The Illustrations of Oamul

June 12, 2016 2016年6月12日

Often described as affable and charming, Lumao (aka Oamul) is a Xiamen-based illustrator and animator. As an artist living in this seaside city, the tropical climate and the changing of the seasons all play a part in influencing the aesthetics of his artwork. Oamul’s illustration books I found a star and Feribo have been well-received in the region, and has led to his name becoming fairly well known in China’s illustration community. Besides these two books, he has also worked on other collaborative projects: Hana’s Chizaocan, Chedigaibianlew and Maoli’s Bright Side of the Road were both illustrated by Lumao.


卤猫,这个邻家大男孩常常幽默地形容自己是“一只野生动画插画师”。现居于温暖湿润的厦门的他,喜欢在规律的四季变化中探寻自己创作的灵感。在中国插画圈小有名气的卤猫已经先后出版了个人绘本《找到这颗星球》和《狐狸卜》。并且通过与好友猫力和Hana合作,分别出版了《路上有微光》、《吃早餐,彻底改变了我》。

Oamul tells us his interest with illustration can be traced back to his childhood days when his older sister turned him onto drawing. Since then, the passion he held for the art form has been unwavering. His moniker, Oamul says, “My name’s origins are rather simple. I was often called a mao (cat) when I was a kid, and my last name is Lu. So all I did was combine the two.”


 卤猫告诉我们,由于童年时期受到姐姐的影响,他开始沉迷于绘画,并且一直坚持到现在未失半分热情。当被问及“卤猫”这个笔名源自哪里时,他说:“其实很简单啦,因为自己小时候在家里常被称呼为’猫’,加上自己的本姓叫做’卢’,便取了’卢’字的谐音与’猫’结合起来。”

Many of Oamul’s illustrations involve gorgeous natural landscapes. He seems to be gifted with the ability to grasp and articulate the delicate relation between man and nature through his images, and his work invokes a sense of emotion and moodiness that’s uniquely his. Admittedly, his preference for drawing nature can be attributed to his frequent excursions into the great outdoors. He often spends his free time traveling into forests and mountains, and fully immersing himself in the wonders of nature. “When I’m surrounded by the greenery of the beautiful outdoors, it’s easy to feel at ease and be at peace with everything.”


卤猫众多的插画作品中充满了对大自然的描绘,他总是能很好地把握住人与自然间微妙的关系,并在画面中赋予独特的情感。这大概要归功于卤猫时常走进大自然的怀抱,敢于潜入茂密的森林深处,让自己融入到自然中去,去切身体会人与自然间的丝丝联系。卤猫说:“当满眼收获绿色的时候,总会让人变得安心、舒适起来。”

Oamul believes that all of his favorite artists have influenced his work to some extent. “When you look at the artworks of many great artists, those artworks become deeply rooted in your heart without you realizing it. Then one day, when you’re drawing away, you’ll notice every brushstroke have been influenced by their work in one form or another.”


卤猫认为,他所喜爱的那些艺术家,在某种程度上,积极地影响着自己。“因为当你看到大量风格迥异的作品之后,那些你认为好的东西,其实会在你的内心深处扎根。直到有一天,你开始尝试用画笔表达自己的时候,它们便会在一笔一画中重新流露出来。”

Oamul considers traveling and reading to be crucial tools for fostering knowledge and creativity. These two things constantly inspire him and drive him to create new works of art. In his view, traveling to new places is exciting, and leaving your comfort zone will forcibly bring about new ideas. On the other hand, reading can bring about a sense of calm, and sometimes certain words and phrases in books have the power to trigger vivid mental imagery to provide ideas for new works.


卤猫时常通过旅行和阅读去培养自己的知识面,并让自己保持持续的创作灵感。他认为,旅行总是能让自己超出现有的生活圈,并激发出新的想法;而当静下来翻阅书籍时,一词一句则时常会让你不自觉地联想出一幅幅有关自己的画面来。

In Oamul’s illustration book Feribo, the main character is a small fox who’s trying to improve himself for a rabbit that he adores. This series was a huge fan favorite. “The idea for this actually came about accidentally. I noticed that carrots in the marketplace resembled foxes: their color, shape, and so on. As I refined this idea more and more, I began to feel like this fox was telling me a story. So I started drawing it.” Oamul revealed to us that the story of this fox doesn’t just end with this book. Besides hinting at a future Feribo sequel, Oamul is also busy preparing a small art exhibition that will be open to the public soon!


