Artist Zhenkun Li employs the tradition of Chinese ink painting, using these techniques to create expressionistic images that mingle word and image. Much of the artist's work places bright, saturated scenes in concert with calligraphic writing, referencing a long tradition of image and text but working freely with both brush and subject matter. Often, Li's work is narrative, using elements to create pieces that both speak to historical events and evoke tangible emotions. Each agile brush stroke adds humor and sharp characterization to the scenes. Solid washes of color play off of the varied treatments of the ink to give the painting even more vibrant immediacy. In each work, there is a push and pull between image and text, each balancing the other compositionally and supplementing information. The final effect is of stories captured with energy and fluidity.
Originally from Dezhou in Shandong province, Li lives and works in Beijing and Dezhou. From familial ties to schooling to work at the art research institute of the Dezhou Bureau of Culture, calligraphy is an integral part of his life.