Irvin’s story is present in every piece
Bayou City Art Festival is proud to feature talented local artists! Of the 20 plus artists from Houston, one artist’s inspirational story stands out: Ping Irvin was born and raised in Communist China and overcame incredible odds to get to where she is now.
Irvin developed her love of art as a young child when her schoolteachers gave her colored chalk and allowed her draw on the blackboard until it was full. Tragically, the schools in Communist China closed for ten years and although her family was underprivileged, her mother and siblings did everything they could to help Ping work towards her dream of becoming an artist.
Eventually, the schools in China opened their doors once again, and Irvin was able to make her dream a reality when she was accepted into the Yunnan Art College. While in school, she found much of her inspiration from her family name, Ma, which means horse in Chinese.
“I painted many subjects, but the horse was always with me,” Ping recalls. “I love to look into their beautiful eyes. You can see their stories in their eyes.”
Irvin’s life was changed forever when she used the Internet for the first time to send a photograph of some of her work to an Australian publication. One of two responses she received was from Craig Irvin. Exchanges of photos of art turned into a friendship, and then eventually, the two fell in love and Craig flew to China to visit Ping. He was only able to stay for a few weeks, and then he had to return home to Texas, but the two couldn’t stay apart for long.
Soon after Craig and Ping’s relationship blossomed in China, she was able to get a Visa and move to the U.S. as Craig’s fiancé. The couple is now married and lives in Houston where Ping continues to draw. Though she does not own any horses of her own, she continues to draw the animals and finds inspiration from the majestic creature.