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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 April, 2005, 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK
Artist joins trade trip to China
Detail from painting
A detail from Brooker's painting 'Loveheart'
A fine artist sounds an odd bedfellow for high-tech product companies and building materials manufacturers.

But on Saturday, Cardiff-based artist Julia Brooker will find herself on a plane to the Far East in the company of these and other Welsh businesses.

The painter is part of a week-long Welsh trade delegation to Hong Kong and mainland China.

The mission was planned by Wales Trade International following a visit by First Minister Rhodri Morgan to China.

Ms Brooker, who completed a fine art degree four years ago, has already enjoyed some success with her work overseas, including in Dubai, Japan, Germany and Abu Dhabi.

She had her first exhibition at the Cardiff Bay Arts Trust, exhibiting her trademark aluminium-based paintings, which catch the light and change depending on the viewer's position.

She first made contact with WTI 18 months ago, who advised her to try taking her work to the Middle East, which led to several commissions for hotels and businesses in the region.

"Their next suggestion was to go to Hong Kong and China. There is a lot of hotel building going on out there are very contemporary, and my work is very contemporary," she told BBC Wales' news website.

Julia Brooker
The artist hopes to repeat her success in the Middle East

Ms Brooker will spend four days in Hong Kong and three in Shen Zhen, in the Pearl River Delta in mainland China.

She said: "I don't know what I'm going to find. I have never been to China or Hong Kong before.

"It's a place I have wanted to go for a long time.

She thinks the trip could have a distinct impact on her work.

"When you are in painting, you are by definition very visual. I imagine visually it's going to be quite chaotic and exciting, so I'll come back with images of jangly colours, from all the neon lights."

Taking an art degree represented quite a sharp career change for Ms Brooker, who previously worked for housing associations in south Wales.

"Artists tend not to be that good at selling their work but I worked in business before I went to college," she said.

"My work was buying land, and finding out if we could build on land. I was doing that when I decided to go to art college.

"But it's good because it means I'm very practical."

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