Biography of Zi Zi (Xu Zi)
Deeply rooted in Chinese tradition yet widely informed by Western art, multi-media artist Zi Zi (legal name Xu Zi) pioneers a new form of abstract ink art which seamless blends traditional Chinese calligraphic art with Western art forms. Writing in English and other languages but following one of the main styles of Chinese traditional calligraphy called Li Shu, Zi Zi brings together the East and the West, and bridges tradition and modernity. She often combines her ink art with Western style abstract art, presented on her own hand-made rice paper, customized wood blocks, hand-made scrolls and other types of single medium or mixed media.
Based in New York City, Zi Zi grew up in China and has been trained in Chinese calligraphy, fine art and ancient Chinese music. It is her passion and artistic mission to marry the East and the West, tradition and modernity in order to create an art form shared by all citizens across the globe. She envisions her ink art as a noble but accessible art form which transcends time, borders, politics, religion, color, gender, and other social divisions. Ziligraphy has now reached art lovers and collectors around the world in 69 countries.
Zi Zi has performed internationally, and her art works have been exhibited in New York and collected by dignitaries as well as the general public.
Zi Zi is a long-time resident of New York’s Greenwich Village. She is a member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers), and of Asian American Arts Alliance Town Hall.
Zi Zi is committed to the blending of cultures and types of media. In 2013 her a painting and singing art “Flowers for the Peaceful World “, was accepted the Sing for Hope Pianos public art project. She was then invited again in 2015, when she created her latest piece “Melding Love”, a painting over the piano combining Chinese calligraphic art with Western traditions of abstract art – the geometric abstraction and the emotional abstract art.
For more than 20 years, her fans have spread to 69 countries all over the world. Her philosophy is: art without borders; only innovation can sustain; a form of art can have a wide range of market potentials only if it is widely accepted by the people. In 2012 Xu Zi combined English and traditional brush-pen and created a project titled Xu Zi’s artwork “Long—Dragon 2012” show in New York. The United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote a letter to Xu Zi in the 90s: “Your thoughtfulness contributed to the joy of the season for me and my family.” In 2011, Xu Zi’ performing art based on the Internet symbol @, “Tu-Rabbit 2011”, was displayed at the Annual NYC’s Piano & Paintings Exhibition. In the year 2013 Zi Zi has created a series of new artwork “Year of the Snake 2013”.
In 2012, Zi Zi collaborated with a Spanish musical group featuring Western music and African-style guitar and composed the ancient Chinese poem Fragrance (dated AD 1155-1221) into a contemporary multi-media piece of work involving sound, dance and stage design. The piece was well received when Xu Zi performed at the Hudson Guild in Chelsea.
As a pianist-singer, in 2011 Zi Zi arranged and recomposed tunes from Chinese Kunqu (type of traditional opera) Peony Pavilion of Yuan Dynasty and created her own unique piano impromptu style of “Peony Pavilion.” In the meantime she was invited to participate in the New York “Pop-Up Piano Art” exhibition organized by Sing for Hope and widely reported by the media.
Zi Zi was raised in China and trained since childhood in ancient Chinese music and instruments. She rose to become one of the leading singers and composers of China and is to this day the only Chinese woman ever to sing for the President at the Vienna City Hall and to sing in the Emmy-winning film Marco Polo.
Zi Zi draws her artistic visions from her Chinese cultural heritage as well as from her experience of America. She studied classical Chinese musical instruments, becoming expert in the Gu Qin when she was little. A Mezzo-Soprano, Xu Zi toured China singing classical Chinese opera in the early 1980s. She performed a wide range of folk songs, including “The Song of Autumn Wind” (written by Zaiyu in the 1500s), at the prestigious Vienna Opera House in 1986. She performed a solo in the film Marco Polo and in a stage production of Mulan. She has recorded over 50 Chinese classical and folk songs, all copyrighted.