Tag Archives: 中国

Out of the Closet

我们采访者其一的纹身,意为“生来如此”。/ One of our interviewees' tattoos.

The second season of Qipa Shuo, a popular Chinese talk show, featured an episode on the issue of whether gays and lesbians should come out to their parents. It brought tens of millions of clicks to the online video platform iQiyi and quickly became a hot topic of conversation. Then the episode was taken down by censors, on the grounds that it dealt with “sensitive issues.”

In LGBTQ circles, coming out is a dividing line. Most of those who cross it have made up their minds to be themselves, or to free themselves from a long-held mental burden.

But what happens once you’re out?

Chinese society is becoming more and more tolerant, and online programs can now discuss issues like coming out. But tolerance isn’t the same as equality. You can talk about coming out, but you can’t openly embrace your identity.

According to the “Third Annual China LGBTQ Community Survey,” published by Work for LGBT in late 2016, in mainland China only very few LGBTQ people, around 5%, are fully out of the closet (to their families, friends, and coworkers). Around 20% have come out to some family members, 56% have come out to their friends, and 30% are entirely closeted.

We interviewed seven members of the younger generation who have already come out to at least one of their parents. While none of the seven were rejected by their families, that doesn’t mean that everything’s out in the open.


《奇葩说》有一期议题是同性恋该不该向父母出柜,仅在爱奇艺平台上就引来了好几千万的点击量,之后更是引起超乎往期的热议。随后,这期节目因涉及话题敏感而被迫下架。

出柜,也就是你身边人知道你是同性恋吗?,在 LGBTQ (同性恋、双性恋、跨性别者和酷儿)的圈子里是一条线。跨过这条线的时候,大多数人是抱着我要做我自己的决心,或者是卸下自己心理上积累的负担。

然后呢?

社会变得比以往宽容了,至少网络节目可以讨论出柜;但它并没有宽容到足以平等的程度,可以讨论,但不能堂而皇之。

根据 2016 年底由“同志商务”统计的“第三届年度中国 LGBTQ 群体生活消费调查报告”显示,在中国大陆 LGBTQ 人群中,完全出柜(包括亲属、朋友和同事)的人群甚少,仅占5%。有 20% 对一些家人出柜; 56% 对好友出柜;还有 30% 的 LGBTQ 完全没有出柜。

我们采访了已经对父母(或其一)公开出柜的年轻一代,幸运的是,在我们采访的七个人中,都没有因此与父母反目的。但一切也并没有走到阳光底下。


Keep It to Yourself

 

“Over Chinese New Year I told my parents I wanted to meet them for dinner,” says Songbanniu, who’s in his thirties. “They were talking about who had gotten married, so I took the opportunity to say, ‘I’m not going to get married to a woman. But I’ll still get married, so don’t worry about me ending up alone.’ The mood turned serious. My mom cried out, ‘Are you trying to kill us?’ But my father said, ‘I always knew.'”

Even though he’d prepared, Songbanniu says he still broke out in a cold sweat at the table that day.

That dinner was, in essence, a way for Songbanniu to fulfill what he saw as his duty to be open with his parents. It was a roundabout but powerful way of saying, “Don’t worry, I’ve found love.” “I think they can probably accept it themselves, but they’re worried about other people. They don’t want me to tell anyone else—they’re afraid I could lose my job.”

Since dinner that evening, Songbanniu says, “my family has never mentioned it again.”


秘而不宣

 

80 后的松阪牛说,“我是过年的时候跟我父母说要找他们吃顿饭,他们在聊谁谁谁结婚的话题,我就顺势说:我就不准备找女朋友了,我也会结婚的,你们也不用担心会没有人跟我在一起。然后气氛就变得比较严肃。我妈听到这句话后说了一句:乃么要西了。但我爸当时就说,我早就知道了。’”

松阪牛回想起当天的场景,尽管事先有所准备,但饭桌上自己还是一身冷汗。

这一场饭局,本质上说来,就是对父母一种义务上的告知,是以一种婉转却有力的方式向父母传达我有所爱,不必担心我觉得可能他们自己可以接受,可是他们担心周围的人,让我不要跟别人说,担心我工作上会被排挤。

下了饭桌,松阪牛说,我们家之后就没有再提这件事。

松坂牛 / Songbanniu

Sitting next to Songbanniu is his boyfriend, Daxiong. “I think that in China most people who face pressure choose not to come out,” he says. “That’s the case with almost all of my friends.”

