Julian Tan

Return to Artist

Artist Statement

 We are constantly fed new exciting futuristic possibilities, promises of returning to better pasts, making the world great again. No answers, only philosophical wanderings, aimlessly lost and obsessively desultory. We’re all searching for answers, posing questions, but get distracted by our smart phones and Netflix. Perhaps we all know deep down inside, it all doesn’t matter, we will continue inventing, we will continue researching, we will continue painting. I hope that my work can capture the confusion of our reality. The despair of contemporary life can be satisfied in varying methods, as long as they are constantly being updated and maintained like machines or operating systems. This may be all we can do – stubbornly pushing until the end.

Over the last year, I have noticed I share similar sentiments as my peers regarding the uncertain future of humankind. These feelings are difficult to detach from the influence of popular culture, social media, news media, our government, etc. I hold a constant skepticism towards the seemingly factual information I expose myself to constantly. But the obfuscated nature of our world is hard to differentiate from the remains of reality. Finding courage in a time where hopelessness abounds, when contemplating the future of homosapiens and the future of oneself can seem fruitless –  but to suggest that we just despair or denounce hope is un-human.

Working actively to recognize and rid myself of false solutions that appear real is my strategy to hopefully invent something new. I want my work to act as documentations of the investigations of my experience within our fast moving culture. The most troubling aspect of today’s society is the lack of answers from any leaders in the fields of politics, activism, critical discourse, technology, art, etc. All I have found are descriptions of what is happening now in context to history, and speculations of what may or may not happen to the world in the near/far future. This lack of satisfying solutions is adding to the powerlessness that many feel. Some days are very tough – waking up to see that there had been a huge earthquake killing thousands, terror attacks in places of worship, celebrities exposed for their perverse activities. It’s not absurd at all that the detachment and escapism of reality is the solution people are placing their faith in.

If psychoanalysts, philosophers, and religious texts are right – we don’t ever truly want what we desire. Meaning once we obtain what we longed for, the outcome will never be as satisfactory as we had imagined. What will become of our consciousness when our desires can be satisfied immediately within virtual spaces? Our relationships with our smartphones today are only a glimpse into the possibilities that the future holds. They provide us with a massive wealth of information and knowledge at our fingertips, making us early examples of the next step in human evolution. What will become of the human condition when we are able to combine this unprecedented knowledge with the choice to satisfy our true “physical” desires in digital realities?  This also brings to question the importance of the physical role in our mental happiness.

This new reality is now at arm’s reach – a literal world we can escape to, a space we can take our imagination, and for the first time all of our other senses along with us. Much of Western art has always basically been about agony, desperation and helplessness – thinking about crucifixion narratives, the Dark Ages, Mondrian, Rembrandt, Pollock, what art has been for us for so long has been wavering on a steady plane for the last century as technology has been in an exponential, upward climb to our new highest perceivable plateau of human genius. My work is not here to stop this climb nor advocate it, but bring an awareness to these human longings that are easily overlooked and manipulated, perhaps never to be missed again.



2014  – 2016
University of California, Davis University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
2009  – 2012
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

In and Out of Lightness, Apothacary Project Space, Chattanooga,  TN
Few & Far Between. Cress Gallery of Art, Chattanooga, TN

More       for the Masses, DTAtelier, Los Angeles, CA “It’s a Jungle out there”, CoLab Gallery, Los Angeles CA 10  x 10, CoLab  Gallery, Los Angeles  CA
Having Happened, UC Davis Thesis Exhibition, Verge Gallery, Sacramento, CA
The Cocktail Party Effect, Embark  Gallery, San Francisco CA
Mental Throes, Third Space Art Collective, Davis, CA
Subject to Change, Beatnick  Studios,  Davis, CA
White Line Fever, Third  Space  Art  Collective,  Davis, CA
Palmless, JJ’s  Boheimia,  Chattanooga, TN
New Discord Festival, Lupton Public Library,  Chattanooga, TN
Haus of Minionz 2 The  St.  Elmo  House, Chattanooga, TN
UTC BFA Thesis Show, Cress Gallery of Art, Chattanooga, TN
Feedback, Tanner Hill Gallery, Chattanooga, TN
Haus of Minionz 1, The  St.  Elmo  House, Chattanooga, TN

Haus of Minionz 2, St. Elmo House, Chattanooga, TN.
Testimony, Apothecary Gallery, Chattanooga, TN.
Take Art Leave Art, AVA Gallery, Chattanooga, TN.
Art Benifit Sale, Apothecary Gallery, Chattanooga, TN.
Interdisiplinary Collaboration, Apothecary Gallery, Chattanooga, TN.

Freemon Gadberry Award,UC Davis
Mondavi  Summer  Fellowship, UC Davis
Feinstein Scholarship Award, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

Hauser  and  Wirth. Docent/Invigilator
Museum of Contemporary Art. Docent/Visitor Services Rep
Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. Preparetor/Shop Technician
University of California Davis.Professor/Shop Technician
Range Projects. Project assistant/Technician
Brush, Paint, and Sip. Painting Instructor
Fitmax inc. Web  Design/Managment
Julian Tan Design, Freelance
Apothecary Project Space,  Committee Planning/Install
Art Happens, Front-end Design/User Experience design for ios app

Beginning Sculpture, Associate Instructor,  The  University  of  California,   Davis
Typography, TA,  The University of California, Davis
Beginning Painting, TA, The University of California, Davis
Form  and Color,  TA,  The University of California, Davis
Landscape Painting, TA, The University of California, Davis
Advanced Sculpture, TA, The University of California, Davis
Intermidiate Sculpture, TA, The University of California, Davis
Beginning Drawing, TA, The University of California, Davis