在绘本《狐狸卜》中,主角小狐狸为了心爱的兔子努力让自己变得更好,这一形象深受读者喜爱。卤猫说:“狐狸卜这个形象其实是偶然诞生的,因为我觉得菜市场的葫芦卜无论从颜色还是形象来说,都像极了一只小狐狸。在狐狸卜的形象成熟之后,我觉得他在告诉我他自己的故事,然后我便将它们一一绘画了出来。”他还透露说,狐狸卜的故事还会继续创作下去。此外,近期他正在准备一个小画展,这个画展将很快与读者见面。

Website: oamul.com
Tumblr: ~/oamul

 

Contributor: Tom Zhang
Images Courtesy of Oamul


网站oamul.com
Tumblr~/oamul

 

供稿人: Tom Zhang
图片由卤猫提供

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The Man in Between Two Phrases

June 11, 2016 2016年6月11日

 

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Shun Kawakami is a Japanese artist and designer known for his signature style and ingenious approach that adopts the beauty of traditional Japanese aesthetics. He was born in Fukugawa, the old town of Tokyo, where Edo-era culture is still deeply engrained into the daily life of residents there. “Being born in that town and being raised by my grandfather who was a traditional craftsman influenced me a lot. He was the typical Edokko and actually used to wear a kimono everyday.”


日本の伝統美を取り入れたその独創的なスタイルとアプローチで知られるアーティスト・デザイナー、川上俊は、未だに江戸文化が深く根付いている東京の古都、深川に生まれた。川上氏は言う「生まれ育った深川という町、そして、伝統職人だった祖父の影響は大きいと思います。江戸っ子気質で、毎日着物を着ているような、そんな人でした。」

After working several years as a designer for a small company, Kawakami left and began working independently. He did a bit of graphics design for +81 Magazine, which was generating a lot of buzz in Japan at the time and is now regarded as one of the most innovative art and culture publications. Kawakami’s work started to receive attention overseas, and that recognition eventually turned into numerous prestigious international awards. Not complacent in the success, Kawakami continued to explore different creative methods of self expression. Also around this same time, Kawakami set off on his tour that took him around the world exhibiting his art.


デザイナーとして数年間会社勤めした後に独立した川上氏は、「+81 magazine」等のグラフィックデザインを手がけ、国内で注目を浴びるようになる。やがて、海外からも目にとまるようになった氏の作品は、国内外からの賞を数々受賞するようになった。同時に、川上氏は独自の表現を追求し続けるため、精力的な個展巡礼を始めた。

Kawakami is actively involved in a wide array of creative endeavors: he dabbles in interactive art, film, product design, and installation art, among others. “To me, there isn’t much difference between art and design,” Kawakami says. He says that even though these two forms of expressions are completely different things, the approach feels the same.


今日に至っての川上氏の領域は多岐にわたり、 アート、 デザイン、タイポグラフィック、インタラクティブ、映像、インスタレーション、空間演出など、アートとデザイン双方から多方面へアプローチを続け、国内外問わずグローバルに活動を行っている。「僕にとって、デザインとアートって、そんなに違いはなくて」と自信のアプローチについて語った川上氏、表現に違いはあれど、彼にとって、向き合い方は同じものだと言う。

The majority of Kawakami’s artwork involves Japanese pines trees. He’s fascinated in the asymmetrical nature of their form, and the organic flow of their lines. In the disarray of leaves and branches, he’s able to find a sense of beauty. Kawakami combines the unique features of these Japanese trees with his masterful use of negative space to create beautiful pieces of art.


川上氏の作品には、日本の松をモチーフとしたものが、多く見られる。松という樹の非対称なフォルムに美しさ、そして、流れを感じるのだと言う。これらの樹々の独特な形と彼の巧みな空間の使い方によって、美しい作品が作り出されているのだ。

Kawakami still tours alongside his art and hosts exhibitions around the world. He says that traveling not only exposes him to different cultures, but it also provides him a huge amount of artistic inspiration. Kawakami considers his travels to to be a crucial aspect of his work. “By traveling to many places, you’re exposed to new experiences and knowledge. I can then convert them to my ‘phrase’ and that inspires me to produce new pieces of art.”


精力的に個展を開き、常時国内外を移動している川上氏にとって、多くの文化に触れ、様々なインスピレーションを受けられる旅は非常に重要なものだと言う。「多くの旅をすることで、経験や知識を得て、それを自分の表現に『変換』することで、作品を作り続けられるから」

Website: shunkawakami.jp
Facebook: ~/shunkawakami
Instagram:  ~/shunkawakami


ウェブサイト: shunkawakami.jp
Facebook: ~/shunkawakami
Instagram:  ~/shunkawakami

Contributor, Photographer & Videographer: Yasuyuki Kubota
A
dditional Images Courtesy of Shun Kawakami


寄稿者、カメラマン&ビデオ撮影: Yasuyuki Kubota
Additional Images Courtesy of Shun Kawakami

Watercolor in Motion

June 10, 2016 2016年6月10日

Woody Allen’s films are known for their sense of humor, quirky dialog, thought-provoking scenes, and jazz-filled classic soundtracks. There are many people who consider Woody Allen’s movies to be masterpieces and highly inspiring works of art. One of those people is Tu Qian, a graphic designer who graduated from the Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Born in Shanghai and now based in London, this artist’s long-standing infatuation with Woody Allen’s movies directly translates into her creative work – a continually growing collection of animated GIFs that reproduces some of her favorite moments from Woody Allen’s films.


