Yingzhao Liu’s remarkable talent for painting endured despite a life that began with deprivation, struggle, and uncertainty. Liu, born in China in 1956, lived through Mao’s oppressive regime until his early twenties.
“When I was a child, I liked to draw and paint,” says Liu. “My family was very poor, but I loved to draw so much that I even drew pictures on the ground because we had no money to buy paper.” Liu recalls that his father, an engineer, used to hide his technical books to keep the young artist from drawing on the pages.
After five years on a collectivist farm when he could not paint at all because of state mandated laws, Liu finally received formal artistic training, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in oil painting from the Harbin Normal University and an M.A. from the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts. For many years, he worked as a professor for Tianjian Academy of Fine Arts and in the mid-1990s, as the result of his growing reputation as a painter, he traveled to America.
Realizing that the U.S. offered more opportunities, Liu emigrated here in 2001. From the start, he says he wanted to come to Cape Cod. “I knew this was a place with a lot of galleries and antique shops,” says Liu, who eventually embarked on a cross-country drive alone from Los Angeles to Cape Cod in 2005.
“After 20 days across the country, I finally drove onto Cape Cod,” says Liu. “The beauty, scenery, and artistic atmosphere really attracted me and gave me the idea to open my own gallery here.” In 2012, Liu opened the doors to LLD Fine Art in Brewster. “I think Chinese artists will understand western culture by coming here and will love Cape Cod, one of the most beautiful places in the world,” says Liu, noting that he hopes his gallery will become a “paradise for art lovers.”
Liu’s exquisite oil paintings display a skill and a mastery of vivid detail so fine that it is hard to believe that you are not looking at a photograph. The intricate details of an engraved silver plate beneath a plate of lobster, the individual bumps on a lemon’s skin, and the ruffled fragility of each petal in a peony blossom, pull the viewer in for introspection. Yet there is a vivid freshness, a Western flair for color and composition in Liu’s superb still lifes and portraits that keep the paintings from looking overly academic. Like Andrew Wyeth, one of his heroes, Liu infuses his paintings with an awareness of light and shadow that give the paintings an emotional impact often not found in the realist vernacular. Combined with his mastery of classical elements, including flawless brushwork and his Eastern appreciation for beauty, it is easy to see why Liu’s paintings are sold to collectors worldwide.
Despite his considerable success, this international artist is determined to keep his gallery on Cape Cod for a long time. “Cape Cod is a beautiful place and a place that will always bring me inspiration,” says Liu.