Pressure often comes from parents’ worries about their children—especially in a country like China, where family occupies such an important place. In families that aren’t as close, by contrast, there’s naturally less pressure.


在松阪牛一旁的伴侣大雄说:我觉得中国的社会,有压力的人都会选择不出柜,我身边的朋友几乎都是这样。

压力,来自于父母的关切,特别是对于中国这个尤其重视家庭的国度来说。而倘若关系疏远,就会自然导致压力的减轻。

大雄 / Daxiong
松坂牛和大雄 / Songbanniu and Daxiong

In his first year of university, Daxiong bought a DVD copy of the gay comedy Formula 17 and hid it in his backpack. It was soon discovered by his mother, who had a habit of going through his things. Yet mother and son tacitly agreed not to bring it up.

“Then one evening much later, when we were lying in bed together, back to back. Out of the blue, she asked me, ‘You like boys, don’t you?’ I began to sweat! I said, ‘I’m still not sure what I like.’ A year later, when she asked me again, I said ‘Yes, I do.'”

Today Daxiong and his mother, who’s divorced, still have a good relationship. “At home, I never encountered anything negative because of my sexuality. My mom practically raised me as a girl. When I was a kid she had me wear dresses—I guess she thought it was fun. Now the only thing she’s worried about is that I’ll get sick,” Daxiong laughs.

But Daxiong’s father, who’s not really involved in his life, is still unaware of his son’s sexuality. “Actually, when my parents got divorced, I went to live with my dad. I think he definitely knows, we just haven’t come out and said it.”


在大雄大一的时候,他买了《17 岁的天空》的“同志喜剧” DVD,放在包里没有拿出来,当时就被爱翻包的妈妈发现了,但母子二人都默契地选择了不提。

到后来有一天晚上,我跟我妈背对着睡在床上,我妈就默默地来了一句:‘你是不是喜欢男孩子?’当时我汗就下来了!我回答说:‘我可能还不知道自己想干嘛。’第二年她再问我这个问题的时候,我就说:‘嗯,对。’

如今,大雄和离异的母亲就这么相安无事地保持着联系,“关于性取向,我在家里没遇到什么负面的事。我妈从小把我当女孩子养,从小就给我穿裙子,她大概觉得好玩。现在我妈唯一担心的是我会生病。”大雄笑着说。

但在大雄生活里缺席的父亲,至今还是不知道的状态。“其实我妈跟我爸离婚的时候,我跟的是我爸。我觉得我爸肯定清楚,但只是没有说破过。”大雄说。

乐老师 / Le
乐老师 / Le

Having open-minded parents isn’t necessarily a precondition for coming out. In fact, there’s a certain correlation between how distant family relationships are and how easy it is to come out.

Parents who are distant from their children often lead very independent lives. Whether or not their children are queer is like whether or not they have a tattoo, or which city they live in: it’s their life.

Le, a teacher in his thirties, says, “When I came out I didn’t feel any pressure. Now my parents know. After I told them, nothing changed, because I was never very close to them . . . My parents are the kind of people who don’t want trouble. They’re open-minded in the sense that they don’t want to be bothered.”


其实,出柜的前提未必是一对开明的父母,家庭关系疏离和出柜的难易程度存在一定关联。

与孩子关系疏离的父母,大多都拥有自己独立的世界,至于孩子是不是同性恋,和他们要去哪个城市生活、有没有纹身一样,是他们自己的世界。

已出柜的乐老师也这样跟我们说,出柜一点都没压力,他们就这样知道了。后来也没什么不一样,因为我原来和爸妈也不是很近……因为我爸妈本质上是怕麻烦的人吧。他们的开放,是基于不给他们添麻烦。


Acceptance

 

In China, who decide to come out to their family often think their parents will eventually come around since they love them so much. And most parents of LGBTQ children do in fact accept them. Yet such acceptance comes qualified with a request: keep it quiet. It’s as though they don’t want the family’s dirty laundry to be aired in public.

