Featured Expat Artist: Niko de la Faye

1. Why and how did you choose to move your creative practice to China?

I participated in the Shanghai eArts Festival in 2008 with the digital art collective Visual System. That was also my first visit to China. During our one-month stay in Shanghai I met with some people who where interested in my photographic work. Very quickly they invited me to come back to China to complete the series I was working on. Since then I have kept coming back to work on various projects.

2. How does being a foreigner affect the themes of your work?

I guess the environment we live and work in always guides the projects we do. In China there is not only a cultural aspect that is inspirational but also the speed at which the country is running today contributes to the energy that comes out from this place.

3. Can you describe for us more about how the different stages of your bicycle project have evolved?

I came back to China, in Beijing, in late 2010 to develop this project. The piece was completed 4 months later. Initially it was shown at the French Festival “Croisements” and at the international art fair “Art Beijing.” The following year was spent riding this bike all around the city. I describe this sculpture as a “poetical interference” that comes into the Chinese traffic. For M2B’s first anniversary I decided to take it on the road and to bring it to Shanghai. I felt the project was mature enough to start traveling. This “street art project” than became a “road art project”. That was a very exciting experience and feedbacks from people were amazing!

4. Because your work has always dealt with some level of community interaction and collaboration, what differences and similarities do you see doing these projects with a Chinese audience in contrast to your home in France?

My work often has a playful aspect, especially with kinetic sculpture. The colors mix with the magic of kinetics is really eye catching. I feel that in China or in France the expression of surprise, amusement, or curiosity remains quite similar. People are naturally curious. So far anywhere I have presented my projects it has created a great deal of interaction.

6. What is your favorite Chinese dish or treat?

I like 宫保鸡丁, “GongbaoJiding” which is rice chicken and peanuts. This is also the first dish name I could remember and pronounce well enough to have lunch!