Local artist brings the ordinary to life

The simple brightness of a hand-painted silk scarf might be just the springboard to happiness people are looking for these days, according to local artist Haiying Yang. In fact, she wears her own artwork around her neck or over her hair, hoping it will have an uplifting effect on the people around her in these troubled economic times.

With so many people on the job hunt now, Yang realized that what is most important to her is "to be independent and follow your heart," she said. So, she began to pursue art full time.

Yang is not a classically trained artist, but was inspired by her mother, who was. Her mother died 15 years ago and left her art supplies to Yang. "When I went to pick up her things, I felt compelled to start painting," she said.

Most of her works are inspired by nature, but reveal her personality with their striking, near-fluorescent colors on fabrics and canvases. "Everything has a life," she says. "I try to imitate it, but it's not about how accurate it is. There are cameras for that."

Although she also practices traditional art forms like Chinese calligraphy, she is a fully modernized artist, adept at sharing her work on the Internet. As of this writing, Yang had posted 1,655 videos and counting on YouTube. (They can be found at

With the videos, "I'm just trying to bring good energy. I'm not trying to sell anything," Yang says.

One of her earlier instructional videos received negative comments from people who said her work was not "real art." She thinks this might be due to how quickly she can finish a piece -- as little as five minutes sometimes. In response, Yang made another video of herself chopping off her own hair into a little bob that she still wears today. The intended message is, "Don't take yourself too seriously," she said.

Now her videos include everything from the self-administered haircut to Chinese cooking demonstrations.

Yang was born in China, but met her husband in France. Due to her husband's job in high-tech marketing, they have traveled the world, living in India, Brazil and Australia.

The couple landed in Silicon Valley 10 years ago, and they love it. Yang's two sons, ages 6 and 9, attend Yew Chung International School in Mountain View, and she volunteers there to teach the students art.

Yang is a collaborative artist as well -- currently, for example, she is working on cross-promotional projects with a jazz musician -- and she encourages everyone to express themselves through art in one way or another.

"Sometimes words are too weak. Art is beyond vocabulary. You can put all your wildness and all your freedom into it."


Yang's work will be on display starting May 1 in the upstairs coffee shop at Books Inc., 301 Castro St., Mountain View. For more, visit


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Carol Underwood
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 22, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Congratulations Haiying on your art show next week!

Your silk painting is absolutely stunning - I look forward to being able to view the full assortment of your talent in every medium all in one show.

Best wishes -

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Milena Petrova
a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2009 at 2:45 am

Yang Haiying has been my most dear friend and teacher for the past few years, even though we've never met "in real". The spirit and passion with which she spreads the love for beauty are truly amazing. She combines the exquisite traditional art form with a fresh approach that makes it possible for anyone to learn and practice.

With love and gratitude,
- Maylin

 +   Like this comment
Posted by natalie
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Haiying Yang is an inspiration to so many people, all over the world, for all ages and intellectual levels .she has a very high emotional intelligence,watching her paint , write, drinking tea, and her photography , is addicting, big big love and admiration nat. Israel

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