Almost every young person in China today is an only child, and most parents have poured all their love and energy into them. No matter what their child does, they’re forgiving, tolerant, and accepting. But even though parents can find a way to accept their children, once they face the outside world, they’re again beset by worries: “This isn’t good,” they think. “This isn’t natural.”


接受

 

选择出柜的人心里会抱着这样的期许:父母那么爱我,最终会理解我的吧。事实上,出柜后被父母接受的人并不在少数,但这种接受要加一种形容——“默默地 。仿佛是,家丑不可外扬。

在中国,当下的年轻人大多是独生子女,大多数父母对自己的孩子倾注了所有的爱和精力。无论孩子做了什么事情,选择包容、接受、承担是为人父母的天性所致,也是因为特殊的社会环境,让这唯一的孩子变得不可失去。所以面对孩子,他们会千方百计地调整自己去接受;但是一旦面对外界,他们的内心依然残留着这不是件好事”“这不正常的暗示。

小锤子 / Chuizi

Unlike the men above, Chuizi has always been close to her parents. When she was growing up, there was nothing they couldn’t talk about.

“When I was in middle school, I told my teacher to make my parents take me to a psychologist,” recalls Chuizi.

She was in boarding school when she first realized she was different. “I confessed to my parents that I liked girls. I was really sad . . . I don’t know what prompted it, probably a kind of middle-school terror.”

A visit to the doctor didn’t reveal any medical problems, of course. “In the hallway of the clinic, waiting for the so-called doctor to talk to me, it suddenly made sense: I liked girls, so what?”

“But back then I was still young. Maybe my parents thought I was joking—they didn’t take it very seriously,” she says. “But they must have known. I wasn’t like other kids, I gave them more than a few headaches . . . Actually I planted a seed, and they began to worry.”

Chuizi’s parents really came to understand her sexual orientation when she was in college because she’d often talk to them about her romantic problems. “I used to take walks with my mom, and I’d talk about which girls I liked, that sort of thing. I wanted to share it with them. That’s also why I came out: I wanted to be closer to them,” she recalls.

Her whole coming out process, and her parents’ process of acceptance, took a long time, but eventually, they came around.

“Now, at family gatherings during Chinese New Year, when my relatives ask questions like when I’m planning to get married, they’ll deflect them for me, and say ‘she’s still young, she still needs to work,’ that sort of thing,” says Chuizi. “Though even that’s really great.”


不同于上面几位男士,小锤子和父母的关系一直很亲密,在成长过程中,可说是无话不谈。

我是初二的时候,直接跟老师说,让爸妈带我去看心理医生的。小锤子说。

在寄宿制初中的时候,她就认识到了自己的不同,我那时候就和爸妈很坦白地说,我喜欢小姑娘,我很痛苦……我不知道是什么触发了我,大概初中时候那种悸动吧。

当然,看医生没看出什么病症,其实在医院的走廊上,等所谓的医生跟我讲话的时候,我就想通了,我就是喜欢女生,又怎么了?

但那时候年纪还小,但父母会觉得是玩玩,他们没有把它认作一个很认真的事情。可他们应该知道,我和一般的小朋友不太一样,就是有点不省心’……我其实给他们埋下了一个种子,他们开始不安了。

小锤子的父母真正明白她性向的时候,是大学时她因为感情问题反复和父母说过好几次。我以前和我妈散步的时候,会跟她讲,喜欢哪个女生啦,之类的。我想跟他们分享。出柜,也是因为我想和他们更亲近。小锤子说。

她整个出柜的过程,父母认同的过程,路漫漫,终于看到了光亮。

现在过年的时候,亲戚吃饭总会问到什么时候结婚这类的,爸妈就会帮我挡一挡,说她还小,还要工作这类的。小锤子说,虽然这样已经很好了。

Crown
Crown 家中与女友的拍立得合照 / A polaroid of Crown and her girlfriend at their home

Crown had a very different experience. Her mother took the news very calmly, in an ordinary moment over a meal. “She just asked me point-blank—’Are you?’ She said my grandmother wanted to know. I said I was. Then she replied, ‘Oh,’ and went on eating her noodles.”