美国导演Woody Allen的电影一向以其标志性的风格为人所知,幽默、喋喋不休、知识分子气质、背景的爵士乐……均是他作品的粉丝们所欲罢不能的。来自上海、现居伦敦的涂迁也是这众多粉丝中的一员。毕业于圣马丁艺术与设计学院,现为平面设计师的她,制作了一系列基于Woody Allen电影的GIF动图,以她自己的角度表现了电影作品里无处不在的细腻。

“His films are all superb, and he makes it seem so effortless,” she says admiringly. “Take the Money and Run, which came out in 1969, was a film that Allen wrote, directed, and starred in. That film really opened my eyes.” Tu Qian has since been selecting her favorite scenes from Woody Allen’s movies and transforming them into animated watercolor GIF images, starting with Take the Money and Run (1969), to Love and Death (1975), to the more recent Magic in the Moonlight (2014). These films, and all the others in between, have been an important part of Tu Qian’s growth as an artist.


他电影的画面有种随随便便的好看。这位设计师说道,“1969年他自己演的《Take the Money and Run》让我开了眼。于是,从《Take the Money and Run》、1975年的《Love and Death》,到2014年的《Magic in the Moonlight》等多部电影中,涂迁选择了给她留下深刻印象的片段,进行了二次创作。

“I spend time thinking about things like: ‘If I could only draw one scene from a movie, which would it be?’. For example, the scene in Vicky Cristina Barcelona where Vicky was sitting alone by the sea probably doesn’t seem like anything special, but I was able to feel her emotions through the movie screen. In that moment, she wasn’t Scarlett Johansson, and she wasn’t Vicky, but she was just a regular person I could relate with – just a sad girl who was trying to cope with her sorrows on the beach,” Tu Qian says. Different people naturally have different interpretations of the films. The specific scenes that Tu Qian has recreated over the years are special to her, and reflect her own unique personal viewing experience.


她说: 我会想一想,如果一部电影只能画一张,那我会画哪张。比如Vicky独自在海边坐着的场景,没什么特别的 ,但我觉得我隔着屏幕感到了她的情绪,在那分钟她不是Scarlett Johansson也不是Vicky,她就是和平常人一样难过了会去海边发呆的小姑娘。正如每个人对电影有着不同的理解,她对这些片段也有着自己的选择标准。

Tu Qian also admits to a fascination with the work of American abstract painter Mark Rothko, and Russian painter Kazimir Malevich, the originator of the avant-garde Suprematist movement. “(In their work) the color choices and composition emits a very raw sense of emotion and an emphasis on purity of form,” she says. The influences of these two artists are subtly at play in her work. It can be seen in the large canvas of color she frames her subjects in, and also in the orderly way she uses movement to bring her characters to life.


涂迁深深着迷于美国抽象派画家Mark Rothko,以及俄国画家和至上主义艺术奠基人Kazimir Malevich的作品。她告诉我们: “(他们作品里的)颜色和构成让我觉得他们的东西里有很多情绪、纯粹感知的重要。”涂迁大块色彩平铺的画面里,以及那些从具体故事情节中抽离出来的动作中,这个系列视觉和叙事风格中都或隐或现两位艺术家的印记。

Even though Tu Qian’s signature style and her obsession with creating animated GIF images all originated from her love of Woody Allen’s movies, she has been moving towards different subject matters lately. Her Fog series is a collection of images that beautifully captures the essence of various animals simply through their silhouette and movement, and her Daily (E)motion series is also continually growing with new works being added periodically.


带着这种艺术风格,和她对loop这种表现形式的着迷,在由Woody Allen电影启发出来的系列之后,她继续挖掘创作题材。于是这就有了接下来表现动物动态的《迷雾》系列,以及后来的《Daily (E)Motion》系列,并且一直不停在扩展中。

Tu Qian’s ability to poetically capture a sense of ambiguity in both mood and movement in her infinitely looping GIFs leaves a lot of room for the viewer’s imagination to take over. And as humble as she is skilled, Tu Qian lightheartedly pokes fun of her own work by saying, “When you see the first one, you’ll find it interesting. But by the time you see the tenth one, you’ll find it boring.”


