Ting Zhou's Portfolio
Ting Zhou

Artist Statement

“If you have problems then you have art. Your plight and your problems are actually the source of your artistic creation.”

- Xu Bing, artist

My art making has always been a fluid response to my life. For me, life is really a two-part balancing act: I design and make art, and I’m a mother of two children. Being a parent offers me a very different challenge.  I work on these small moments in my life. I combine my life and my art making together. I hope that my work can make viewers feel the complexity of motherhood, including a mother’s strength, vulnerability and weakness. Behind the small and repeated actions of my life, like feeding, cooking, cleaning, sewing, there is an unlimited love, strength, struggle and vulnerability.

I use food to express my understanding of motherhood and feminism. I have been thinking and talking about the endless circle of life, death and rebirth through decayed fruits; what a mother means to a family and a child through her kids’ lunchboxes; and how an immigrant family faces the cultural diversity and uncertainty of their identity. To me, food is not merely food. It is a unique manifesto that allows people to explore and display their identity and life status. These explorations help me engage more deeply with our complex relationship with food.  

Just as with fine art, design is a form of storytelling.  As a designer, visual communication design is the most important medium for my artistic expression. Besides this, I have been exploring new disciplines, such as digital photography and animation. I spontaneously mix them together. When I do design work for my client, I always focus on the problem my client wants to solve. At the same time, as a photographer and animator, I create a story that is interesting and eye catching. When I make photographs or animation, I can feel my design background gives me inspiration and leads me in a different direction.

Women are made stronger by motherhood. Motherhood has enhanced my creativity. The challenges of educating myself, dealing with life, communicating the purpose of my art making to my kids: all that flows into the process of design and art making and keeps giving me ideas. When I meet problems, as with design thinking, I start with observation.  I try to listen and understand my kids, clarify their needs; define the challenge I am facing. After that, I focus on possible solutions and try out multiple solutions, to find the best way. I try to solve parenting problems like a designer. This pushes me and pushes my work and ultimately makes me a more creative person and a better designer and problem solver. I love that creating that universe with them, as a mother and as a designer/artist.