Adrian Wong Shue was born on the Caribbean island of Jamaica in 1952. During the 1960s, he studied painting and drawing at Kingston College. Vocational training during his secondary school years included a period of study with a private tutor who taught a traditional Chinese drawing technique with the use of calligraphy brushes and charcoal powder.
For much of the 1970s, the artist worked primarily on drawings and produced paintings on paper using a combination of watercolor and ink. For Wong Shue, the life of the artist is a two-fold issue. His personal belief is that, “The artist creates the art, and the art creates the artist.” This philosophy enables him to approach the creation of his artwork with complete freedom from the conventional restraints which too often restrict the artist. The result is a style of painting combining several mediums at once to achieve a look that is both timeless and very contemporary.
In the fall of 1980, the artist moved to California and set up a studio in Los Angeles. Between 1981 and 1985, he joined various artist organizations and immersed himself in the activities of this newly found community of artists. His contact and close interaction with foreign artists, particularly Chinese expatriates, soon had a profound, yet significant, influence on the development of his painting style. By 1987, the artist's paintings had advanced with more than enough appeal to land him a contract with a publisher and art dealer.
At the Los Angeles Contemporary Artists Association, which was an organization founded by Peggy Guggenheim to benefit beginning working artists, Adrian Wong Shue participated in his first group exhibitions showing his early works.
During his membership at the Bunker Hills Art League in Los Angeles, from 1981 – 1982, the artist observed a painting demonstration by Ting Shao Kuang, one of the founding members of the Yunnan School. For the rest of the 1980s, he explored the non-traditional techniques that the artists of "The Yunnan Movement" newly introduced to the western world. Wong Shue was one of four painters selected to appear on NBC Television for a display of their work and an interview. But it wasn't until
1986, as a member of The Cosmopolitan Artists Association, when the artist finally got his first one-man exhibition of his paintings in the United States, at the Modern Art Gallery in Los Angeles. The organization’s membership included painters, sculptors, and printmakers from seventy-five different countries.
In 1987, the artist graduated from Antioch University in Los Angeles after completing a Bachelor of Arts degree. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, ten editions of serigraphs of his paintings were published, distributed, and sold along with his original paintings, throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. Exhibitions in the United States, Europe, and Asia brought the artist international acclaim.
Venturing away from his intricate paintings on Japanese Natsume and Chinese rice paper, his oeuvre of late, on a wider scale, consists of a varied range of media from drawings in pastels; to charcoal, ink, and pencil; as well as woodcuts and etchings. His paintings include oil on canvas, gouache, acrylic, and watercolor. The more distinctly figurative works by the artist are often executed from a combination of direct visual observation with live models and images often drawn from his prolific imagination. Some of the artist's current work is influenced by his early exposure to local island art that was primarily West African in origin. However, his more figuratively inclined oil paintings and drawings reflect his early, formal training during the 1960s at Kingston College under Professor Alexander Cooper and his tutorship under his Chinese drawing master in Kingston, Jamaica.
Adrian Wong Shue currently works from his studio in Los Angeles and continues to produce figurative paintings, drawings, gouaches, drypoints, etchings, and sculptures. The artist recently completed his autobiography, Sojourn: The Life of a Working Artist. The book, pending publication, describes his early childhood years on the island of Jamaica. It details how he came to America, as well as his sojourn through Brazil and Asia and the impact it had on the development of his work.