”你看第一个的时候会觉得有趣,看到第十个的时候就会觉得无聊。”涂迁对于自己的超短篇水彩动画打趣地评价道。但是有趣的是,她笔下那些不明确的动作和不明确的情绪,在一遍又一遍的loop中,似乎也有了一种独特如诗般的意境。

Website~/tuqian
Tumblr~/12amto12pm

 

Contributor: Banny Wang


网站~/tuqian
Tumblr~/12amto12pm

 

供稿人: Banny Wang

Cao Fei’s Multimedia Art

June 7, 2016 2016年6月7日

Guangzhou-born artist Cao Fei uses her art as a medium to discuss life, culture, and societal issues. Being amongst the first generation of artists to grow up after China’s reform and opening up to the world, her aesthetics and creation process have been influenced by both Eastern and Western culture. Cao Fei’s frequent participation in the Venice Biennales, and her impressive body of work has led to her being known as one of the most influential young artists in China. Her video installation Whose Utopia? is part of Tate Modern’s collection in London. She also spent three years working on RMB City, a virtual city completely built in the online game Second Life; an entire chapter in the book Art Since 1900 is even devoted to the project. Neocha recently chatted with Cao Fei about her philosophy in art and in life.


来自广州的艺术家曹斐用影像探讨生活、文化和社会现象。她是出生在中国改革开放后的第一代艺术家,审美和创作深受国际化后中国社会和文化影响。曹斐多次参与威尼斯双年展,是中国近年来最有影响力的青年艺术家之一。她记录工厂生活的视频装置《谁的乌托邦?》收入英国伦敦泰特当代艺术馆馆藏,耗时三年有余建造的数字虚拟城市《RMB City》被收入《1900年以来的艺术》一书。新茶和曹斐聊了聊她的创作哲学。

Neocha: Your work has been shown in both art galleries and cinemas. Sometimes they are called experimental films, sometimes video art. How do you feel about the difference between the two experiences?

Cao Fei: Being in a cinema is about “immersion”, which means the experience revolves around focusing on the film. When the doors are closed, the audience has to finish the film within an allocated period of time without interruption. It allows the audience to experience everything in its entirety – whether they like or dislike the film, people are more compelled to stay in the room and watch. In cinemas, I expect the audience to watch the entire film. However, in galleries and museums, the videos are shown in spaces that are open to the public on a loop – so it’s a matter of “fate” if the audience even sees the film. Distractions are another issue for galleries since people are constantly moving about. I don’t mind a bunch of people walking around to view art installations, performances, or paintings. But nowadays, video art has become a “fluid art form”; if I had to choose I would have my videos in open galleries. I want the audience to have different ways of viewing my work and allow my films the chance to reach more people.


Neocha: 你的作品游刃于艺术馆和电影院之间,有时是实验电影,有时是视频艺术。其中的经历有什么不同?

曹斐: 电影院更多是关于 “倾注”,对观影的独占,即在电影院“关上门”的前提下,迫使观众在影片全长度时间内观看完毕,期间没有任何干扰,让观众体验完整的信息传达,无论过程中厌恶还是嫌弃沉闷都难以离场。在电影院内,我希望观众看完整部作品。而美术馆、双年展通常是在开放式的展览场地进行循环播映,观众和影像的相遇相随相知靠的是“缘分”,观众受到往来观众的干扰是存在的。我不介意一堆人来来往往在展场各自观看一个装置、表演、绘画,但当录像艺术变成“流动”的艺术品的今天,我的选择是“开放的”,就是给予观众体验不同的观影方式,也是给予影片更多的与人相遇的机会。

Neocha: Many of your works, such as I, Mirror and La Town, discuss the relationship and communication between cultures and countries. What’s your most direct impression of the cultural differences between the East and the West, and how do you get your inspirations from both?

Cao Fei: The cores of Eastern and Western cultures are religions and traditions, and it’s these things that pulls the two different cultures towards each other. As for whether a piece of work is “Western” or “Eastern,” many artists of the new generation don’t see it so black-and-white; because if you look at the East from a Western point of view, you’d expect something “Eastern”. My vision and aesthetics are a mixture of post-modern cultures. It’s a combination of the different cultures that poured into China after globalization and me being exposed to so many different cultures in this modern age of interconnectivity.


Neocha: 你的很多作品包括《I, Mirror》和《La Town》都讨论到不同的文化和国度之间的关系和交流。你在工作中对中西文化差别最直观的感受在哪里,是否从中汲取灵感?

