The American Journey of Artist Hai-Ou Hou


The journey of an artist is sometimes just as important as the artist’s work itself. Background and early influences are essential in understanding the motivation and the vision behind their paintings or sculpture.

And that is certainly the case with Mid-Shore artist Hai-Ou Hou. Born in Beijing, and trained early in a Communist Russia inspired art curriculum, Hai-Ou nonetheless felt the need to move out of that very restrictive approach to painting and eventually left China for the United States twenty years ago.

While that immigration may have been critical for Hai-Ou’s long term creativity, the first ten years in this country were not easy ones. Her primary focus during that time was to “survive” but working two jobs in places like Seattle, Allentown, Pennsylvania and also heading up to Alaska to work on a summer fishing crew.

All of this willpower allowed her to start a small art gallery in downtown Baltimore where she would also establish herself as a meritorious portrait painter that came with top dollar commissions, allowing her time and freedom to explore her love of landscape painting and experiment in abstract work.

But it was only after she participated in Plein Air Easton six years ago that she realizes that the Eastern Shore was the perfect place for her to work, teach classes at her large studio in Stevensville, and thoroughly engage in the local art community.

When the Spy stopped by for an interview with Hai-Ou last week, it was a bit surprising to see that her greatest passion these days in her artwork is found in the American West. Over several years, she has made several trips to Colorado, Utah and New Mexico trying to capture the complicated world of light and shadow that is only found in the majestic landscapes surrounding the American Rockies.

Some of that remarkable work can now be found at South Street Art Gallery in Easton starting on Friday which gave us the occasion to drop by and talk to Hai-Ou about her American experience.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about Hai-Ou Hou and South Street Art Gallery please go here


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