The horses come from bas relief sculptures in the mausoleum of the Tang Emperor Taizong (circa 636-649 AD). These were portraits of six of his most heroic chargers, but they are now split up and spread over several museums throughout the world. The Tang elite loved and respected their horses. I have a special affinity for them, having been born in the year of the horse.
Yes, I have a whole storeroom filled with plastic boxes of Indian brocades, silks, organzas, velvets, toile, embroidered bits, whole costumes.... I've already decided to be an opera singer in my next life, and a master chef in the life after that, but if I get enough lives, I would be a fashion designer in one of them.
There's no doubt I have always identified with the heroes of Chinese history and literature. To be strong, fast, decisive and just; diligent and unbowed by adversity: those are ideals I have always aspired to. They require a certain level of self-understanding, which naturally lends one self-confidence and pride. I try to imbue the women in my paintings with the same spirit. In the hands of male artists, women are either weak creatures, pretty to look at and possess, or they are fearful and dangerous. I see women differently. There is nothing contradictory about a strong woman who understands her capabilities and strives to conquer her limitations. Her beauty isn't in the softness of her flesh but in the iron of her determination and the grace with which she executes every movement. I'm striving after the same clarity in my own work: every brushstroke should have purpose and meaning. Every element in the painting from color to line to composition should be balanced, poised. Chinese martial art has shown me that beauty is strength and wisdom. - from an interview in the Journal of Asian Martial Arts