曹斐: 东西文化背后延续的信仰与传统内核,它会成为东西文化中相互吸引的核心。关于讨论作品的中式或西化,在很多新代际的艺术家中已经消弭,因为通常在西方的角度看东方,会惯性期待“东方性”。我的视觉与审美,美学教育和文化营养大部分是后现代的混杂,自即全球化之初前互联网时代的各种文化进入中国后的大融汇。

Neocha: At which stage of the creation process do you say: “Yes, this is exactly what I want to make”? Do you dive in from there or do you simply start working and see how it turns out? For example, in the making of San Yuan Li, you used multiple cameras and you edited the film yourself. Did you finish the filming first and began editing, or did you work back and forth between shooting and editing? How about some of your bigger projects such as La Town?

Cao Fei: There was no script for La Town, and it was the same for many of the shots in the I, Mirror and RMB City series. I usually just begin with a fairly vague idea and make storyboards in my head. The concept only gets refined after it’s been shot. Even as a child, I liked starting with a small and simple idea, then slowly flesh out the entire concept. The back-and-forth shooting and editing happens commonly in my productions. After locking in a set theme for San Yuan Li, the six or seven of us scattered and shot in different locations. We’d regroup from time to time to check the footage and discuss what we wanted to shoot next, which direction we wanted to go in, and what needed to be adjusted. Many of my projects are a combination of spontaneity, flexibility, pre-production, and post-production. My projects are like sponges; they absorb everything as they come without discriminating. There is also a lot of flexibility and my projects have been able to adapt easily to unforeseen issues. Many people consider I, Mirror to be an animated film, but in reality it’s a documentary. The Second Life online game already existed, and every virtual avatar is controlled by a real person. I created a character named “China Tracy,” travelled this virtual world for half a year, and simply recorded the journey.


Neocha: 在创作的过程中,哪个阶段会说“对,这就是我想做的主题/形式”,然后投入去做,还是会先做起来再看结果会是怎么呈现的?比如在拍《三元里》的时候,有这么多的摄像机,你又亲自做剪辑,是否全部拍完之后再后期,还是会有来来回回补充拍摄的过程?再像《La Town》这样比较大型的项目呢?

曹斐:《La Town》没有剧本,《I,Mirror》、 《RMB City》项目里很多影像作品也没有。通常我大概有个方向,分镜头都在脑子里,拍出来其实才是具象的勾画。我自小的特点是喜欢从一个局部入手,然后勾勒出全貌。来来回回补充拍摄肯定经常有,《三元里》有了题旨以后,我们六、七个人分散在不同街道拍摄,不定期聚会大家一起看素材,讨论接下来再拍点什么,哪些方向内容需要继续发展或调整。我很多项目是结合随性随机与前期规划,也有后规划。可以像海绵一样肆意吸收,也需要现场的机动应变与临时发挥的紧急感。对于《I, Mirror》,很多人以为我做了动画片,但是其实是纪录片,因为“第二人生”这个平台已经存在了。每个化身后面都是一个真实的人在操控。我创作了“China Tracy”这个角色在平台里环游世界半年,记录了这个过程。

Neocha: Most of your work uses music instead of narration; however, in La Town you used long narration. What led to this choice?

Cao Fei: Music has the narrative function in most of my works. La Town uses the new wave French film Hiroshima, My Love as a reference. The video was realistic, so I needed an alien language and alien expressions to use in a conversation in order to dilute the “realism”. I wanted to create a contrast between the imagery and the text, and have the audience think about the different layers of meaning outside of the actual video. Out of all the musicians I’ve worked with, Dickson Dee is one of the few that fully understands the kind of music that I want. We worked together for La Town, Chain Reaction, and San Yuan Li. He’s an “artist of sound” and not just a common musician. The way that we worked together was I would first cut a rough draft, send it to him, and then we’d discuss the vibes or mood I wanted in this part, then what I expected to have in the next part. We’re constantly discussing and fleshing everything out. After he sends the music to me, I’ll tinker with everything to see how it all fits together.


Neocha: 你的许多作品都是用了非常棒的音乐音效,而不用人物念白,在《La Town》中用了大篇幅的对话。这是基于什么考虑?

曹斐: 对于大部分我的作品,音乐承担了旁白的功能。《La Town》参考和套用了新浪潮电影《广岛之恋》的法语对白,《La Town》影像上是写实主义的,因此需要一些外来的语言、语意,用对话的氛围把画面传达的“实”给稀释掉,以生产某种图像和文本相互之间差异性的对照,从而将观众思绪引到画面以外更多的层次当中。Dickson Dee是我合作音乐家里很懂得导演或我本人要的音乐强度的。一起合作的作品有《La Town》,《Chain Reaction》和《三元里》。他是声音艺术家,不是普遍意义上的作曲家。我们合作是我先剪一个大概给他看,我和他讨论,第一部分我要怎么样的一个状态,第二部分是怎样的。这些需要不断交流,然后他再做一版音乐给我,我再调试。

Neocha: Do you feel like your artistic pursuits and commercial works conflict with one another?

