About Zhiyao Zhang

No-Returning No.1

Zhang Zhiyao is a painter who was born and raised in China. He was inspired by Renaissance paintings in his teenage years. He moved to Boston after high school to continue his study of art. In Boston, he takes in art concepts from various art movements and cultures in his own practicing of art. He decided to build his career based on visual art. As a young artist, Zhiyao is actively promoting his artworks to the world in different ways such as attending exhibitions, taking commissions , graphic design and so on.

Artist Statement

My subject matter is struggle, whether it happens in reality or in my inner self. This collection reveals my inner struggle happens within two years of my self-development. I believe, by building a communication to my audiences, we can inspire each other, even help each other.

Paintings that express feelings shouldn’t be private.For example,to express fear, instead of relying on color contrasts or certain facial expressions, I rely on constructing a space on canvases to let the fear happen. By this method, I connect my feelings of struggle with my paintings, and spread it out in a public way. I found that using the traditional methods of figurative paintings and surrealist ways of composing images are the most effective ways to achieve this publicity.

I repeatedly portrayed figures as the focal point in my paintings, Yet I won’t define these paintings as portrait paintings. I repeatedly interrogate and expose figures to the word that I created. My paintings are not answers, but my questions.

New Brunswick Art Salon 2022 —Oil and Mixed Media: “Beyond the Brush: The Contemporary Imagination”


  • Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt)
    • BFA degree in Fine Arts 2D Painting Major (expected in May 2022)


  • MassArt All School Show (Fine Arts 2D Student Exhibition, April 2021)
  • MassArt Fine Arts 2D Painting Major Sinor Show (Fine Arts 2D Student Exhibition, Aprill,2022)
  • Zhang’s solo public exhibition at the Sipping Room by Breeze Gallery/Tea Shop (Sep 20, 2021 – Jan 5, 2022 )

Awards & Fellowship

  • 2021 MassArt Fine Arts 2D Award – Rob Moor Grant
  • MassArt Scholarship $10,000 every year.

Symposium & Conference

  • One of the three student speakers of the 2020 Student Research Symposium on Asia
    • Pacific Visual Cultures, presenting “The Tragicomedy of a Piano Made in a Steel Factory” on Monday, October 26, 2020, 5:00 to 6:30 PM via MassArt Zoom.
  • The student manager of 2021 Student Research Symposium on Asia Pacific Visual Cultures
  • Keynote Speaker of online artist talk by the independent media 一面玻璃 Mirror Stage

Major Media:

  • Oil Painting on canvas; Acrylic painting on canvas
  • Graphite and pencil on paper/canvas; Pen and Gouache on paper; Mixed Media
  • Printmaking: Bronze etching; Oil transfer on canvas, paper & clay; Screen-print on clay
  • Multimedia, Including Sound recording, Video Editing, and Stop motion Animation