Brooklyn-based artist Mu Pan has us totally engrossed with his intricate and sometimes grotesque imagery. Originally from Taiwan, Pan and his family moved to America in 1997; an experience which has greatly influenced the artist’s aesthetic. Part Japanese manga, part folk art, the artist’s aesthetic references range from anime to printed hand scrolls.
Through his work, Pan attempts to assume the role of story teller, expressing his disapproval with the world around him. “I’m a very angry and bitter person” the artist admits in a recent interview. “Drawing and painting is an easier way for me to find justice.”
Many of Pan’s pieces depict figures which almost appear like humanoids, seemingly human, but with distinct animalistic qualities. From the spear-wielding rider literally becoming a part of his horse in Pan’s “Crazy Horse,” to the group of human-faced lambs gutting one of their fellow animals in the deceptively titled “Cute Little Lambs,” the artist makes it difficult to ignore that much of human history has involved similar measures of atrocity. It’s almost as if Pan is trying to convey that some of our more carnal imperfections are requisite of civilization.
The consummate purist, Mu Pan has made it a point to avoid selling out by remaining independent and refusing commercial work. However, the artist’s decidedly rebellious stance is not wholly motivated by pride. Rather, he wants to live a life with legitimate purpose.
- James Lavapie