Fan Yan was born in Beijing into an artistic and musical family. From a young age, she was drawn to painting as means of expression even though her first career was that of a classically trained violinist and viola player. It was this musical career that brought her to Hong Kong to study at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, and later to play with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and various chamber music groups. After a successful musical career spanning 20 years, Fan Yan came to realise that she had to pursue her first love, that of painting.
Fan Yan developed her technical skill under the tutelage of renowned local artists Lam Tian Xin, Cecilia Ho, Ng Chung and Pak Yeung. It was during this period of intense study that Fan Yan started to develop her own unique style. While working with the media of traditional Chinese art, using Chinese ink, water colour and rice paper, Fan Yan also experiments with oil pastel, and finds inspiration in the works of Western artists such as Henri Matisse, César, Paul Klee and Marlene Dumas.
Elements of her work may seem reminiscent of Chinese art, but Fan Yan resists the constraints of traditional Chinese art in search of a freer expression of the rhythm, harmony and essence she sees in her subjects.
In her first series Variations on flowers, Fan Yan explored the energy and impermanence of nature’s fragile art form, the flower, using watercolour and Chinese ink to express what cannot be seen but surely exists.
Photo series aims at connecting old and new, by putting on the ancient and traditional medium of rice paper, subjects inspired by modern day-to-day life, such as friends’ photos on social networks.
Finally, with Music series, in a more abstract way, Fan Yan reconciles her visual sense with her musical mind by transforming her inner rhythms, melodies and harmonies into beautiful lines, shapes and colours.
2015: “HKSAR 18th Anniversary Celebration Reminiscence of HK”, joint exhibition, Hong Kong City Hall, Hong Kong