Bu Hua was born into a painters' family in Beijing and, as a small child, her father asked her to practice drawing each day. This led to an impressive early career: she published a stamp at 10, held a personal art exhibition in Hong Kong at 12, designed postcards for the former Ministry of Post and Telecommunications at 16, entered the Central Academy of Art & Design, went to Holland for further study and had several exhibitions in Germany.
In Bu Hua’s digital art, we encounter two defining elements. First, there is the cartoonish figure of a school girl in the uniform of blue skirt and white blouse, with a red ribbon around her neck and sometimes smoking a cigarette. This is Bu Hua’s alter ego, a bad-girl princess who lives in and explores a virtual world. Second, there is the virtual world itself. This is a carefully constructed fantasy world that pits an architecture of magical abundance against a population of bizarre, and often troubled beings. It is a world that constantly shifts between polar opposites: on one hand, there is a paradise of luxury goods and Chinese palace architecture, and on the other there is a black-skied, dystopian realm inspired by industrial China. Bu Hua describes this world, saying, “Basically it's what you might call the different phases of my own psychic world. The scenes are wild, nostalgic and surreal. They express feelings and states of mind from real life.”
Her first big hit was Cat (2003), an animation which got both web hits and berths at international film festivals. Two other works, A Seed’s Journey and The Sick City also used short animations to tell of epic journeys, and in both hardship yields to happiness.This sort of blessed adventure, and a belief in the possibility of worldly happiness, is thread that runs through all of Bu Hua’s art. In many ways, this belief also goes hand in hand with her use of Internet technologies, which she optimistically believes present an opportunity for personal freedom.