Cao Fei: Each project is different. I’ve participated in many public art projects. For example, I worked on the Lejiu Tuxin project that involved light installations on Hong Kong’s tallest building, the International Commerce Centre. All of Hong Kong could see my art on this landmark; the audience could even listen to the accompanying music on their iPhones. At the Hong Kong M+ Museum’s inflation exhibition in 2013, I made a huge inflatable sculpture in the shape of a roasted piglet (a traditional sacrifice in southern China), and the audience could walk into its body. I would see entire families queue to see the artwork on weekends. For me, there really isn’t much conflict between creating personal artistic work and commercial work.


Neocha: 艺术创作和追求商业价值会有冲突吗?

曹斐: 不同项目诉求不同,我参与不少公共艺术项目,比如2015香港最高的大楼ICC环球贸易大厦灯光艺术项目《乐旧∙图新》,全港人都能看到我的影像作品出现在其地标建筑上。观众在现场可以通过苹果手机听到伴奏的音乐。2013香港M+美术馆九龙充气展,我制作了一头巨大的观众能进入其体内的充气式烧猪(烧猪是南方祭祀用的食品),假日时一家大小男女老少排队入内参观。艺术创作和追求商业价值的冲突是想像与对立出来了。

Neocha: Many of your works are related to living spaces, and can be quite philosophical. Do you think artists bear the responsibility to change the world for others and for society?

Cao Fei: Chinese artists simply cannot escape the topic of politics. I was born in Guangzhou. In the 1980s, a lot of western culture, pop culture, and Cantonese TV and films were available in the region. Guangzhou is far from the city centre, so artists there seemed to be more playful with their work. Even though they would discuss politics, they used humor to do it. Art is to surpass the sense of political correctness and to break through the limit of the things we thought we’ve known. Art should transcend the status quo, standards, and correctness. The greatest reward is making an amazing piece of art and having the opportunity to share it with everybody in the world.


Neocha: 你的许多作品都和生存空间有关,会对生活有深层次的哲学思考。你觉得艺术家有改变世界、他人社会责任吗?

曹斐: 中国的艺术家逃不出政治这个问题。我出生在广州,80年代初很多西方文化、流行文化、香港影剧涌入。广州又离中心很远,所以广州的艺术家作品很玩味儿,即使讨论政治也是用幽默的方式。艺术,更多是要超越社会要求的“正确性”,打破既定事物的认知边界,去常识、标准化,正确性。做出好作品能与世人分享,就是最高的馈赠。

Website: caofei.com

 

Contributor: Shanshan Chen
Images Courtesy of Cao Fei & Vitamin Creative Space


网站: caofei.com

 

供稿人: Shanshan Chen
图片由曹斐与Vitamin Creative Space提供

Monster Muji

June 3, 2016 2016年6月3日

Meet Mao Guan Shuai, a Chinese artist who’s able to integrate the imperfections of wood as a central part of his stunning sculptures. Born in Ningbo, Zhejiang, this skilled artisan now works under the moniker Guaishou (aka Monster). “The soul and essence of a tree can be found in all its imperfections,” he says. The gaping mouth of a figure seemingly frozen in an endless scream, and a series of human forms with damaged physiques – these are just some of the ways he’s reimagined what might be viewed as flawed material by others. Through a meticulous process of cutting, chiseling, chainsawing, sandpapering, and carving, Guaishou liberates these lifelike figures that have been hiding in these blocks of wood all along. His fascination with woodworking led to him starting his personal studio Guaishou Muji in 2013. In the beginning, he was only creating simple and practical products such as spoons and plates, but over time, his creations eventually evolved into the wildly creative and innovative works of art that he is known for today. Neocha recently had the chance to talk to Guaishou about his creative process and his growth as an artist.


“树的结疤更像是树的灵魂。”他说。于是这些结疤在他手里,成了一个人在呐喊的口,成了一个人千疮百孔的躯体……削、凿、电锯切割、砂纸戳刀打磨,他对作品的处理方式从来不拘一格。他符号化的作品中充满了木头重新绽放的生命力。他是木作工作室“怪兽木记”的创立人——怪兽。怪兽本名毛冠帅,浙江宁波人,环境与艺术专业出身,自学木作。2013年工作室成立时,怪兽仅年方四五。从最初制作勺子盘子摆饰等小器物,到雕塑等艺术类木作创作,我们怪兽谈了谈他的创作和其成长过程。

Neocha: How did you become interested in woodworking?