It was Crown who didn’t take it calmly. The next day, she excitedly told her friends. It just seemed so rare: not every mother can ask such a question and calmly accept the answer. Crown says her mother has a very Western way of thinking. “She really respects my private life. She rarely stops by, and even when she does, she politely waits at the door. She’s not like other parents, who just intrude. I think my mom is unusually open-minded—she’s really awesome.”


相比之下,Crown 的妈妈却是在一个很寻常的吃饭时刻,很坦然地接受了这个事实,她就问我是不是,说我外婆想知道。我就说是的,妈妈就了一声,继续吃面条了。

真正不淡定的反而是 Crown,她隔天就告诉了好友妈妈开口问她性取向的事,因为这太难得了,不是所有母亲都有问出这个问题并坦然接受的能力。Crown 说妈妈的思想一直很西化,她很尊重我的私人生活。她很少造访我家,即使要来,也会先礼貌地站在家门口,不会像其他家长那样主动侵入。我觉得我妈妈特别开明,特别牛。

Crown

Like Chuizi, Crown feels she’s had a closer relationship with her mom since she opened up about her sexuality. A lot of things she couldn’t say in the past she can now gradually start to talk about. “But sometimes my mom thinks she did something wrong, or wonders whether I turned out a lesbian because of something she did,” she says. “Whenever she says that, I always object, and say, ‘No, it’s not! I was born this way.'”


和小锤子一样,和妈妈坦诚了性向之后,Crown 觉得母女之间的关系更近了,很多以前不会讲的话,现在也慢慢打开了话题。只是妈妈有时候还是会觉得是自己的错,是不是因为自己的原因,让我变成了同性恋?碰到这种情况,我就会很激烈地反对说,不是的!妈妈,这是生来如此的。她说。


Side by Side

 

For LGBTQ groups, the challenge is to overcome society’s prejudice and injustice, and to speak out for themselves—for ourselves—and for the community.

For the parents of LGBTQ people, the question is how to accept something that doesn’t fit with—or is even at odds with—their values, how to accept being forced to mentally change sides.

It’s hard to reexamine an entire value system and overturn long-held beliefs. In this sense, it’s not LGBTQ people themselves who face the biggest challenge in coming out—it’s their parents.


并肩


对于 
LGBTQ 群体来说,他们的挑战在于战胜社会的不公和偏见,为自己、为这个群体发声。

对于 LGBTQ 的父母们来说,他们面临的问题是如何让自己接受已有价值观里不存在的,或者是反感的存在,如何被迫接受这一场内心的倒戈

推翻已有的,建立新的——并且是从整个价值观上重新来过。这一点上,面临出柜最大难题的不是他们本身,而是他们的父母。

Bon

Bon’s mother learned of her sexual orientation when she eloped with her college girlfriend.

“I was with my girlfriend at the time, and her parents were opposed to us being together, so we eloped. After that, both sets of parents met and made a scene—it was really ugly,” she recalls. “But my parents actually didn’t put up any opposition. They’re very open-minded, so there was no struggle. Looking back on it now, I think the way I acted was really not right. Later on, my mother met other girlfriends of mine.”

Now that Bon has a stable girlfriend, her mother often comes to eat with them,  and she treats them as a couple.

At breakfast one day, her mother said, “I accept you. Unlike other parents, I accept you. I just want you to be happy. For me, it’s like I have two daughters now—I’m pretty lucky.”

“I just want you to be happy”: often parents say this for their own sake. But wanting their children to be happy is reason enough for them to stand by their side—and to stand up to the world’s prejudices.


Bon 的妈妈,则是在她与大学时期的女友私奔时,知道她的性向的。

我和当时的女友在一起,她家里人不同意,我们就私奔了。然后双方父母都见了面,闹得很难看。” Bon 说,但其实我父母没什么不同意的,他们是很开明的父母,没有什么斗争吧。现在想起来,觉得当时自己的做法欠妥。后来我妈妈也见过我的一些历任女友。

而现在的 Bon 和女友维持着稳定的感情,她的妈妈也常会来一起吃饭,见到她俩成双入对。

在一次早餐时,Bon 的妈妈对她们说道:我接受你们,不像其他父母,我接受你们。只要你们开心就好。对我来说,我就像养了两个女儿,挺好的。

只要你开心就好,很多时候,这句话是父母说给自己听。但这一条理由也足够让他们和自己的孩子站在一起,共同抵抗外界的偏见。

Bon
Bon 与她女友 / Bon and her girlfriend

Of all the people we interviewed, only Kiya had experience with a sham marriage.

