“Electronic Dreams” tells the story of an architect coping with wife’s illness

April 1, 2016

March 21 through April 15, architect George Liu’s collection of digital paintings titled Electronic Dreams will be on display in the RCAH LookOut! Art Gallery.

The collection consists of a number of digital paintings created in Photoshop. Each painting is brightly colored with many hard lines and angles. While they’re reminiscent of architectural structures, Liu said they do not reflect his work as an architect because they’re so abstract.

“Maybe subconsciously it reflected my personality,” Liu said. 

Liu’s three books, Architectural PoemsArchitectural Art, and Steel + Brick, accompany the collection. One of the books, Architectural Poems, also features a collection of poetry.

Liu moved from Shanghai to California in the 1970s, where he studied mathematics at Stanford University. He later moved to Michigan and opened up his own architecture firm in Okemos.

Liu created the paintings that make up Electronic Dreams about 14 years ago when his first wife was battling breast cancer.

She taught computer graphics at Lansing Community College, and she showed George how to use the program. She didn’t want her husband waiting at home with her all the time, so she encouraged Liu to get out of the house. He ended up in his office, staring at his computer, moving the mouse around the screen, painting.

“Every move my hand was in pain, because I was so depressed, so worried, so unhappy. But for some reason, the painting comes out very cheerful,” Liu said. “I wasn’t planning on it, I just did it.”

Recently, the collection has been displayed in several local galleries, but Liu is unsure whether he’s going to create any more paintings.

“Number one, I forgot the software,” he joked. “But I’m not too sure yet. Even if I do it again, it would be different. After 14 years of your life, you’re so different whether you like it or not.”

Story by RCAH student Kelsey Block. Photos by RCAH student Samantha Kinjorski.