Guaishou: I first encountered woodworking during the junior year of college. I later found myself once taking notice at how the furniture looked in a restaurant; they were old, simple, and rather quaint. I thought to myself: “Wouldn’t it be great if I made my own furniture one day?” That’s how it all began. Of course, you can’t just make a piece of furniture right away as an amateur woodworker. I first started with simple things like spoons and plates. I referenced woodworking tutorials and guides online, bought some basic tools, and just started working towards figuring it all out. I’m really particular about how the wood is treated. It’s a big part of how it is presented to people. So I’ll take many steps to ensure that it’s done just right. But of course, there are only so many ways of finishing wood. I suppose this was one of the reasons that I started doing woodwork – because it’s rather simple. It’s unlike other crafts such as pottery that involves more complicated processes. For woodworking, you just need a little motivation and your own two hands.


Neocha: 你最初是怎么进入木作这个领域的呢?

怪兽: 我大学三年级时第一次做木头,之前完全没接触过。有次去餐厅,注意到里面的家具很古朴很好看。我当时就想,如果自己有一天可以做家具也很好。当然,一开始就做家具也不可能,所以就从勺子、盘子之类的开始。我参考网络上的制作教程,买了很简单的工具,就开始纯手工制作、摸索。我很注重作品的表面处理,因为这也是最终呈现给大家的,所以会用很多不同的处理方式。但做木头终归也就是这些手法,这也是我做木头的一个原因,就是它比较简单,不像陶瓷等还需要烧制,只要有点动手能力你就可以去做。

Neocha: In the beginning, you wanted to create things that had practical uses – but now your vision has shifted towards favoring creativity over practicality. What were your creative outlets prior to this?

Guaishou: I used to love photography and illustration. Photography is my favorite, but I’ve been interested in illustration since I was a little kid. It’s funny how making wooden spoons led me to discover a new means of creative expression. I am still making spoons, but I’m making artwork like sculptures as well. Maybe it’s because there are so many people making practical things that it has made me want to do something different. I suppose I’m just following my heart. I’m the kind of person that does whatever pops into my head, and I feel like that spontaneity translates into my style.


Neocha: 从最初想做实用家具,到后来发现自己更倾向于创作。这种创作欲的来源是什么?在这之前你的创作方式是什么?

怪兽: 之前我很喜欢摄影和画画。摄影是我的最爱,画画则是从小就开始的。做勺子把我带到现在这条路上,让我发现新的创作语言。我依然在做勺子,但是做勺子的同时也可以做艺术化的雕塑啊!可能是因为做勺子的人多, 所以我想做点不一样的东西。也可能只是我在追随自己的内心。因为我就是想到什么就去做,然后逐渐形成自己的风格。

Neocha: You mentioned that it sometimes takes many unsuccessful attempts before you can complete a piece of work. Is this common for your work?

Guaishou: Not always. When I first started carving sculptures the initial attempt would often be a failure or end up being something I’m not proud of. Once I’ve done it a few times, the later productions will be error-free. But whenever I start on a new series of work, I’ll face a new set of problems. So before I even begin any actual physical work, I first form a clear concept and draft a rough sketch. If it is something I’m really interested in creating, I’ll make it happen no matter what. If I don’t succeed the first time, I’ll try again and again. For me, the ability to turn my ideas into something tangible is the most fascinating thing about my creative process. I really enjoy the creation process. I often take a little time to admire and appreciate the finalized work before moving on and fully devoting myself into the next project.


Neocha: 你提到有些作品做几次才做成,这在你的创作中是一种常态吗?

怪兽: 不完全是。比如有些人像雕塑,我刚开始做的时候,会经历第一遍做坏掉,或者不满意的情况。同一类型的作品到后面一般不会出差错了。然而创作一个新系列时,又会有不同的问题出现。基本上,在制作之前,我会先构思好,画出设计手稿。只要是我想做的东西,我都会把它做出来,一遍不行就两遍。把脑中的设想变成现实的时候,对我来说就是创作过程中最有意思的事。我很享受创作的过程。一个作品实现的时候,去欣赏去看,然后再投入到下一个创作中去。

Neocha: What do you consider to be your three favorite pieces of work thus far?

Guaishou: One of my favorites is the sculpture of a peeing dog. When I started creating my canine series, this peeing dog was the first piece I completed. You can’t identify it as a specific breed, and the ambiguous nature of it is a form of symbolism in a way. The act of peeing to mark his territory is also symbolic. This is my favorite piece out of my entire canine collection.

