Sunday, 7 September 2014


“I love a challenging and creative life. Freedom and the sense of liberty is achieved through my ability to express what I am seeing and feeling. As an artist, you have developed good insight and a taste for life – life is what you make it, so try to make it beautiful. Being an artist and art teacher has provided me a lifelong love.” – Shijun Munns

For Art Sunday today, a contemporary artist whose work I have just become aware of. Shijun Munns is a painter who was born in the province of Guangdong, China where the foundation for her art was laid during her childhood. She graduated from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 1987, and quickly after this she gained a large number of awards and wide recognition for her paintings. Although a passionate artist and creator (she draws and writes as well), she followed the path of becoming an art instructor also.

Over the years her work has been viewed and collected internationally. She moved to Georgia, USA, in 2003 where she currently works and lives in a quaint and quiet home with her husband. She creates and teaches in her studio at home and stays very active within the Fine Arts world in Atlanta, having her work exhibited in many galleries throughout the area.

Many of Shijun’s pieces show a style that stems from traditional roots, but which also show evidence of modern techniques and themes. She has noted inspiration from artists such as Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh as well as some of the old Chinese masters. Her love for the texture, design, and vibrant colours of these artists’ works shine through into her own. She has also acknowledged gaining inspiration from her students. Alongside everything else she is a photographer and writer having published articles in her home country as well as creating travel journals documenting places and people.

Shijun’s work displays themes that glorify the feminine mystique and energy and its connection with the environment. The canvases show a balance between the serenity of nature and the strength of civilised narrative. Myth, symbolism and humour often amplify the messages in her paintings, which can be described as quirky, deceptively “pretty”, but in many cases mysterious and contemplative. They are very painterly, but at the same time populist, and easily appreciated by the ordinary person in the street.

A few of her canvases reminded me of a more modern and malerisch Tretchikoff or Marcel Dyf. As such they border on the kitsch, but stay on the better side of good taste – unlike say Louis Shabner’s work or (heaven forbid!) Giovanni Bragolin’s bathos. The work above, entitled: “UnderSea” (oil on linen, 2006, 46"x58") is a good example of her style. Richly textured and vividly coloured, the stylised figures shine forth with a jewel-like intensity. The deceptively simple composition enhances the decorative aspect of the work and the unified whole holds an easy appeal.


  1. Wow! Great painting. Now I’ll need to find out more about this artist!