The marriage was mainly her family’s idea. They didn’t pressure Kiya herself but targeted her mother, who was in poor health. “Look what you did to your daughter!” they’d say. “At her age, she’ll never get married.” Such comments had their effect. “My mom’s the kind of person who cares about appearances,” Kiya says. “So she also wanted me to get married. She said that if I didn’t, she would never be able to look them in the eye.”


Kiya 是我们这次采访中,唯一有过形婚经验的人。

她的形婚,很大程度上因为亲戚的压力。他们并不施压于 Kiya 本人,转而对准 Kiya 身体抱恙的母亲。他们跟 Kiya 的母亲说,你看都是因为你影响了你女儿到那么大了还嫁不出去,这样的话,听上去简直像针似的扎人。我妈妈一开始还算是个比较要面子的人吧。”Kiya 说,所以她也希望我结婚,觉得我不这么做的话,会让她在亲戚面前有点抬不起头来。

Kiya

She decided to get married when she was 33. “The pressure from my mother was too great,” she says.

“I found a gay man, and we started planning a sham marriage. At first, everything was very clear. I said I wasn’t going to have children, so we’d split everything split down the middle. Then everything would be handled normally. We did a lot of preparatory work,” she says.

She also talked to a lawyer friend about many of the issues involved. Almost everything was ready. But then something inside snapped.


33 岁的时候,Kiya 决定踏出这一步,因为妈妈压力太大了

我找了个 Gay,准备形婚。一开始都说得很清楚,我说我不生孩子,所有东西都 AA 制。然后所有东西都按照正常程序处理,做很多准备工作吧。

Kiya 也找了个律师朋友,咨询了很多相关的内容。

万事俱备只欠东风的时候,Kiya 爆发了。

Kiya

“My lawyer friend said, ‘an agreement is just an agreement. If you go ahead and get legally married, everything is subject to the law.’ When I got home that day, I’m not sure why, I suddenly broke down. I went back to my mom and said, ‘Mom! I’m not getting married, okay?’ I remember I spent the whole day crying. I just can’t lie. I thought, if I get married, how many excuses will I have to come up with to fill out that lie? What’s the point in putting on this show?”

Seeing her daughter burst into sobs, Kiya’s mother also began crying.

Through tears, mother and daughter finally saw eye to eye.


朋友跟我说,协议只是协议,如果真的办了结婚证,都是法律来控制的。然后那天回来,不知道什么原因,我就忽然崩溃了。回来就和我妈说,妈,我不结婚了,行吗!?我记得我那天就一直哭,一直哭。我不是个会说谎的人啊,我想着要是结完婚之后,我要编多少借口去圆这个谎呢?要骗一辈子吗?去做这一场秀,有什么意义呢?

Kiya 压抑已久的痛哭声中,妈妈也泪流满面。

这场母女间的理解在眼泪中达成。

Kiya

The day we stopped by Kiya’s home, her mother happened to be there too, and she knew why we’d come. She greeted us with excitement, then quietly closed the door behind her and went to cook dinner for her daughter. As dinner time approached, she opened the door again and asked if we’d like to eat with them.

Her mother’s accepting attitude had gradually formed a protective cover around Kiya, providing a source of strength and motivation. She’ll no longer have to fight alone. When neighbors see Kiya and her girlfriend nearby and start to ask nosy questions, her mother makes a point of saying, “That’s my adopted daughter!” and Kiya beams with delight.


我们到访 Kiya 家里的那天,她的母亲正好也在,也了解我们究竟缘何而来。一阵热闹寒暄后,她悄悄带上门去为女儿烧晚饭。临近饭点时,Kiya 的妈妈还热情地推开门来,问我们要不要一起留下吃个便饭。

母亲的接受态度,慢慢在她周围形成了保护罩,给她勇气,也给她动力。她不再会像从前那样一个人孤军奋战,Kiya 说,现在还有些街坊邻居会看到 Kiya 和女友在附近活动,转而来问东问西的时候,她妈妈就会主动和别人说:啊,那是我干女儿! Kiya 向我们形容的语气里,满是幸福。


How Much Further?

