Huang Yu Lin -- Life, Paint and Passion, Reclaiming the Magic of Imagination

Art Review Color story Style

Huang Yu Lin


Life, paint and Passion - Reclaiming the magic of imagination

Remember talent? A person who is said to have talent can do something; it’s often physical, like playing tennis. Then there is imagination; the different between it and talent is often misunderstood. Imagination fuels talent and funnels into it , but on it own lacks body. Today talent is easily confused with knowingness to desire for attention, and what passes for imagination is often nothing more than reshuffling of cultural sings. That’s fashion. Occasionally an artist comes along with both talent and real imagination, as well as the ability to combine them- to cast an original narrative idea into pictorial form.


Ms.Huang Yu Lin is a few of the artist who can do all of those things. her paintings depict weird, funny characters, and her imaginings are inseparable from the way she renders them in paint or drawing. She handles the brush as an extension of herself, and the connection between her arm, shoulder, wrist, and fingers is more convincing than that of any other painters that I have seen.

I remembered that the first time to meet her in her art studio in basement. She showed me a stack of unstretched paintings on canvas which most of them were 50” x 70” or even larger. Her husband Wei Hai, also an artist himself having  a studio in upstart living room, helped to unfold and nailed them on the wall. It was a breath taking and unexpected. It was very difficulty to name her styles at first glance. Her paintings was covered with all sorts of lively strokes of color intermingled with images of animals, peoples, trees, flowers and also a lot of unknown subjects. I would see that she had enjoyed herself immensely.

“I love to see chaos flower in a painting” she said and continued “It can emerge only from some recovered freedom, announcing a surrender to intuition. To paint chaos is to embrace all levels of expression at once without judgement. But for some reason we think of chaos as something undesirable.

Surprisingly, her painting advances the rule of imagination in art in a way that is specific to the medium: it’s one thing to see this or that image in the mind’s eye, but it’s another thing to paint it, and Yu Lin does this in a way that feels natural and unforced. She has an impressively confident hand and works in a direct, unconflict manner, laid down medium in contract colors of intensity and saturation. She uses different tools, such as color markers, brushes, color pencils, cutting papers from news paper or color paper She doesn’t make a big deal about them; a few descriptive marks, a little shading, and voila- the images comes to life.


Yu Lin seldom loses her sense of humor and naivety; her confidence allows for improvisation and perversity. She takes obvious pleasure in making up the surface of her paintings, breaking down the image at the same time that she is building it. I feel she can make a painting out of anything; she reminds me of a child who can amuse herself with any material at hand- an empty spool of thread, a cardboard box, a box of crayon- and yet the paintings are formally demanding. Her images, especially some of her backgrounds, are constructed in a curious way, often build from what looks cascades of fractured shapes heaped on top of each other. It gives her paintings a feeling of novelty, of a pictorial problem solved in an original way. Yu Lin often paints in the inquisitive mode. Her painting mind goes places few have gone before.

Yu Lin’s color sensibility has Pop Art period feel to it. Acidic green, purple, orange, pure blue, red, and turquoise are presented without a lot of blending, as if they belong together. She is  a picture builder, not an illustrator. She doesn’t just draw with the brush;  she’s a constructor. Yu Lin is also a sophisticate; she’s grounded enough in her own manner of painting to allow in a wide range of influences. However, as a long times art educator and instructor, she always emphasizes to her students that she is not train them into painters, but to let them disarm knowledge. let them return in innocence, release enthusiasm, and regain the fun of graffiti for no special purpose. Painting is just for fun, to pick up the brush for the temptation of lines and colors without hesitation, and choose colors according to intuition, so that they can speak freely from the inner voice. The only purpose of painting is  let the imagination run wild and enjoy the fun of the whole process of graffiti. She always says paint like what a child does.


During this year when the New York city was shot down, Yu Lin’s works become more abstract and stylish dream like. She gives up the large canvas with oil and acrylic, instead she begun work on small size of paper with pencil or color marker. The paintings became more complex, spacious and structure. Some of the paintings of this period were dragged into deep space and internet like  complex. But she still makes good use of a first principle of representation; where there’s change in plane, there is always a change in value, the lightness or darkness of a form. Shifts of value define the edge of a plane in space, and when a plane changes direction, a dark sharpe next to lighter one, it creates a sense of form.  exploiting this simple principle allows Yu Lin to barrel though densely packed scene efficiently.

I have witnessed her works change over pass two years. Sometimes, the desire to try anything can let Yu Lin down the blind alleys; nonetheless, her wish to take greater license in her work is a good thing. This try anything approach can also produce astonishing work to deep explore her inner voice and imagination. It is unlimited source of her creation.


Her works can be found on her website at




Older Post Newer Post

  • Staci Bauer on

    Dear owner, Great post!

Leave a comment