Lucy Liu’s Little-Known Art Career

I recently discovered, to my pleasant surprise, that actress Lucy Liu, a Michigan alum, is also a talented fine artist who previously worked under her Chinese name, Yu Ling. Under this alter ego, Liu has sold and auctioned her work for hefty prices up to $70,455. Working with painting, sculpture, collage, ink, and a plethora of other media, Liu’s detailed, intricate work calls upon themes of love, lust, and vulnerability.

Liu has had experience in the art world since her teenage years, and has been featured in both solo and group art shows across the globe for almost three decades. Her work is rich in color and texture, and deeply intimate–thus why she only revealed her true identity in a book a few years ago. Liu explains that “it was incredibly liberating… it gave me a sense of truth in my art and how it was viewed.”

One of Liu’s notable works of art is a collection of books called Lost & Found, which features cutouts filled with discarded found objects. She jokes that people make fun of her for salvaging scraps such as soda tabs or pieces of string for example, but uses these objects as aa invitation for reflection.

Book 24 of Lost & Found

Furthermore, Liu also creates intriguing erotic paintings, styled after the shunga Japanese art of the 17th century. Such paintings depict women kissing, engaging in intercourse, or simply connecting as humans. Her paintings, rife with dynamic brushstrokes and vibrant color truly show her versatility as an artist.

Adieu (Forever Goodbye)


You Are the Bridge


72 Works

(All images from Lucy Liu)


Student at the University of Michigan studying Art & Design and Communication & Media, hoping to create meaningful design for social impact. Every week I highlight an intriguing artist (or group of artists)!

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2 Comments on "Lucy Liu’s Little-Known Art Career"

7 months 10 days ago

I had no idea she had an art career! I had been interested in Lucy Liu’s U-M legacy since I read through “Madonna Slept Here,” a Heritage Project that lists where famous alumni’s dorm rooms were. Link here: I had a friend that lived in Lucy Liu’s old hall (SQ Tyler, 4th floor) and her room has since been boarded up. The room numbers go from 4808 to 4810 and there’s a clear section of wall with a different type of cider block. Food for thought…