The Creators Project: What was your first foray into industrial design?
Li Hui: I'd learned arts since I was in the elementary school. I like to draw. When I was in senior high school, I attended fashion design school. In college I decided to change my field and chose sculpture as my major. The process of learning art was not really going well at that time, but I was still fulfilling my dream.
Why did you change from fashion design to sculpture?
Actually I wasn't interested in fashion designing at the beginning. I guessed maybe it was about the way the professor who gave us the lectures—I wasn't interested in what he taught. Besides, in that class there were only three boys, but there were 33 students. I wasn't comfortable with that percentage. Actually it was pretty hard to get admission to China Central Academy of Fine Arts—it took me three years to get it.
So really this has been a lifelong pursuit. When I was a child, I liked to create things with my hands. And even after growing up, nothing has really changed. I’m still creating things with my hands. I think the whole process of doing sculpture is my way of carrying out my dream. No matter what we are going to express, the whole process is most important.
Do you have any interest at this point in venturing outside of sculpture?
Not really. I'm still trying to get to know sculpture more. I think of sculpture in the abstract. During college I experienced sculpture in more and more different ways, and I'm still experiencing what sculpture is. Another thing for me is that I changed my design style after graduating from college. I used to do it in a more academic way, but right now I am doing it in modern style.
Was college a fruitful time for you?
Actually when I was in college, I produced work that I was satisfied with every year. Those works were made after class.
What did you do after graduating college?
I was lucky to get into this industry immediately. The first goal was having my own studio, and later I had one. I attended lots of exhibitions, met lots of friends, and made a lot of business connections that way.
Can you tell us a bit about your interest in cars?
When I was first modifying a car it helped me search what I want to do in my following works. The name of that car was Double-headed Car. The concept was when you were driving this car, people couldn’t tell if it was moving forward or backward. I realized that there was something more exciting than mechanics: innovation.
How did you bring technical parts into your works? Have you ever encountered some difficulties?
No, not at all. In my opinion, I believed that nothing is impossible. Many people asked me how I overcome technical problems such as materials and physics, but I just do it. When I encounter problems, I try to use different way to solve them. If you know what you want, nothing will bring you down. That is the faith that drives me.
Can you tell us a bit about the evolution of your work?
Later when I involved different design elements, I had a chance to know different of materials, such as laser. Laser is like a subject, but you can not touch it. I think that is the reason it attracts me. I can be inspired by materials—most of the time I design based on the inspiration brought by materials.
How do choose materials?
I think I’m sensitive to materials. Like painters are sensitive to colors. Those are our instincts. But every artist has different thoughts about the same material.
How does technology influence your work? Would you consider your work high-tech?
I always think my work in a futuristic way—I avoid the methods that people have already used. But I don’t want myself to become a high-tech artist. I just use the technology that I can create myself and I try to make my work look futuristic. That is my aesthetic.