On drab British days like today, there’s nothing we welcome more than a dose of explosive colour to raise our spirits – and, as the Spring blooms seem in no hurry to come to fruition, Zhuang Hong Yi’s exhibition Radiance couldn’t be more timely.

Bringing us thousands of kaleidoscopic lotus, rose and tulip flowers –featuring ‘flower bed’ and landscape paintings, which replicate the four seasons and symbolise the artist's dual-perspective of Eastern and Western cultures – Radiance is a visual delight of rich colour combinations that create the illusion of movement as you shift your perspective.

To deep dive into his idiosyncratic approach, we meet the man responsible as his takes up his residency at London’s HOFA gallery.

Why is now the right time for London to embrace Radiance?
London is my absolute favourite city. It’s the epicentre of culture; you’ve got fashion, architecture, contemporary art. It’s such an essential city and inspiration is endless. I always pay a lot of attention to London.

That said, London can be quite grey and it can sometimes feel dark, so I seek to counteract this in my work. I set out to bring some happiness and light to drab days and to inspire positive feelings through my use of bright, bold colours. This has always been my aim – I feel fulfilled if I can achieve this. 

You work with traditional Chinese techniques, but your perspective is informed by Western influences – perhaps due in part to your nomadic lifestyle, working between The Netherlands and Beijing. How does this duality inform your approach?
My strong point is that I have a truly unique perspective, which comes from understanding these polar opposite cultures. I’ve had two educations: one in the East and one in the West, which both bring their own advantages. In the East it’s all about the technique; in the West it’s about the idea. In China, I studied at an art academy for four years, where I was classically trained in traditional techniques, in understanding composition and how to draw and paint. My self-exploration led me to moving to the West to further my art education and I subsequently spent five years in art school in Rotterdam. 

Having these two viewpoints is really your ‘unique selling point’ in a way. Could you explain how the materials you work with translate these ideas and embody the essence of both East and West?
Everything within my work is symbolic – a constant dialogue about my position as the artist in-between two cultures. I work with rice paper, which is a traditional Eastern material and I use the lotus and rose motifs which are intrinsic to Chinese culture. Simultaneously though, I also work with the tulip, which is incredibly symbolic to Holland. Everything is created with purpose.

How about the gradients and movement you create, colour-wise?
My work is an ode to nature; wherever I go, nature is on my mind and my constant source of inspiration. When I’m travelling, it’s all I’m looking out for. I try to follow the four seasons with my colour palette; the colours are derived from nature and my memory of nature. In winter, the colours are more glum; in spring they’re fresh and light.

The breathtaking flower fields in Holland inspired the idea of the ‘flower bed’ pieces. As you walk around in the fields, the colours don’t change, but they slowly move and your perspective shifts as the light moves – I wanted to capture and replicate this.

If nature is your inspiration, can you find that inspiration everywhere?
Inspiration comes in waves – my studio is filled with over 100 unfinished works! If an idea comes to me and I have a surge of inspiration, I’ll run with it and capture the moment, but my process is very stop-and-start. When inspiration comes to me, I can end up finishing something on that day, but it’s very subjective to whether ideas are flowing.

'Radiance' by Zhuang Hong Yi is exhibiting at HOFA Gallery's newly opened gallery space on 58 Maddox Street. All images courtesy of HOFA Gallery.