Chinese-born, London-based artist Jacky Tsai brings his fashion-world experience to his interdisciplinary art projects, which often fuse illustration, printmaking, sewing and sculpture. Tsai says that he is fueled by his contrasting experiences living in both Eastern and Western cultures. With his skull sculptures (or “Skullptures” as Tsai refers to them) and illustrations, the artist combines the morbid with the ornate. These symbols of death and decay become the sites of regeneration as flowers blossom on the skulls like moss — a juxtaposition Tsai uses as an antidote to his native culture’s superstitions about death. Tsai’s most iconic motif, his flower skull image was made famous when he designed a textile pattern for fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s spring/summer 2008 menswear collection. While the drawings and Skullptures are typically small-scale, Tsai recently created a 1.6-meter-long sculpture of a skull, which he embellished with individually-sewn leather flowers. After his work with McQueen, Tsai started his own eponymous luxury fashion line, Jacky Tsai, in 2011 and continues to create sculptures, installations and 2D work.
Female Leadership, lacquer carving. Celebrated for his pop art aesthetic, Tsai’s series titled ‘The Harmonious Society’ (a tribute to Former Chinese President Hu Jintao’s socio-economic vision for his country, where stability and social cohesion were the focus above all else) has been hand-crafted across 11 unique tableaux. It sees popular comic book characters inserted into famous Chinese tales and magical scenes to highlight the vast cultural differences between East and West. To complete each work, Tsai used the ‘lacquer carving’ technique which dates back some 3,000 years. After meticulously engraving each scene, he then coats the wood in dozens of layers of natural lacquer to lock in the colour and bring out the vibrancy in his work.
See more of his artwork here.