Interview With Professor Zhang Kunlun And The Return Of Traditional Art

5 min read

May 31, 2019 

The 5th “World Realistic Oil Painting Competition” was held again this year. The famous artist professor Zhang Kunlun was again invited to act as president of the board.

Zhang Kunlun

On February 23, professor Zhang gave an interview and said the competition was a great event to encourage the return of traditional art.

He said he hoped all oil painters, especially those from the mainland would participate actively.

Zhang served as director of the Sculpture Institute of the Shandong Art Institute of China and specializes in oil painting and Chinese painting, as well as sculpture.

The significance of the Competition

“The New Tang Dynasty oil painting contest provides a platform for artists who truly adhere to tradition.” He said, “These artists have been ignored under the impact of modern concepts, and this competition serves as a platform to showcase the talents of the artists”

Wish of the Earth
Fang-Ching Hsu
2014 Honorable 4 0 x 30 in

Professor Zhang agreed pretty much with the requirements of the New Tang Dynasty competition, which is to ask for the “traditional realistic” style artwork with “traditional moral concepts.”

“Because traditional art was left by the Divine for human beings, it is the culture and art that human beings should have,” he said.

The human body and structure are made by Divines in their own image.” This requires “traditional realistic” art to exhibit humane qualities.

The competition emphasizes both skill and connotation

Professor Zhang said, ” Skill is very important in realistic figure drawing. One must have a good drawing ability, an eye for coloring, oil, and brush experience and understand the composition and overall picture process, etc. It must be a perfect combination of form and content. The artists from ancient times left us valuable knowledge. It doesn’t matter if you use the classical cover stained technique, direct painting or even your own style, as long as you use good paint, you are welcome!”

Professor Zhang also mentioned that in “today’s moral corruption and artistic variation, the aim of the painting competition is to restore the tradition of “leading the way to the return of traditional arts.”

Professor Zhang believes that art is very important to human beings and closely related to human morality.

Kim Myerson, South Africa Outstanding Technique Award 2014

He said, “It’s said that human art is an accelerator and lubricant for the promotion or decline of social civilization. Art is the bearer of human goodness and beauty — a cultural inheritance and the carrying forward of human morality. Its cultivation of the mind and used to pass on beneficial knowledge.

The professor said, “Art’s purpose is to awaken people’s good thoughts and even to present the beauty of God’s world and give mankind hope of a bright future. These are the characteristics and functions of true art.

The participants are great!

Professor Zhang said that art is an indicator of human morality because people’s aesthetic taste is related to the human ideological realm.

“People with different aesthetic tastes judge art differently. Nowadays, young people wear clothes with skull prints and other bad things because people don’t know what real art is. Many people are engaged in modernism and emphasize individualism, he said.

Esther Preparing to be Queen
Mary Phillips
2014 Honorable 20 x 24 in

“They believe that abstraction, installation art, and conceptual art is ‘progress’, … and some people look for inspiration to primitive art, saying ‘the more primitive the art; the more modern.’ It is ignorance.” He said, from a big macro perspective, human civilization has been destroyed many times. The so-called primitive art is precisely a destroyed art product from the last period of humanity.” Now people can’t distinguish between good and bad.

Something terrible can be sold for thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of millions Yuan. They are all hyped up. With the corruption of human morality, art is constantly changing. Modern people’s corruption is worse than any period in history,” he said.

He said people who could still stick to the traditional realistic painting in such a social reality are remarkable.

Beautiful Behind – Prison Slave Labor Products
Huimin Wang
2014 Bronze 40 x 30 i

“If these people can participate in the competition, their participation will be a bridge for true art to art return and recreate the art boom.”

He said, “Now human beings are in a big revolutionary era from darkness to light. Humanity will certainly become better, and traditional art will bloom once again.”

He wished that the realistic oil painters around the world, especially the talented and diligent painters from China mainland come to participate in the competition.”

Artistic creation is the process of “self-improvement”

Professor Zhang said he realized from his own artistic creative experience that the artist’s growth process and creative process is a cultivation of the inner self.

“Life in the universe is hierarchical. When your ideological realm reaches to some level, you can communicate with the life at that level, and you will have that level wisdom.” He said, “So a real serious artist is a cultivator, and the creative process is the cultivation process.

“Many people say, ‘The writing mirrors the writer; the painting mirrors the artist.’ An artists artwork is the manifestation of the inner world.” He said, “Only dragons and phoenixes can generate dragons and phoenixes. So an artist must be a good person first if he wants to produce great work. During the creative process, the artist must constantly redeem himself and return to his inherent purity, ” he said.

Such artists work will have a good influence on human beings. It could help people and open their minds and give them a sense of dignity giving hope.

Zhang said, “So, the creative process of a real artist is the process of improving his/her mind. He/she is paving a way for the timelessness of his/her existence when he/she creates magnificent art in the world. If an artist can recognize this, his/her art is very meaningful.”

At the end of the interview, Professor Zhang encouraged the participants to register for the competition.

Translated and adapted from pureinsight and

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