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Heading to the 26th floor 令我幸福的乐器



24cms (W) x 30cms (H)

Oil on Panel

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The subject of this painting is a very classically good looking Chinese girl in my office. She is well-educated and cultured, interested in art (quite classical art, particularly impressionist portraits of women).

So, I wanted to take this french-style idealistic concept of feminine beauty and give it an asian twist by dressing her in a Qipao (a tight fitting brightly patterned dress made famous in the 1920s, especially in Shanghai due to the dancing culture). I was then thinking about the contrast of these colourful individuals that I know through the workplace. People who have depth and hidden texture but who I know through a world of pinstrip suits and spreadsheets. So I thought it would be interesting to place this colourful person in the middle of the most boring, lifeless corporate context I could think of; the office building elevator. I actually wanted to make the dress she wore a lot more bright (some Qipaos are very ornate) but she preferred something a little more understated.

Then I got to thinking that many of the talented, creative and vibrant people I meet in the office are women; just as many if not more as the men. However, the office/work environment is still heavily male dominated, to the extent the masculinity dominates and obscures some of the genuinely interesting human aspects underneath. So I thought i'd put her in the middle of a bunch of solemn guys, as well as some people who you can't make out in the middle of the elevator. I wanted to give her a sense of confidence and stare directly at the viewer to contrast with the humble character I see many women adopting in the workplace.




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