Chinese contemporary artist Jacky Tsai (b. 1984, Shanghai) has an inventive approach that fuses traditional oriental imagery and artistic techniques with Western pop culture, creating artworks that seek to find balance and harmony between cultural extremes.
The artist grew up in Shanghai and studied at the China Academy of Art before moving to London, where he graduated from his MA Illustration at Central Saint Martin’s in 2008.
That same year, he notably created the now iconic floral skull illustration for British fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Throughout his career, Tsai has continued to use the skull emblem in many of his works, seeing the image as a symbol of his vision: to dispel attitudes of fear and superstition prevalent in his native China, instead encouraging the emergence of beauty in decay.
Typically, the artist works across many mediums including painting, sculpture, installation, screenprinting and monoprinting. In recent years, a large part of his working process has been to explore ancient Chinese artistry techniques such as lacquer carving, painted porcelain and ‘Suxiu’ silk embroidery, and as a result he has produced a number of works applied in similar, exquisite media.
Tsai’s work has been exhibited worldwide, with key exhibitions in London, New York, Singapore, Moscow, and Hong Kong. He was the first Chinese artist to be represented by the Fine Art Society London, who hosted solo exhibitions for the artist at their New Bond Street gallery in 2015 and 2016. In addition to his art, in 2011 Tsai developed his own fashion label, which saw high profile collaborations with leading department stores Harvey Nichols and Lane Crawford, as well as internationally acclaimed Chinese luxury brand Shanghai Tang.
The artist has also been involved in various charity and commercial projects, including a partnership with global conservation charity Save Wild Tigers and the East and Oriental Express in 2019. As an ambassador for the Save Wild Tigers cause, Tsai created a tiger-themed artwork for two carriages of the East and Oriental Train.
In 2018, he was invited to create a series of bespoke, large scale sculptures that were exhibited in a landmark department store in Moscow to coincide with a prestigious solo show at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and Chinese New Year. During the two years prior, Tsai was also involved in designing the artwork for either side of two Hong Kong-based luxury cruise liners, ‘Genting Dream’ and ‘World Dream’, both measuring 335-meters in length.
Tsai lives and works in London.