Another favorite of mine is a portrait of a human face. The contour of the face is created with iron wires, and the facial features are made with wood. The nose, eyes, and mouth were created quite abstractly. I was inspired by Picasso. This is also another collection of work that relies on heavy symbolism.

Lastly is a piece of work called Xiaosideren. Out of all of my works, I had the most trouble with this particular series. It is also quite different from my previous work. I wanted these sculptures to give a sense that the person is vanishing. It represents a change from the present to the future. Some viewers thought it looked like a person who was slowly disappearing and fading away, but other people instead saw a person being reconstructed and being made whole again. Different people will have different interpretations. In the end, this piece of work is a statement about the dynamic process of undergoing change.


Neocha: 到目前为止,你个人最喜欢的是哪三个作品?为什么?

怪兽:第一个是那个在撒尿的狗,我当时开始做一个犬的系列。这只在撒尿的犬,是这个系列中的第一只。它模糊了品种,是符号性的一只狗,但是它在撒尿,在给领地做标记,完全是符号性地。这也是我在犬的系列中最喜欢的一个作品。

第二个作品算是一个人脸的形象。外围的铁丝,作为脸的轮廓,木材部分是五官,鼻子眼睛跟嘴巴都很抽象。灵感来自毕加索的绘画。这也是一个符号性的东西。

第三个作品叫做《消失的人》。做这个作品经历的失败次数属我创作以来之最。不同于我平时的人像,我希望它给人一种正在消失的动态感。它是从某个现在时刻进行到未来时刻的一个变化的过程动态。作品出来后,有人觉得是人在逐渐模糊至看不到,有人觉得是它是在重组一个人……不同的人可以有不同的解读。但不管怎样,它反映的都是一个变化,一个过程,一种动态。

Neocha: Can you describe your typical day for us? How much of your day is spent working?

Guaishou: I am only focused on woodworking nowadays. My average day begins with me going to the studio at around 8 a.m. and working until 11 a.m. I’ll then go home for lunch and resume working at 1 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. My work day is usually about seven to eight hours long. But if there’s work I didn’t finish in the day, I will stay in the studio until it’s finished. For all my pieces, I always hope to finish in one day and not drag it out to the next day. Then later at night, I like to read and think about potential ideas for new creations.


Neocha: 你现在每天的生活 / 工作状态是什么样的?

怪兽:  我现在就只专注木作这件事。平时每天大概8点多去工作室,工作到11点多,回家吃午饭,下午1点钟再开始工作,到5点半。通常每天7-8个小时左右的工作时间。如果有白天没做完的工作,我就会在工作室继续完成它。在创作上,我总是希望一天的事情可以一天做完,不想拖到第二天。到了晚上,就看书看资料,构思一些新的东西。

Neocha: Having worked with wood for three years now, do you feel like there’s a common subject that you find yourself gravitating towards? Why is that?

Guaishou: My favorite subject is humans. I enjoy finding different ways to present the human form. The entire body, only revealing half of a body, experimenting with different techniques, and so on. My creations tend to only have two eyes and a nose, and they’re typically genderless individuals. I tend to incorporate symbolism in all of my work related to humans, but the use of symbolism is quite common in my work. When people look at artwork that’s presented like a human, they’ll often see their own likeness in the work. Different people will extract different meanings from the artwork. Portraits will resonate with more people; this is why they they’re so appealing to me.


Neocha: 创作这么久以来, 你有没有特别专注的某一个主题?为什么?

怪兽我最喜欢创作的是人,用不同方式去表现人,全身的,半身的,各种不同制作手法……我创作的人,脸上最多只有两只眼睛一个鼻子,没有明显的性别倾向。我希望做出来的人都是具有符号性——这个是我作品里很统一的一点。人看人像作品时,常常会往自己身上靠,不同的人有不同的理解,但人像的确可以让更多的人产生共鸣,这就是我喜欢的理由。

Last month, the Weizaiweizai art gallery in Shanghai held a solo exhibition of Guaishou’s work. This small art gallery hidden away on Anfu Road had to end the exhibition prematurely because nearly all of Guaishou’s work sold out faster than anticipated. Guaishou is already preparing for his next exhibition that’s planned for early next year. So be sure to keep your eyes peeled!


在刚刚过去的五月,上海的画廊“未在 味在”举办了怪兽的个人作品展。尽管安福路上的这个画廊连极为低调、颇为难找,这次展览仍然因为展品几近售罄,不得不提前闭幕。现在的他已经开始为明年年初的展览创作新的一批作品,令人不禁好奇和期待!

Weibo: ~/gsbest

 

Contributor: Banny Wang
Images Courtesy of Mao Guan Shuai


微博~/gsbest

 

供稿人: Banny Wang
图片由毛冠帅提供