Artist of The Month: Cai Guo-Qiang

As some of you already know I’m currently studying History of Art at University, and it’s no surprise that artistic exploration and practice in all its forms is something that I’m constantly discovering. I’ve decided that every month I will be sharing some of the most intriguing artworks and artists I have come across so far. I love researching art that is old, new, and not necessarily my personal taste, because I’ve learnt that it’s crucial to appreciate all types of creation, not just what we may deem ‘beautiful’.


I decided to begin the art journey with Cai Guo-Qiang. Cai is a world famous Chinese artist who currently lives and works in New York City. You may know Cai from his work with fireworks – especially the firework display he designed for the 2008 Beijing Olympics (see below). But despite his trademark, Cai has worked within a variety of mediums and techniques including abstraction, installation, and gunpowder ‘painting’. I was familiar with Cai Guo-Qiang for a while but my fascination capitulated after watching Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang, on Netflix. The documentary follows his journey as a child growing up in “Mao’s China” to his current position as a superstar artist. I highly recommend Sky Ladder to everyone. Even if you have absolutely no interest in art, it’s really a story of family, dreams and diligence. That being said, if you decided not to watch Sky Ladder at least take the time to contemplate Cai’s artistry below:


Beijing Olympics Firework Display, 2008


Head On, Cai Guo-Qiang, 2006


Skyladder, Cai Guo-Qiang, 2015


Heritage, Cai Guo-Qiang, 2013

Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project, Cai Guo-Qiang, 2009


Unnamed Nature, Cai Guo-Qiang, 2015


One Night Stand, Cai Guo-Qiang, 2013

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