Artists make the world go round, and never cease to amaze us with their talent, tenacity, and tendency to know the future trends before we do. Class of The Future is a series of interviews with eight absolutely astronomical talents from Australia, who are the up-and-comers ready to change the game.
Everything started with a cow with six legs for photographer and illustrator Connor Xia.
Nowadays, he uses his intellectual eye for clever graphics in a way most artists wish they could. As a jack of all trades with an immense goodie bag of skills, Xia is constantly searching for ways to meld his many talents into artworks and show every single one-off, and he does so often and well.
On top of this, Xia also has a keen passion for the political, using his art to always create awareness around an array of social issues and injustices.
For the Class of the Future series, Connor decided to hand us over an excerpt from one of his zines, showcasing how his many talents can be combined into one incredible artwork.
Check out the interview with Connor below:
Interview with Connor Xia
What are you doing now that you’re out of uni?
I’m just doing my own work. At uni it’s a lot of doing work to appeal to a certain standard and a certain visual. Now that I’m out now I just want to do my own things. I make zines, I take pictures, I draw and animate for myself as well.
What would you say is your artistic speciality?
I don’t really know, I can’t choose. I do really like photography, I love analog photography because it’s so much fun. I love illustration as well. Sometimes I like animating, sometimes I don’t. I’m just trying to find a way to merge these disciplines if I can.
When did you know that art would be your career path?
Probably when I started smearing crayons at home. I just really loved drawing and making a mess of things. When I was young my mum sent me to art class, and everyone laughed at me because I drew a cow with six legs. I was just so into it that I didn’t even realise it had six legs, I really loved that cow.
Do you use your art to send messages or is it just purely for yourself?
There are times when I’ll just draw for pleasure, or draw abstract patterns to help go into a meditative trance, which is more for myself, but there are times like recently, I made an artwork that went backwards into my personal history, my home town in Western China, the autonomous region of Xinjiang. There’s a lot of political discussions to be had there, like recently there has been an issue of a cultural genocide, where the minorities of China, of which it has 56, one of them are being chased for their religious beliefs. It’s really dark and deep stuff that I feel like the world should know more. I talk about it on my platforms because I think people should know about it more. I also have zines that donate to climate action as well, because I feel like if I can do something to bring awareness and support, I will try.
How important do you think zine culture is for upcoming artists such as yourself?
It’s such a really good community in Sydney in the art scene, there’s Goodspace every Wednesday, which is very chill, there are zine fairs like Other Worlds and smaller ones too. MCA and Other Worlds are really good ways to meet people, and I feel like the community is very important for upcoming young artists to find their people and to feel supported with any problems you might have. It’s just a fun, inclusive and loving community.
How has the community aided your creative process?
I think the community is just always really inspiring. You find out about different backgrounds, different cultures and different perspectives that all come to play in media. It’s all really inspiring. You have photography, illustration, mixed media, and people do things in ways that you’ve never even thought of before.
The Class of the Future, Sydney’s rising artists you need to keep an eye on.
Top Row left to right: Erin Sutherland, Sara Hirner, Jimmy Nevell, Nancy Li.
Bot Row left to right: Olivia Serrao, Rosemary Vasquez Brown, Connor Xia.
(*missing from group photo: Anne-Simone El Sokkary)