Full Metal Art


The son of a prized cruise-missile engineer, Liao Yibai grew up playing with machine guns, surrounded by speakers blaring Cultural Revolution propaganda by day and air raid drills by night. Almost as frequent were the accidents that sent shards of tools and weaponry exploding into the sky, which had all the wonder of real fireworks, but these fireworks were accidents that killed people.

Today, that trauma is depicted in the hammers, axes, and screws depicted into his work. Guided by his father, the young Liao turned to painting as a path to liberation from the factory where he and his father were based during the dark days of the Cultural Revolution.

In the early 1990s, Liao entered the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts to learn oil painting, but was frustrated as all he could study was Soviet Realism. It was Liao’s English skills that ignited his passion for art as he had access to Western Contemporary art books, which he had to translate for his instructor. Right there and then he fell in love with George Segal and Jeff Koons, who have inspired and influenced his work to this day.



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