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Shirley Pu Wills
Morristown, NJ

Artwork Details
Midnight Lotus
Chinese Watercolor & Ink on Rice Paper
35.5" x 33"

Shirley Pu Wills, of Chinese heritage, was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1951 during the post-war occupation of the American Military.  Her father worked for a large navigation company and in 1949, two days before the communist takeover in Shanghai, her parents boarded a company ship and joined the mass exodus to Taiwan.  In 1950 her father was promoted to the Tokyo branch of the company and moved the family.  When Shirley was four, her parents saw in her a talent for art and hired a Sumi-e teacher.  In 1958 at the age of seven her family moved again, to Queens, New York.

In 1974, Wills graduated with a BFA from Pratt Institute with a major in Drawing and a minor in Art Education.  Her initial job working as a fashion illustrator for retailers led her to Honolulu, Hawaii where she rediscovered Chinese.  She returned home to live with her family in Booton, NJ, and spent the next ten years studying Chinese brush painting from various masters in New York City.  She has taught this art form for ten years on her own at the Morris County Art Agency, the Yard School, and the Montclair Art Museum.  She currently teaches at the New Jersey Center for Visual Arts and the China Institute for America in NYC.  She has been the recipient of various awards including a 2002 Bermingham Award and a 2003 Monmouth Museum Award.  In 2003, she also became an elected member of the New Jersey Watercolor Society.

She is active with the organization Families with Children from China, for which she does brush painting portraits of the children at their annual Culture Day.  Her present endeavor involves visiting homes of the families with children from China and painting their daughters.  The large-scale paintings, mounted with silk brocaded scrolls, were then exhibited for a benefit show at Cascata Spas in Morristown, NJ.  Her work has been exhibited at numerous locations including the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club in NYC, the Simon Gallery in Morristown, NJ, New Jersey Center for Visual Arts in Summit, and the Monmouth Museum in Lincroft.