Edward Cao is an artist currently working out of Los Angeles. He received a BFA at the Art Center College of Design, and has already shown in such galleries as Hive Gallery, Cave Gallery, and World of Wonder Gallery. I was introduced to Edward’s work via e-mail, as recently he submitted his website for me to check out. He has a great style and I can’t wait to see where the next few years bring him.
Creep: You attended Art Center in Los Angeles, can you tell us about your experience there?
Edward: I have really fond memories of Art Center, though I kind of had a rough start in the beginning. I floundered for a bit, not knowing what I wanted to do as an artist. But having access to amazing instructors who I looked up to was invaluable. People like Aaron Smith, Alex Gross, Rob Clayton, Jason Holley, Esther Pearl Watson and Mark Todd were all instrumental in my development as an artist. When I look back, I’m most grateful that my instructors encouraged students to think, conceptualize and dig deep in order to formulate more interesting ideas and images. There wasn’t an emphasis on technique or style in the illustration program, it was just about how you want to communicate your idea and what best suits that idea. That’s what I appreciate about my education.
Creep: Who are some of the artists, past and present, that have influenced your work?
Edward: While in school, I really admired painters like Camille Rose Garcia, Jeff Soto, and Joe Sorren. During that same time, Alex Gross, one of my favorite illustration teachers, introduced me to Neo Rauch and a little-known (at the time) illustrator named James Jean. Itâ€™s hard to narrow down influence because inspiration is everywhere, but some of my current favorite contemporary artists are Walton Ford, KAWS, Retna, Herakut, and David Choe.
Creep: You work primarily with acrylics on watercolor paper. Have you used other mediums, and what do you like about acrylics that you cannot get with the other mediums?
Edward: I’ve tried a lot of different mediums, but I focused on using acrylic paint because it was the most forgiving. I like the fact that it dries quickly, making it easy for corrections or changes and building up layers. Being water-based, you can make it as opaque or transparent as you want it to be without the use of solvents or chemicals, which is great. Acrylic paint has just become something that I feel comfortable working with, but having said that, this past year I’ve found myself more willing to experiment with other mediums such as oil paint and pastel to see what kind of new dimension it brings to the work. I would like to eventually make some more sculptures as well.
Creep: Your work has a mixture of human figures as well as animals, can you tell us what role animals play in your work?
Edward: The animals in my work are mostly used to personify emotions that I want to convey, be they proud or vulnerable. I feel like most of the subjects in my work are essentially self-portraits because they represent my own personal feelings, and address themes like identity and vulnerability, fear and doubt, strength and courage, pain and comfort. I try to achieve all of this in my imagery, right down to the color palette. I have found a lot of strength in making art, and I can only hope that the work I make can provide that for others as well.
Creep: If you could show alongside one artist in an exhibition, who would it be?
Edward: It’s difficult to choose, as there are so many great artists but off the top of my head, I would say David Choe. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time because I really enjoy the frenetic energy of his work, as well as his fearlessness to just draw and paint whatever he wants, using whatever he wants. Showing alongside an artist like that would really inspire me to be bolder and make better work.
Thanks to Edward for taking the time to answer these questions. Make sure you head on over to his homepage to see more work, and check out his Etsy shop for some available artwork.
Edward Cao Homepage & Esty Shop