January 21, 2022
Ryan Yan, owner of XIAO Fine Art, found his passion for artwork in searching for decor for his home.
“About a year ago, I was looking for art to fill my home, and I found that I wanted original pieces that spoke to me,” Ryan said. “When I went out to look for those pieces, they were expensive and not affordable to me, and so a part of me thought that I should just try to make them myself.”
Ryan said that he then went to an art store, bought a large canvas and several colors, and started painting.
“What happened next was very surprising to me,” Ryan said. “I had the happiest expression on my face as I was painting and I was really feeling the flow. It was very cathartic. I found myself to be in a flow state for hours, and I think I became addicted to that feeling.”
During the week, Ryan works in professional services as a consultant, but during the weekend, his time belongs to art.
“It’s one of those things where I can’t wait to wake up in the morning and jump into my studio to create,” Ryan said. “I’m up in the studio at seven A.M. already putting paint on canvas.”
With ample positive feedback on his art and the encouragement of mentors, Ryan decided to turn his hobby into a business. Called XIAO Fine Art, his store specializes in both original and commissioned abstract art pieces.
“I’m glad that people really enjoy it,” Ryan said. “Some people enjoy it to the point that they’ll bring out their checkbook and buy a piece, and that feels really good.”
Ryan said that one of his most memorable customer interactions was with an art collector in Malaysia that was willing to pay double in order to cover the shipping costs for a large painting.
“I don’t forget any of my customers because it really has a big impact on me when they buy my work,” Ryan said. “It’s just so personal to me. I also love it when people notice insightful things about my pieces.”
When it comes to his creative process, Ryan said that it’s different every time. Some paintings have been completed in 30 minutes, while others take many days to complete.
“In terms of the themes I explore, it’s all about balancing the chaos and harmony,” Ryan said. “When you’re painting, things are constantly being created and destroyed. The art contorts before your very eyes, and being comfortable with that level of abstraction is exceptionally freeing for me.”
Despite starting his business in the midst of COVID-19, Ryan has been impressed with how well his art has sold.
“Maybe it’s because people want some brightness in their lives, or maybe they want to put something on their walls to flex a little on video calls,” Ryan said.
In the future, Ryan hopes to explore working with acrylic on sculpture or wood panel. Ryan is also looking forward to the overall simplicity the Soapbox platform can provide when it comes to his fulfillment.
“As a person getting started in e-commerce, figuring out the logistics is daunting and not necessarily fun,” Ryan said. “What I want to do is just paint. With Soapbox, having something so simple and easy to use to figure out things like how to have repeat shipments or shipment one-offs is nice.”
To those interested in art, Ryan believes that anyone can be an artist.
“I think as long as you’re being really genuine to yourself, every artist’s work is an extension of the artist,” Ryan said. “There’s no barrier to entry when it comes to enjoying art.”
Click here to check out the XIAO Fine Art website.