Visiting Artist John Ziqiang Wu Helps Chandler Student Find Their Creative Voice

Invited by Chandler Fine Arts Chair Julie Zemel, Mr. John Ziqiang Wu met virtually with Ms. Zemel's and Mr. Chatham's 6th- and 7th-Grade art classes on December 2, as well as the whole middle school during activity periods.
Born and raised in China, he shared his experiences and artwork while an art student in China at the Tianjin Academy of Fine Art and here in Southern California. He attended some of the finest institutions - Art Center College of Art and Design, OTIS College of Art and Design, and California Institute for the Arts, also known as CalArts. He also shared his experiences working as an artist in residency at UCLA's Hammer Museum and on his solo show at The Armory in Pasadena this year, and how these experiences were directly affected by the COVID shutdowns last March. 
He shared his real struggle as an artist to find his creative voice and how he discovered his way of looking at the world, his family, and the people around him by sharing his life and perspectives through storytelling, art-making, and teaching. He has published several books and has an art tutoring business where he teaches along with his wife in the Inland Empire.
He challenged our students to imagine a new way of representing the famous Mona Lisa. How would she look in our time? What would she be doing? See artwork from 7th Graders Kristina Potter and Anne Meng. Students drew their own ideas and then were prompted to make a comic sharing more about their own experiences now, what they miss about Chandler in-person, how they are experiencing distance learning, and what is happening in the world around them. 
Mr. John Ziqiang Wu has been an incredible inspiration to us. He has a generous, creative spirit that reaches all who see and hear him and his art. I am grateful to be able to bring new artistic voices to our students; it is even more critical in this time when museums and galleries have had to close their doors. The expressive and personal experience of art is such a powerful way to heal our souls. To learn more about our visiting artist, please visit his website at