i-D interviews Oscar yi Hou on the occasion of the UOVO Prize

February 10, 2022

It’s rare an oil painting cuts through the abundance of photos we consume every day. In the glut of memes and videos and all of the loud content vying for our attention, as a visual medium, painting can go largely unappreciated online. Though, as Oscar yi Hou notes, the past two years of lockdown has compelled the art world to look more online, “which I think was a factor in putting my practice onto people’s radar,” he says.

Oscar is an emerging 23-year-old artist from Liverpool, now based in Brooklyn, and his portrait series A sky-licker relation, created over the last two years and presented recently at James Fuentes, is rich in colour and generous in its portrayal of its subjects; rendering each as a character worthy of far more than just a fleeting glance. “The choice to depict someone else is always political,” he says. “For me, it should be an act of respect and a way to honour the fact that you always live your life with other people, among other people. It’s a way to give testament to the shared, social lifeworld we all live in.”

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As he’s awarded the UOVO Prize — a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, a public installation on the facade of UOVO’s Bushwick Facility, and a $25,000 grant — we chatted to Oscar about these different references, symbols and ideas in his paintings, as well as the story of how he came to create them.

Read the full interview at i-D.

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