“An Unforgettable Visit to Zhao Xiaoyong’s Art Studio: Discovering the Essence of ‘China’s Van Gogh'”

I walked into Zhao Xiaoyong’s studio, which was open, and there he was, just like the familiar figure from the documentary: “So you’re the Zhao Xiaoyong from the documentary!” “Yes, I am Zhao Xiaoyong!” His voice was just as it was in the documentary, which I had watched many times. Zhao felt like someone I knew well, though he was smaller and not as tall as I had imagined. He looked at me, a stranger, with curiosity. On the evening of October 5th, in his studio in Dafen Village, Zhao Xiaoyong explained his work, which resembled Van Gogh’s style. He told me about the documentary “China’s Van Gogh,” which took seven years to film and was first broadcast in Europe. This explained why I had only recently come across it online. I inquired about his paintings, and he mentioned that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of his disciples had changed careers. Most of the paintings were now done by himself. The documentary had mentioned that Xiaoyong could paint a Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in 28 minutes. I asked about this, and he replied that it used to be his way of making a living, but now it took about three days to complete a painting, a sign of his dedication and artistic development. The sizes and prices of Zhao Xiaoyong’s Van Gogh replica paintings varied, with his original works priced at 28,000 yuan each. After viewing several paintings, I decided to purchase a replica of “The Red Vineyard,” the only painting Van Gogh sold in his lifetime, and probably the only painting I would ever buy. The price of this replica was 2,800 yuan. Zhao Xiaoyong mentioned that shipping to Kunming would cost an additional 200 yuan, but the shipping fee could be paid upon receipt. To avoid hassle, I added Zhao Xiaoyong on WeChat and transferred 3,000 yuan to him. I didn’t bargain or worry, as I had been planning this visit for a long time, and it was just about executing the plan. Zhao Xiaoyong closes his studio at 6:20 PM. He told me that he usually opens around 11 AM. He also has a studio at home where he paints into the night after dinner. I felt there was much more to talk about and many more questions to ask. I mentioned my high-speed train the next day at 12:27 PM and my desire to visit again in the morning. Zhao warmly welcomed the idea. And so, this is how this story ends.
"An Unforgettable Visit to Zhao Xiaoyong's Art Studio: Discovering the Essence of 'China's Van Gogh'" 4
"An Unforgettable Visit to Zhao Xiaoyong's Art Studio: Discovering the Essence of 'China's Van Gogh'" 5

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