Jason Phu studied at COFA, garduating with honours in 2011. He has been in residencies at CAFA (Beijing), NSCAD (Nova Scotia), DAC Studios (Chongqing), CAP Studio (Chiang May) and Organhaus (Chongqing). He has had solo exhibitions across Australia including at Nicholas Projects, CCAS Gorman Arts Centre, Alaska Projects and Ray Hughes Gallery. In 2015 he won the Sulman Prize and received a Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship which has allowed him to base his practise between China and Australia. In 2017 he was a finalist in the Ramsay Art Prize, received the West Space commission for the entire gallery and was one of the Underbelly Arts Festival artists.
Jason describes himself as such: I'd spend the summer holidays at my grandma's in Campsie. She would watch Days of Our Lives and I'd just sit somewhere around the house. At some point she'd cook me boiled cabbage and vermicelli soup, sometimes with rice. When I visited my other grandma in Beijing, I'd sit with her in a haze of smoke and watch the world snooker championships. Sometimes she invited my uncles around to watch whatever soccer was on. There was nothing in my house in Croydon Park but angry cockatoos that ate poisonous yellow berries, and both of my grandmas are dead now.
We spoke with Jason in August 2017, before he opened his West Space show, 'my parents met at the fish market', which ran from October to December 2017 and will be touring to ACE Open in Adelaide in 2018. He's been working on a new project with John Young, which will be presented by 4A in 2018.
This is the second in a series of long-form interviews, which really dig into what an artist does and perhaps why they do it. This podcast is created and produced by Sarah Werkmeister, a freelance writer, editor, researcher, broadcaster and curator based in Melbourne.
All music by Andrew McLellan, unless otherwise stated.
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