An interview with Dongjiao Sun
This past fall I collaborated with a talented sketch artist. I was introduced to Dongjaio Sun (aka DJ) by my girlfriend and I was very impressed with her art. The artwork she created for another friend was so original and accurately portrayed her families facial features on bodies dressed in Star Wars garb. Being able to channel my creative energy with writing has brought me a new-found joy. It has also peaked my interest in how other artists express themselves.
We met at the Chazen Museum of Art on the Campus of the University of Wisconsin. The campus has special significance to our family, James and I both attended college at the University and subsequently fell in love there. Despite our history with the campus, neither of us had ever been to the museum.
Where are you from?
I am from a city in central China called Xinyang — it has a population of a few million people but is frequently rated as one of the most livable cities in China.
When did you know that you had artistic abilities?
Since I was 5 years old. I was the only child in the family (at that time) like most Chinese families. I just drew everywhere when I felt lonely: on the wall/window/door. When people saw them, they were amazed, then I realize I can draw.
What inspires your art?
The beauty that elapses like water; the difference (and similarity) between different things; things I have never experienced (or drawn!) before.
What are your favorite places to travel to?
I prefer cities with history and cultural heritage. For example, Kyoto, Paris, and Naples. I also like places with diverse population and lifestyles, with dynamic urban life.
Sketching the Laufenbergs
We gave DJ a little challenge, the girls did not stay very still for photos, their voices were inappropriately loud for a museum setting and Giana was directing the photographer. Another instance where Laufty Plans go astray. While she is capable of recreating a wide range of depictions we chose a traditional family portrait style.
How did the range of skin tones in our family affect your drawings?
It was a little challenging when I first photographed the family — it’s difficult to capture the depth of the different tones under the same lighting conditions. But as for drawing, that’s just what I like to capture.
Contrast always make the image more complementary, and for each of the three tones I was able to use a different charcoal technique, I really enjoy it.
How do you nourish self-love?
I always reinforce myself by learning (not just about art — for example, power tools!), and surround myself with people who I love and that love me, and stay away from those who don’t, or don’t want what’s best for me.
Diversity in Madison, WI
How do you feel about diversity in Wisconsin?
Most of the time I’ve been in Madison, I’ve felt that WI does have diversity, but I feel that the lives of these groups do not cross very much.
I have to agree we can learn so much from the members of our community. It is time for us to cross the lines and unite. Despite differences in our ethnicity, class, and culture.
If you are interested in having a customized art portrait of your family contact Dongjiao Sun: dumpling637
Learn more about our family by reading our bio.