|Gao Min and Peter Walsh on Wien Walk in Central Park, September 3, 2011. Photo by Wei Chen|
Sitting for his portrait this morning Gao laughed, “It’s been a long time since I’ve sat for someone else. It’s hard! When I was a student at art school in China we would sit for each other, but it’s been years.” Gao is a former art professor and former director of the Division of Western Arts in the Department of Fine Arts at Southwest-China University, a large school located in Chongqing, China. Among his many achievements is his college level instructional art book “Color,” which has gone through 13 editions in China.
“I’ve been drawing in Central Park for sixteen years,” he says, “though mainly now I come on weekends. Aside from the extra money, I come because of the faces. So many faces to draw!” During the week Gao works in a commercial art studio. Trained in the realist drawing tradition (both Chinese and Western), Gao also paints at home and is experimenting with new works that he has yet to release to the public. To see older works, go to his website here.
Some thoughts from Peter Walsh:
“Ouch. I try not to see the Central Park Portrait Exchange as a competitive form, but when my work is placed next to someone as talented as Gao Min, it’s hard not to feel the pain!
I was excited to complete this exchange because I had first met Min in New York State court in September of 2010 when we both testified against the New York City Parks Department by authenticating our videos of artists being abused by new park rules that forced them to sprint into Central Park at 6am every morning. Click here and here for details. Min’s disturbing video was appropriately called “Artist or Race Cow?”; mine was “NYC Mayor Bloomberg Forces Artists to Run for their Livelihoods.”
That said, although my rough drawing of Min pales next to his elegant one of me, I did capture some part of a likeness of him. “It’s fine,” says Min, “you’re good enough to work here in the park if you wanted to. People will pay.”
I’ll take that as a thumbs up! Thanks, Min.