maker spotlight — SHENGD (WILL) SUN
Meet Shengda (Will) Sun, ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ by James Joyce comes to mind as Will explains his art form is more about a growing consciousness.
How do you define your creative practice?
My immediate reaction to that question is struggle. I’m quite a critical person, to be creative for me is to meditate on the extreme, to polarize and to center, to rediscover the naturalness within myself as a human being.
What is your particular field?
My field is the practice of critical thinking — I create different kinds of visual art or music to help with that thinking. It is hard to say whether I’m doing it for myself or others, maybe I’m doing it to simply salvage some of that deeply buried, profound force of sincerity, love and innocence within the junk pile of my realistic pessimism.
What are some inspirations for your work?
It is quite abstract. It comes from everything, especially the little moments and details. I focus on things we often miss by being too busy or numb — the things that deserve a moment of observation but are often lost. My artworks are the answers I generate from the questions I get from these inward contemplations.
Do you have your own business?
Not yet, but I want to have one. I’m currently struggling with my demanding idealistic self, ‘should I let my art be subjected to the profiteers and their capitalist games?’ — such a voice I do not wish to silence for reasons I’m sure most creatives would understand. But, on the other hand, I need to better understand how the business side of things works, I want to master it so I don’t feel subjected to it. I feel I am currently at the research stage. Coming to XCHC is an essential part of that research.
What made you take the leap of faith into developing your creative practice?
I find that life is boring and desperate without the satisfactions brought by the results of my creative efforts. The things that influence me are my every day experiences, coming from overseas, struggling in between two radically different sets of logical standards, trying to bring them to a triumphant unification and see it beautifully dissolve again so I can do it all over again, this is the game I continiously play, as if I’m steering a wheel.
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
I’ve failed many times. I’ve been rejected, I’ve lost friends, I’ve been reckless. There is this temptation to say ‘but’ — the resistence of the temptation to make a case that you have never failed. In the end what I’ve gained is optimism, light heartedness and lots of bursts of laughter reflecting on what I consider to be failures.
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since establishing your practice? When I come across that one person who really finds my creations interesting and curiously engaging, that is when I allow myself to have the sensation of pride from my creations.
What is a project you have collaborated or developed with others? And do you have an idea for a project you would like to collaborate on?
I have made music with plenty of friends, made films, fought battles together in video games. I would like to develop a collaborative painting, a script or animation — I desire creative conversations in any non harmful form.
You are based in Christchurch, how has that affected your work?
I often think about leaving, I enjoy living in more crowded places, I like the feeling of insignificance in a crowded city. Christchurch is really quiet — the struggle becomes the lack of struggle, or the lack of people who relate to what I would define as struggle. I will live with this for a bit longer, I feel it is trying to tell me something - if life here feels boring it is because I have not engaged with it enough.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
I don’t wish to give advice to people. If you read this and it helps, awesome, but don’t take me too seriously.
Pay more attention to things, dont become a victium of your own subjectivism. Be aware of your own dismissive impulse because it can create misunderstanding. And if you are stressed out and you are not a creative just draw a flower or a puppy, even if you draw a terrible one, and the more terrible the drawing turns out to be the more it will help you realise just how richly quirky you can be.
Art helps us return to innocence and helps us communicate our innocence in a society where the standardised expressions of innocence can often be misjudged as immaturity and a desire for pity.