Guys and Dolls


In 1994, an interesting idea came to artist Wang Xuejun. “Since we can use a western pen to write beautiful Chinese characters, we may also take advantage of oil paintings to draw Gongbi – traditional Chinese realistic paintings,” he thought.

He began to realize that even though his generation had grown up in a life that seemed to be more colorful in culture and abundant in material, the generation turned out to be confused and blind in the so-called western worship trend.

It took Wang, known in English as XJ Wang, three years to identify his own style and finish the first few pieces of his Guys and Dolls series. He kept working on it by recording people around him with his unique combination of colours, and finally held a solo exhibition, Guys and Dolls, in 2006. His mixed style of oil paintings and Gongbi is also found in the later series Living in China.

Wang Xuejun (王学军) was born in Wulan, Qinghai province, and he graduated from the oil major at Sichuan Fine Arts Academy in 1995. After graduation, he devoted himself to fashion design, interior design, advertisement design, architecture, as well as illustration. Wang is a versatile artist indeed.

A good artist must be an excellent observer. On observing the shoes of passengers on the street, Wang found a surprising similarity between the styles of the shoes and their owners’ personalities. He believed that people’s social roles are actually hiding in their shoes.

That is when he began to collect hundreds of shoes from various places, from fashion events to his acquaintances. He reprocessed the shoes with colours borrowed from Chinese folk paintings and made them into the Remains of Love and his Shoe series.

In his latest collection of photographs, Wang Xuejun projects some typical feminine symbols such as jewelry and lace lingerie onto a male body to create a unique visual image of Neutral Sex.

These images of Neutral Sex challenge our traditional perceptions and values to define a female and a male’s position and their invisible emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. In other words, Wang gives a new perspective on the recognition and definition of female and male beyond our biological gender.


  1. Ah. May. Zing! These images blew me away. There are elements that remind me of the psychedelic artists, like Peter Max, but the selfies, gender blurring, and the commentary on consumerism make the work very current. I want to see more and more from this artist.

    • Thanks for the comment Mickey. We’ll try do a follow-up of Xuejun’s work. Keep an eye out or sign-up to our newsletter to keep in the loop.


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