artist • designer • printmaker

Mei Zhao

Growing up in China, I am a graphic designer and printmaker, have been living and working in Sydney, Australia since 1994.

To be an artist was my childhood dream. I started learning to draw from a very young age and wanted to be an artist when I grew up, but it was disrupted by the Cultural Revolution in China. At the age of 17, I was forced to work as a manual labourer in a remote farm camp in the north of China for six years. But I always had my sketching book with me and did some drawings about anything and anywhere, which helped me not only to escape this terrible period of time but also allowed me to practise art. Since I was talented at drawing, I was always selected to draw the big posters, a typical propaganda tool for the Chinese Communist Party during the Cultural Revolution. I painted many of large scale posters on the clay wall with Chinese ink and gouache during that time. After the Cultural Revolution ended, I had the opportunity to study at the Central Academy of Arts and Design in Beijing.

Continuing painting and drawing, my passion for art has become a specialised creative skill through out my whole design career. As a production designer for feature films for 10 years in China, I was responsible for set and prop design. I used painting skills for set design rendering and drawing skills for the set construction and production. Also being a graphic designer in Australia since 1994, I have used hand made original art styles to put into my graphic design jobs whenever they suited.

In the past few years, I have discovered printmaking, a wonderful and diverse medium, which has transformed many of my drawings into lino cuts, mixed medium, and etchings. By making art I find enjoyment and value for myself and realise that I am a story teller who can express motion and make invisible things to become visible.

Currently, I am studying at National Art School, major in painting, a new phase of my art making.