An Artist’s Singular Vision

One aspect of our industry that I have always valued is the variety of projects in which we get involved. At any one time, our studio is designing logos, magazines, posters, and websites for a mix of clients in different industries. It requires research, study, creativity, craft, and is rarely boring.

Imagine then, being asked to create only ONE painting and replicating it over and over again, year after year? That was the reality of Wang Guodong. He was the Chinese artist chosen to paint the official oversized 15′-x-20′ oil portrait of Mao Zedong, the communist leader of China, which hangs at the entrance of Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Each year, starting in 1964, Wang Guodong would start a new painting to replace the existing painting, which was inevitably worn down by the elements. While there were slight variations to the painting over time, the essence of Mao’s forbidding stare never changed. Even after Mr. Wang retired in 1976, his art students continued to paint Mao based on his original design.

Ironically, the portrait of the communist leader has become one of the most recognizable in the world and a moneymaker in the Western marketplace. Two years ago, one of Andy Warhol’s paintings of Mao sold to an Asian buyer at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong for $12.6 million.

Artist Wang Guodong died this year at 88. Read his New York Times obituary.

Taylor Design Blog

By Dan

President / Creative Director