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An Xu’s art calls you to look closer.  


She cherishes any moment of deep thought she can steal away from life in the surging city of Shanghai, China. Those moments inspire her digital oil paintings.


It’s fitting that the hub of Shanghai centres around a flowing river just before it opens to the ocean. This is a transient city where moments in life drip away like water. People come and go; they love and break up and move on. You reach for one moment to hold it close, but it catches in the drift and flows out to sea.

Though the people change, the city remains. For An and all residents of Shanghai—and many other bustling cities at this time—the sparkling lights of the urban landscape form one of the few consistent things in life. The city lights are modern constellations that guide us home. 


An’s artwork reflects her unique perspective of life in the city. Vibrant colors draw out the primal passion each of us hides just beneath the surface. Strong brushstrokes through the digital paint give her work the impression of a sight seen through rain, or perhaps the last backwards glance at a memory before it flows away and out of reach.


Though still early in her career, her artwork has already featured in galleries such as the 1929 Art Space in Shanghai. The medium of digital oil painting allows her to create something new.


She looks forward to exploring this medium through painting, but also through innovative collaborations with video and music, as well as any other tool that allows her to look more closely at life in the city.

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