'I have a gift for art that I will cherish in my lifetime. And I'd like to share it with all my friends.'
Shirley said the honest people and the peaceful village are her reasons for setting her studio in Xiaozhou Village. (Lifeofguangzhou.com)
Grew up in a family of art
Born to a musical family, Shirley Wong's life was marked by signs of artistic creativity from the very beginning.
Shirley's father was a music teacher, and even though her family was never wealthy, they tried their best to provide a perfect creative atmosphere from the time she was a little girl. From music to painting, dance to photography, Shirley never ceased in her creative progress.
"In the life of art, my family was my first teacher," Shirley said. “And the masters I met during the course of my study were the guides on my journey." She herself was a music performer and teacher once. But today, as director of an art consulting company in America, she travels frequently between China and the US, devoting herself to the planning of artistic activities and the promotion of communication amongst many different fields of art.
Over the years she has had the honor of working with masters such as Hoi Cheng, an artist with world-wide fame; Ms. Marianna Terteryan and Mr. Gleb Dontsov, famous musicians from Russia; American composer Mr. Greg; Macao violinist Mr. Qie Luzhong, as well as other outstanding artists from Switzerland and Hong Kong.
Artists from outside China are frequenters of Shirley's studio. (Lifeofguangzhou.com)
Art consultant is to share the beauty of art
Why choose to be an art consultant? "It's just nature," Shirley smiled. "I understand what the artists need just like I understand art. That's the beginning of my story."
Now Shirley's main job is making the necessary preparations for exhibitions and auctions. Keeping abreast of the international art market, communicating with art collectors and planning activities are also parts of her mission. But with so much taking up her time, Shirley says, "I don't miss the music part."
"I am lucky," says the young lady modestly. "I can enjoy both my job and my hobby at the same time; I have the chance to appreciate art from all disciplines. Not many people have this kind of opportunity. I like to share—to share with my friends the beauty of art."
You can imagine how great a job she has, communicating with friends from the US, France and Russia about oil paintings, classical music, Latin dance and Jazz.
Walking the Line between Business and Art
Art consultants always act as bridges, connecting artworks, artists and art enthusiasts. A comprehensive ability is required in such a role. However, finding a balance between art and business requires a technique that not everyone can easily master. "In my opinion, there is no boundary that strictly keeps the art and business worlds apart. Sharing with others is my basic role."
Shirley's studio in Xiaozhou Village. (Lifeofguangzhou.com)
Xiaozhou Village, a nest for artists
Shirley's studio is located in east Guangzhou's Xiaozhou (Little Continent) Village, a place with a mix of ancient Chinese culture and architecture. "Its time-honored history and its easygoing, honest people are my reasons for staying," she said. "It's a womb of art and a home for artists. It's my creative muse." Apart from Xiaozhou, Shirley has other "homes" in America, Beijing and Shenzhen.
The peaceful Xiaozhou Village. (Lifeofguangzhou.com)
Work hard, play hard, that's the salsa girl
'Work hard, play hard' can be used to describe Shirley, who is always on her way from one place to another. As a die-hard fan of salsa dance, she always remembers to make room for her dancing shoes. "What annoys me is that sometimes there is no piano on my trips and I have no place to practice," she said. So talented is Wong that many foreign friends met her first time even thought that her career is a salsa dance teacher.
"I have many kinds of musical instruments at my home: the piano, cello and Gu Zheng are for me, the accordion is for my little sister, the guitar is for my elder brother and the Er Hu is my father's." What a mixed band of East and West!
"I like to share good things," said Wong with her bright eyes blinking. "I am planning to travel to Cuba and stay there for a month or two, to taste the local music and dance. Then I will come back to Guangzhou for my own photography exhibition. I hope to open at least two exhibitions every year."
(by Carrot Chan, Stephen Roach, part of the photos are by courtesy of Shirley Wong)