Monday, September 29, 2014

Touring the Art District in Beijing (China Trip Post II)

Because my awesome husband knows me well, he made sure to schedule some time in our busy itinerary to visit the Art District (798) in Beijing. We spent the morning and early afternoon of our second day in Beijing, September 3, 20014, wandering around the streets in the bright sunshine to find galleries and shops. Below are photos of my favorites (not including all the art in galleries where we weren't allowed to take photos.)

There was everything from beautiful high end galleries to rough pop-up shops. I found a few printmakers. (And a "Printsaurus"?)

Of course I had to take some awkward tourist photos. (Best and most awkward one of this very white American shown below.)

We saw that statue guy a few times, and found even more of his clones hiding out of sight.

We found quite a variety of sculptures, usually outside the entrances of shops/galleries. The Santas, smoking Native American, and David looked rather out of place.

These huge felt light fixtures were in a stairwell that we climbed in hopes of finding another gallery, and they turned out to be far more interesting than the clothing shop upstairs.

The architecture was interesting, even under construction. (The girl in the shadows of the lower right corner of the first photo was sketching soon after I took this photo.)

There was a variety of graffiti, usually in smaller alleys and referencing popular Western culture. (The last wall looks like an electrician's nightmare.)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Meeting Ding Jitang in Xi'an (China Trip Post I)

Writing about my trip to China is probably more exciting for you readers than watching my slow progress on projects... so today I'm going to start a series of posts about the art-y experiences I had, starting with my favorite.

On Monday, September 8, 2014 my husband and I were touring around Xi'an. In the rainy afternoon/evening we wandered through the Muslim market (very popular with tourists!) and stumbled upon the shop of famed artist and printmaker, Ding Jitang.

After scanning shop after shop I was suddenly struck by a feeling of "hey... I know that artwork!" I tried so hard to contain my excitement as we went inside with the encouragement of the shopkeeper. This tiny old man appeared from the back, saying over and over "My work!" and pointing at the prints and paintings covering every inch of the walls. It was amazing to meet the artist himself and talk with him (sometimes with the help of the shopkeeper) using the limited English he knew and the limited Chinese that my husband knew.

I wish we knew more of each other's language so that I could've asked him better questions. Mr. Ding kept pulling out worn and faded newspaper and magazine articles to show me where his artwork had been featured - he was very exited to show me!

I was SO excited the entire time, yet trying to contain my enthusiasm so that my husband could bargain for some artwork for a good price (since we only had so much cash on us). We settled on a simple, unframed/ unmounted print that we both liked and also a book of Mr. Ding's work (translated awkwardly into English). We asked him to sign the book for us, and with the help of the shopkeeper he did.  

Meeting Ding Jitang and bringing back some of his work was definitely the best/nerdiest experience that this printmaker had during her trip to China! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

For Anna and Luke

(Thought I had a better photo of this... oops. And those dowels aren't trimmed and painted here yet.) 

Well, one copy of this big woodcut/linocut on canvas has been given to the newlyweds, Anna and Luke, and the other is up in the WLC Alumni art exhibit, so it's safe to share on the blog now. 

(Side note, it won an honorable memtion! Go see the show at WLC! I've got two prints there and I'm on the postcard, too.)

The text in the corner of this print is 1 Corinthians 13:13, and my husband helped with the translation, font, and layout choices. My mom was a huge help with hemming the edges.

Oh yes, and I should mention my husband and I went on a whirlwind trip to China to deliver this to the newlyweds. (Maybe more on that later.)