Blending cultures with Jun Chen

Get to know artist Jun Chen, the man behind the 2019 Archibald Prize finalist painting of Queensland Ballet’s Li Cunxin.

While Jun Chen’s portfolio is full of moody landscapes and still life oil paintings, he began his career as an artist using the traditional Chinese brush and ink.

In 1990, Jun finished a fine arts degree in China during a time when traditional Chinese painting was making a comeback.

He then came to Queensland to complete a master’s degree in fine arts at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). It was there that he decided to swap mediums and delve into the world of oil painting but he continues to be influenced by his traditional style.

“I thought I already did that (brush and ink) and because I came to Australia, I wanted to learn more things – I think I mixed two cultures or two techniques,” Jun said.

Jun is the first Queenslander to become a finalist for the Archibald Prize in several years, however his journey to become a nationally renowned artist hasn’t been easy. It took Jun nine attempts to reach the finals of Australia’s most famous art prize while he worked as a sushi chef to supplement his art career.

But he has plenty of advice for up and coming painters going through the same experience.

“For me I always wanted to paint, and it was very strong, so I just kept going,” Jun said.

“For artists, it’s important to believe in yourself and you just have to keep going – just try and one day you will succeed.”

Listen to more from Jun Chen below.

Your shout is available on Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and RACQ Living.