David Wang

15th Annual ARC Salon (2020-2021)

David Wang

United States

Born in the Szechuan Province of China in 1994, David Wang spent two decades of his life as a first-generation immigrant in the United States. While his artistic interest began at the age of three, it was to be an unexplored passion for almost twenty years. Born into a family of engineers, David initially followed in his parent's footsteps, graduating high school from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy before attending University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a Computer Science major. 

Trials would follow as lack of direction and other factors caused him to drop out after a semester under academic probation, signifying the start of a five-year journey where many preconceived notions about privilege, meritocracy, and social structures were shattered. He has been, in the following order, a student, a dropout, charged with a misdemeanor for shoplifting, a restaurant worker, a restaurant general manager, a freelance artist, and a student again. He is now putting his passion to use to complete his first degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. David's journey is only at its start.

David's fundamental philosophy motivating his work consist of the following two ideas.

1. Greatness lies not in the heights of heaven nor the depths of hell, but in the struggle between the two.

2. True optimism is not blind: it is not the dismissal of problems, but the confrontation of problems out of the belief that triumph is possible.

In his work, from the political to the personal, he explores that point between triumph and failure, where we often recognize the general direction towards a better paradigm but not always how to get there. The goal is to fully recognize the existence of our worst impulses, but only in the service of overcoming them to reach our best potential.

Because of this, some people might attribute a hint of pessimism in his work, much the same way they might accuse naysayers, whistleblowers, and protestors of undue cynicism. But David believes that this cannot be further from the truth, as only those with the optimism to believe that a problem is solvable would ever bother to sound alarms and galvanize action in the first place.


* This statement has been provided directly by the artist in association to their 15th International ARC Salon entries. This content has not been edited for typos or grammatical errors and has not been vetted for accuracy.