索和创作中描绘出脑海里天马行空的故事。长大后的Alice保持着“随心所欲”的风格，她的作品童趣、梦幻、自由又多变，不拘泥材料和形式的表达。她的插画色彩鲜艳、充满想象力，童真和幽默里夹杂着她对世界的感受和看法。她用善于发现的眼睛和细腻的心感受着周围的人与事，用插画记录着生活中有趣又平凡的点滴和她内心的幻想世界。从小爱看书的她热爱儿童文学，喜欢为孩子们创作故事和绘本。有时她会让画儿动起来，做成电子动图和传统动画，让人物更鲜活，故事更饱满。她的摄影作品视觉独特。她善于运用巧妙的构图和胶卷相机的特性捕捉平凡事物里的不平凡。她的作品Galaxy Pool 曾在Lomography 创意及试验性摄影社区脱颖而出，赢得Photo of the Day。她的水彩作品抽象又神秘。她工作时全情投入，用即兴创作的方式表达自己的情感和思绪。她说，水彩是她最爱的材料，它是流动的、是”活“的、它不可预测又充满着无限可能。它让画面脱离有意识的掌控，被某种不知名的力量或潜意识里的感觉带到新的地方。Alice喜欢创作中的偶然性和惊喜，就如同一个正在进行的故事，作品随着剧情的发展慢慢地产生，直到最后才知道结局。Alice也擅长诗歌和写作，曾在布朗大学学习诗歌创作，她的作品深受教授的喜爱。她的文字记录着她脑海里的奇思妙想和内心丰富的情绪和感悟，这些都是她艺术创作中重要的灵感。
Alice从未停止她对艺术的探索和追求，为了丰富自己的创作方式，她曾和知名纤维艺术家Chunghie Lee 学习朝鲜传统布艺(Bojagi)，并将它融入到自己的3D作品中。作品结合了现代和传统元素以及来自大自然的灵感，用多种材料和技法描绘出她脑海里的奇妙世界，最终获得了Surface Design Association 的优秀作品奖。她在Anderson Ranch Art Center 国际艺术中心学习，和来自世界各地不同领域的艺术家一起交流及探索不同的艺术方式。她和哈佛大学的陶艺教授Kathy King学习陶艺，在她的指导下，Alice把平面的插画和设计以陶艺立体的方式表现出来，结合釉雕 (Sgraffito)技术，创造出许多风格独特的陶艺作品。Alice 热爱自然，在罗德岛居住时时常去附近的自然实验室写生并观察显微镜下的水果和植物切片。她曾用显微镜把一颗苹果的切片放大几百倍，把看到的微观世界画成独特的图案。她将图案印在布料上再缝制成可以穿在身上的软雕塑，穿着它在街边和公园游荡，犹如行走的行为艺术，一只与世界格格不入、迷路的小怪物。
Alice Cao – Artist Statement
If words have colours, what colours would they have? If poetry has a shape of its own, what would it look like? When art is written into words, what stories can it tell?
As an illustrator and a lover of words, I have always been interested in the intersection between writing and art-making, and how these two mediums can work together to create new meanings, narratives, and inspirations. For me, words give my intangible thoughts and feelings a voice while images give them a “body” that can be seen, felt, and experienced. When I encounter a feeling I cannot fully grasp, poetry puts my feelings to words while art gives them depth through colours, textures and forms. When small moments in life trigger my imagination, my journals and drawings preserve my ideas and bring my daydreams to life.
My work shows the collision of my writing and art making practice. I use my poems and journals to guide my art creations; vice versa, I use my artwork to inspire my writings, giving them new meanings based on my interpretations. In this process, I experimented with vastly different styles and materials. Some of my work is “loud,” bold and graphic, with defined shapes and an illustrative style. Paint is applied thickly with a brush, and colours are vibrant and in high contrast, meant to evoke the viewers’ immediate response and to inspire stories and imaginations. In contrast, the other part of my work is “quiet,” soft, and abstract. Using brushes and unconventional tools such as squirt bottles, eye droppers, sponges, and my fingers, I applied diluted paint and acrylic ink to raw or specially primed canvas, creating a watercolour-like effect that allows me to play with the balance between chance and control. Guided by my poems and inner feelings, I loosely directed the paint across the canvas, allowing colours to move, overlap, and interact with each other. The unique and unpredictable effects created in this process engage me to respond intuitively, guiding my thoughts and movements in new directions.
