Erika Li is a contemporary calligraphy artist who began studying classical Chinese calligraphy at the age of five. Throughout her childhood in China, she rigorously practiced and mastered the different styles within the long-celebrated tradition. Her move to Vancouver, Canada at the age of sixteen marked the beginning of a fruitful experimental period in her practice. Since the conclusion of her formal studies in China, she has pursued possibilities which lie beyond the confines of tradition.
Her studio practice finds a delicate balance between paying homage to the established tradition while also creating her own voice within it, creating a harmony between the past and the present. Li aims to preserve the inherent precision and meaning of Chinese characters while also creating her own gesture. Most recently, her experimentations center around incorporating color into the customary black and white art form—she applies specific color schemes to each character, adding further nuance and meaning. By using non-traditional media such as acrylic paint and watercolor, Li discovers new interactions with the rice paper and blends traditional media with newer ones.
Li completed a Level 9—which is the highest level—Certificate of Arts Grade Examination of China in Calligraphy, and has won over 50 awards in national and international competitions including Second Prize in the 2nd China Beijing International Arts Biennale. She has also served as a student representative several times calligraphy exchange events between China and Japan. She currently lives and works in Vancouver, Canada.