Jacky Tsai has an aptitude for the sensitive process of artistic alchemy, he seamlessly fuses Chinese craft and tradition with Western pop iconography, the result is a harmonious cultural coalescence. Tsai’s floral skull motif forms the crux of his artistic vision: that there is beauty to be found in death and decay as we fulfil our inexorable duty: to make way for others.
Jacky Tsai works with cloisonne lacquer carving, painted porcelain, silk embroidery, and guohua painting - all layered with western pop iconography. His iconic floral skull, designed for the late British fashion designer Alexander McQueen, reflects the artist’s engagement with religious and spiritual themes. Tsai’s recurring use of a skull motif challenges the prevailing notions of superstition and fear associated with death in Chinese culture. Blooming from the bones, the flowers, butterflies, and bees in Tsai’s ‘Skullptures’, celebrate the beauty in decay. The artist sees, the skull, “as a symbol of opportunity for new beginnings, rebirth from death.”
Since his breakout debut with McQueen, Tsai has successfully launched a fashion label and collaborated with high-profile brands: Harvey Nichols, Lane Crawford, and Shanghai Tang. Ambitious and continuously evolving, Tsai’s practice is as suited to the demands of consumer culture as it is to the roots of his practice. Whether fabricated in cloth or painted on the hull of a cruise ship, Tsai’s work maintains his fiercely unique and instantly recognisable kaleidoscopic graphic style.
Born in Shanghai in 1984, Tsai was greatly influenced by Western culture, especially by artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Tsai moved to London in his twenties to complete an MA in Illustration at Central St Martin’s. The impact of his East to West relocation can be traced through his art - where vibrant superheroes and other western pop imagery populate traditional eastern landscapes. Tsai’s diverse works have garnered great international acclaim and coverage; he has exhibited worldwide at The Cat Street Gallery Hong Kong, and the Museum of Modern Art Moscow. In November 2018 Jacky Tsai had his first UK solo show at Unit London.