Xiang Zhang

Chinese/American, born 1954 Biography

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, gave him a solid designer background and earned him a full scholarship to Tulane University in New Orleans. There he designed for Mardi Gras and several 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.

Observing life to capture it’s essences was the foremost lesson Xiang learned from his art professors. Evidence of these ideas can be found in the treatment of his early landscapes and images from life. During his formative years, Xiang improved his grasp of both figure and form by making thousands of impromptu sketches. These studies have enabled him to develop a great talent for portraying strikingly original figures, particularly when combined with his long study of Western traditional painting techniques. Xiang graduated from the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing and Tulane University in New Orleans with his B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees, respectively. Over the past twenty years, Xiang’s paintings have appeared in many group art exhibitions, as well as one-man shows. He is a Signature Member of Oil Painters of America and has won numerous awards, including the Founders Award from The Artists of the New Century in Bennington, Vermont in 2002. His past endeavors are indicative of his diverse talents, including novel illustrations, oil portraits, murals, creating Mardi Gras floats, set designs for both theatre and opera, and also teaching painting and Chinese European Art History at Beijing Broadcasting Institute. “It’s like a new discovery whenever I start a painting. I always try to make each of the paintings have it’s own personality and soul by employing a variety of techniques.”

Founders Award, The Artists of the New Century, Bennington, Vermont, 2002
Signature Member of Oil Painters of America