By presenting the texts and images next to each other, I hope to give the viewers a chance to view each medium separately and as a whole, welcome their interpretations and imaginations.
2019 – 2022 艺术教育专业（BEd）- 不列颠哥伦比亚大学，卑诗省，加拿大
2015 – 2019 插画专业（BFA）- 罗德岛设计学院，普罗维登斯市，美国罗德岛州
2017年2月 拼布艺术群展，“Bojagi and Beyond”，罗德岛设计学院
2019 – 现在 自由插画师，创作的儿童绘本正在收尾阶段
2022 – 2023 中学美术老师，素里，加拿大
2022 森林学校实习老师，把艺术融入自然、用自然创作艺术，Soaring Eagle Nature School, 温哥华，加拿大。
2022 中学美术实习老师，教9-12年级视觉艺术、摄影和陶艺，Salish Secondary, 素里，加拿大
2019 – 2020 创意课堂和艺术史老师，尔金画院，素里，加拿大
2017 艺术家助理，协助Chunghie Lee 为拼布艺术双年展做准备工作和设计， 罗德岛，美国
Alice Cao, Somewhere in a Dream
acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30 inches, 2023
Somewhere in a dream
there is a world,
created not from memories
or unconscious thoughts;
it just happened,
out of nowhere
and belonging to no one.
You may wander and explore,
but you may never return
to the same place twice.
The world shifts and changes with each step you take.
Don’t look back,
for the world you thought is behind you is long gone.
You no longer ask,
Where does this journey leads me
you have only just begun
and will always be.
Alice Cao, Wonder
acrylic paint and acrylic ink on raw canvas, 36 x 36 inches, 2023
life is not as ordinary as you thought it be
There are wonders in this world if you train your eyes to see.
Slow down your pace and look,
at this world.
Leaves change colors before you knew it,
and a whole season could pass behind closed blinds and computer screens. Rainbow has way more than seven colours
and the sky is a different shade of blue day by day.
There are new sprouts growing through the cracks in the pavement,
resilient and waiting to bloom.
The wind carries scents of memory
and when the rain comes,
don’t focus on the cold,
hear the sound
that the world makes.
There are beauty waiting to be discovered,
let yourself soak it all in,
let your mind wander and get lost.
And when the night falls,
look up at the sky.
When was the last time you watched the moon?
Let its stillness sooth you,
then fall asleep under the peppermint moonlight.
Alice Cao, A Feeling I Don’t Talk About
acrylic on canvas, 36 x 24 inches, 2023
A Feeling I don’t Talk About (Translated from the Chinese version)
Sometimes there is a rock in my heart.
The more I ignore it, the heavier it gets,
until my body could no longer bear its deadweight.
It sinks deeper and deeper under the sea,
drowning with every breath I take.
In the garden,
the flowers have reached full bloom.
Sunlight pours through the window,
warming every corner of the room,
but in that deep ocean where the rock lies,
no light can reach it.
The rock can be found
but not taken away.
The rock can be broken,
but its fragments dissolve with the current
and become one with the sea.
I am a fish unable to breathe
The only sound I can make is
Alice Cao, A Tree’s Dream
acrylic ink on raw canvas, 36 x 24 inches, 2023
A Tree’s Dream
in its consciousness,
discovers an open door.
In the hallway
He finds different seasons out of sequence,
a young child
blown over by a storm,
a midnight garden
sobbing in a hidden corner
struck by ordinary time.
The grandfather’s clock
Only ticks on Saturdays
To his utter astonishment,
the present vanishes
Yesterday goes on living forever