You still remember this artwork? Actually, I picked it as an example appearing in here for a personal reason. The content involved in this artwork conveys a strong friendship between two good friends when they are about to separate from each other. I think it’s a reflection of my experiences which are happening now. Though going aboard is not a big deal, it is hard to be apart from friendships that have lasted twenty years or longer. Encountering with an unfamiliar environment, you must have something to rely on in case of isolation and fear. This may sound a little bit severe. Now I’m lucky to have a hobby that I insist on practicing and strengthening, which is Chinese Calligraphy.
At first, let me show you what we need to do this work. There is no doubt that we need a tool to accomplish good work. Here it is.
I think it is called a calligraphy brush. It is made of animal’s fur and woods. It is more like a pen you write with, but it is much bigger and heavier. There are many different kinds of calligraphy brushes, different types, different shapes, but it is pity that I just brought two with me from China to the U.S. Till now, I still do not use them for a single minute, the reason is not that I want to conserve them as a souvenir but I can’t find ink that matches with this stuff. Here comes a new conception. The ink, I mean, is much more different from yours. I don’t know what exactly the ingredient of ink in Chinese calligraphy is, but I confirm that it does have special materials in it. In a way, the calligraphy brush and the ink are basic elements which compose Chinese calligraphy. You can’t begin writing without them, like you can’t breathe without air.
I can’t even explain it to you in Chinese. I don’t know how to translate it. The function of it is to protect the calligraphy brush from damage. It is like a sheath, such as the relation of scabbard and sword. After you finish your work, you have to clean up your brush. Then, you put them in this stuff and roll it over with a tie fastened. It may sound odd. However, it is a tradition that passes on from an ancient era. We should follow the rules even it may be old-fashioned.
Now the important figure shows up. Can you guess who is my teacher guiding me all the way? Of course, in the center of the cluster, the man who was smiling walked into my camera. He is a very kind and generous man who is very famous in my province in China. Though he is always smiling, he is very strict with my practices. Even if I write a character without my full attention or my eyes are roaming, he sees it and makes me stop to think it over. Obeying to these strict rules, I can truly learn something useful. He always tells me that one charter you write with is a reflexion of your inside. So if you do not focus on what you are writing, the charter will not be received by others. Through a rough calculation, he has been devoted to education of this art for thirty years. Once I asked him why he doesn’t feel bored when he has been in this field for so long. He just told me that it is his honor and expectation for seeing more and more people starting to learn this traditional culture.
What a happy family. My teacher’s wife and his son. This was shot last summer in China. Three of them are very good at Chinese calligraphy. They are all my models to learn from.
In my memory, it was a performance in a gala evening. Please focus on my teacher’s action, I think at that time he thought of nothing but his artwork. I was the guy who was assisting him by his side. Anyway, it was a wonderful performance.
I try my best to explain what is the differences these calligraphy work. This one called regular script or standard script. As you can see, each stroke of Chinese character is distinctive, and the framework of this piece is very formal and orderly. If you know Chinese, you can easily recognize what every character is.
Look at this one. Even a Chinese person may not recognize what the every character is. Honestly, this piece of work reaches a high peak of art, which is far beyond me. This is one of my teacher’s artworks. It can’t be learned, it needs perception and digestion. Every stroke of Chinese character flows like water, from one side to the other. This one is called cursive writing.
You may think it is the same style as the last one but it is not. I don’t underestimate you, but you need to study the system of Chinese calligraphy in order to tell the differences of these two artworks. You first need to obtain the basic knowledge of them.
At last, I want to express my wishes in Chinese style. Chinese has a traditional spring festival every year, like Christmas. We have a traditional custom that we must put New year Scrolls in the front of our doors for celebrating the prospect for next year. So here is my best wishes to all of you.