Born in Zhongshan, China, artist Leon Xu was raised in San Francisco, California, and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Attentive to what he describes as “brain tingles”—instinctual cues nudging him to capture a particular moment so he can reflect on it later through the act of painting—Xu finds a meditative solace in his creative practice.
This past year has been a hard one for Xu, marked by personal losses and creative burnout. “The immigrant mentality that is embedded in my brain has made it hard for me to be present at times,” he explains. “The mindset of working nonstop no matter what has taken a toll on me and my art-making.” But time and effort put into learning how to relax has made a tangible difference, allowing him to slow down and process his feelings. The paintings in Xu’s most recent body of work feature moments of peace in the midst of this hectic year—moments “where I remind myself the reason I make art, whether it’s for myself to remember or for the world to see and feel the same feelings I had.”
Twelve of Xu’s recent paintings will be on view September 10th through October 29th as part of his solo show, ‘Wishful Thinking,’ at Mai 36 Gallery in Zürich, Switzerland. See more of his work below!