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! 

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