Influenced by pop culture and social media platforms, Xi Zhang mines material for his art from what he refers to as “twenty-first century DNA”--Facebook, video games, advertisements, and Google searches. He combines an eye-popping palette with traditional oil painting techniques to examine how modern identities and relationships become disjointed in our frenetic, digital world. Zhang’s creations comment on the mind-altering effects of contemporary society’s addiction to technology, echoing the psychedelic art of the 1960s.
Zhang moved to the United States in 2004 after studying painting at he Beijing Institute of Art and Design. He then studied at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting in 2008. That same year, the Denver Post selected Zhang as the 2008 Emerging Artist of the Year for his “well developed, surprising mature vision.”
In 2011, Zhang was commissioned by CNN to do a painting about post 9/11. On CNN website, Zhang's work received more than four million hits. On October 26, 2011, Zhang was invited to give a Logan Lecture at Denver Art Museum.
He earned a Masters of Fine Art in painting at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2011. That same year he was voted one of the 12 Best Colorado Artists Under 35 by the Denver Post, as well as one of the seven Visual Arts Pathfinders.