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 Xiang Zhang  (1954 - )

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Lived/Active: Texas/Louisiana / China      Known for: western genre, cowboy and figure painter

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AskART Artist
"The Thrill of Victory" 42" x 60" Oil
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in China and educated at the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing, Xiang Zhang settled in Plano, Texas where he paints with bold impressionism the life of the cowboy from frequent visits to a ranch in the Panhandle.  He also paints numerous pictures of female figures, thinking it important to balance the two subjects.

As a child, he and his family were forced to move to the country by the Cultural Revolution of Chairman Mao.  He studied anatomy from an exiled medical professor and then after the Cultural Revolution, was able to get a formal education at the Academy of Drama in Beijing.  This training combined theater and fine art and gave him a solid designer background and earned him a full scholarship to Tulane University in New Orleans.  There he designed for the Mardi Gras and theaters and then moved to Dallas where his wife got a job in jewelry design.

He became a full-time artist, and in 1995, art patron Dorothy Coleman hosted his first one-man show.  He also earned a spot in the Top 100 for the Art in the Parks competition.

Biography from Trailside Galleries:
Xiang Zhang was born in the year of the horse and started to paint horses with the Chinese brush when he was 8 years old.  He is the first and only Chinese artist who has created so many American cowboy paintings.  The bold colors and the masterful strong brush strokes express his fascination with the cowboy way of life.  Xiang’s art collectors often say that “he is an artist who really knows how to draw horses”.  During his artistic development, Xiang was strongly influenced by 19th-century Russian masters such as artist Ilya Ripen.

Xiang received BFA and MFA degrees from Central Academy of Drama in Beijing and Tulane University in New Orleans.  After teaching painting and art history in universities as well as designing opera and theater sets, Xiang’s childhood passion for horses led him back to the ranches.  The cowboys, cattle, chuck wagons and ranch dust blocking the sun all touch Xiang’s heart.  He even learned to ride horses without embarrassment in front of the 6-8 year old cowboys!  He also learned a lot from his cowboy friends and scholars of Western History.

With a strong academic background and traditional painting techniques, Xiang has been combining the realistic images with abstract patterns in his paintings. He was featured in the Art Of The West in 1999, The Artist’s Magazine 1999, Taos Magazine in 1998, Arts For The Parks exhibition catalogue 1995, and a book titled 200 Great Paintings Ideas For Artists.

Although 30 years of painting is a long time, Xiang feels that he still has endless challenges that lay ahead of him in his work.  In addition to his paintings, Xiang teaches oil portrait workshops nation wide so he can share his knowledge with other artists.

Biography from McLarry Fine Art:
Born in the year of the Horse, Xiang Zhang (pronounced Shong Zang) grew up in China.  After graduating from the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing, where he was strongly influenced by the 19th century Russian masters, he received his Masters Degree in Fine Art from Tulane University in New Orleans.  While at Tulane, he honed his skills portraiture and began painting western themes.

Numerous awards in regional and national shows marked him as an artist to watch. 

In 2002, he moved to a ranch in Sherman, Texas.  Immersed in the local ranching lifestyle, his work reflects the symbiotic relationship between the cowboy and his horse. 

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