Introducing the explosive talent, Rong Bao, who’s causing a buzz in the art world with her whimsically buoyant inflatable creations. Venturing into the realm of metamorphosis, Rong is an artist who reimagines the roles of ordinary items, pushing the boundaries of contemporary power dynamics. Through her work, she invites observers to feel vulnerability, be delightfully deceived, and challenge societal standards.
Here we speak with Rong, to learn how she is inflating the art scene with her revolutionary inflatable wonders!
Hi Rong, can you tell us about your background and what made you want to become an artist?
From a young age, I was drawn to painting and enrolled in the Sculpture and Public Space Art Department of China Academy of Art, majoring in public art. My parents, always supportive, respected my choices without interference. Their encouragement allowed me to explore my passions, leading me to realise early on my deep love for art and my ambition to be an artist. During the second semester of my junior year, I transitioned from the China Academy of Art to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in 2018 to pursue fine art. After completing my undergraduate, I went to the Royal College of Art (RCA) for graduate studies – where I have recently graduated from!
You’ve studied and worked in different parts of the world, from China to Chicago and now London. How has each place influenced your artistic style and the themes you explore in your art?
Artists frequently draw inspiration from their cultural contexts. For instance, a Chinese artist might infuse their work with elements unique to China, while artists from ethnic or minority backgrounds might include influences from their specific communities. However, my global travels and experiences have broadened my perspective, leading my art towards a more universal appeal. I aspire for my creations to resonate globally, unhindered by cultural or geographical barriers. To me, true art embodies the essence of humanity that can have the ability to transcend geographical limitations.
If your artwork had a soundtrack, what type of music or songs would complement it the best?
I would choose a more upbeat, light-hearted, or quirky soundtrack.
If your art could come to life and interact with you for a day, what would you want to do together?
I would want to go swimming in the ocean with them, then blow off steam on a hillside, and finally stare at the stars together. If they don’t want to be with me that’s fine, they are free. Having fun is most important.
Are there any artists, either historic or contemporary, that have influenced you?
Graham Stevens, Francis Alys, and Roman Signer.
Can you share with us any exciting future plans you are currently working on?
My current direction is to continue my previous exploration of inflatable materials and human interaction, while also incorporating some mechanical and kinetic devices, basically combining my previous explorations. My next works will also be a bit larger in size. I’d like to keep the details of the project under wraps for now, because it’s still in the conceptualization stage, and I want to surprise everyone when I make it.
All images courtesy of artist.