Born in Hong Kong in 1962, Joe moved to Britain in 1979 to study at Gray’s School of Art to study Fine Art in Aberdeen. His success as a student allowed him to progress to a lecturers position and he taught at Gray’s for several years. Joe has since given up his role as a lecturer to pursue his own full-time career as an artist.
Joe’s approach to painting is quite unique in many ways. He claims to have no great purpose to his paintings, no common themes or concepts, but instead presents them as being pictorial and narrative, depicting various stories and concepts for the viewer to interpret. He is fond of playing visual tricks in his work, and often paints with “tongue-in-cheek” taking liberties with perspective and magnifying the scale of his images.
His work is highly original and combines elements of his Asian background with Scottish culture and heavily-laden Italian-style landscapes. It is the serene quality he brings to his paintings that makes his work so distinctive; his landscapes, bathed in diffused sunlight, have a rare beauty and accord with his idea of painting “the last painting you would see just before you fall asleep“. His works go through many different stages; preferring to draw directly from his own imagination the image can change considerably during the course of development. He starts off with an amber wash to conceal the vastness of the white canvas and then develops the painting using low-key colour themes to expand the process of drawing. His highly structured and organized compositions owe much to his training as a graphic designer.
His allegorical landscapes are much more reminiscent of Italian scenes – he finds the work of the early Renaissance artists to be very influencial in his work whilst his figurative paintings owe much to the likes of the Flemish painters Bosch and Breughel in whose paintings, like Fan’s, encourages the content to be reflected on.
He is an elected Royal Scottish Academician and has exhibits regularly in London and Scotland.