 

Many LGBTQ people in China encounter incomprehension, coldness, or verbal abuse when they come out to their parents. Sometimes parents even break off contact. The seven people we interviewed happen to all be fortunate, but their good fortune is a far cry from widespread acceptance.

The parents of the people we interviewed mostly had the following reactions:

“I see.”

“I still love you.”

“Your happiness is all that’s important.”

Yet even the most accepting parents are seldom willing to say, “Gays and lesbians are regular people. I’ll come out with you.” They accept their children, but ultimately what they’re accepting is how their children are different, not how they’re the same as everybody else. Their acceptance comes most often out of love.

This shows that there’s hope, but also that progress in society at large still has a long way to go.


还有多远?

 
我们身边也有很多人,和父母出柜后遭遇各种不解、冷漠、恶言相加,甚而断绝关系。只是采访的这七个人,恰巧都是幸运者而已——但这幸运背后,离彻底的接受又存在着距离。

这些父母的态度大多数是:

我知道了。

我依然爱你。

你开心最重要。

但哪怕是这些幸运者,也没有出现同性恋本来就是正常人,我来和你一起走出去这样的父母。他们只是接受自己的孩子,但究其实质,是接受孩子的不一样,而非和大家一样。他们的接受,更多是出于爱。

这让我们看到希望,也看到了社会大环境的进步依然缓慢。

Kiya

Our last interviewee, Kiya, told us, “Just two months ago, I accidentally hurt my foot and had to get surgery. At the time I really wanted my girlfriend to sign some consent forms for me at the hospital, but they wouldn’t let her. I can’t help but think, when I’m older, if something really serious happens, my girlfriend will have no way to sign in my place, since she’s not my ‘family.’ Maybe they won’t even let her in the operating room. What do I do then?”

After coming out, there’s still a long road ahead.

On this long road, hopefully the people you love and who love you will walk alongside you, lighting your way.


在采访的最后,Kiya 和我们说,就在前两个月,我的脚意外受伤,不得不住院手术了。当时手术我特别希望是我女朋友给我签字,但是没办法。我会忍不住去想,但以后我年纪大了,老了,真要有什么事,我的女朋友根本没办法替我签字,她不是我的亲属,可能连手术室也进不去。怎么办呢?

出柜之后,路还很长。

在这很长的路上,希望爱你们和你们爱的人会在左右,掌着你心里的灯。

Contributor: Chen Yuan
Interviewer: Shou Xing,  Chen Yuan

Photographers: David YenCrown Wang


供稿人: Chen Yuan
采访人: Shou Xing,  Chen Yuan

图片摄影师: David YenCrown Wang

Balancing Act

Holes

Shanghai-based artist and designer Tan Chengyan paints only a handful of subjects: women’s bodies, mushrooms, circles, and holes. Simple shapes fit her abstract style. She views her art as a balancing act between emotion and logic, and a desire for balance likewise runs through her life, both as she alternates between art and design and as she selects the tools to produce her work.


上海艺术家和设计师谭成彦笔下的主题——女性身体、蘑菇、圆圈和洞——寥寥可数,与她的抽象派风格相得益彰。艺术对她来说,是感性与理性之间的平衡,也是贯穿了她的生活的渴求:无论是艺术和设计之间的思维转换,或是具体到绘画创作时的工具选择。

Mushroom Mushroom Mushroom 1
Women on the Blue Tree

Water and ink represent her emotional side. The first thing she does when creating a new painting is to dampen the paper with water and draw the main shapes in ink. Then she watches as the ink bleeds onto the wet surface. “The procedure of brushing paper with water is particularly important—it leads me to a state beyond consciousness,” says Tan. Seeing ink merging with water, her mind enters a zen space, and that’s when the shapes start to materialize.

Then her logical side, represented by acrylic, gouache, and colored pencils, takes over. She draws the shapes with acrylic or gouache on top of the initial layer and waits until their edges blur. Only at that point does she have a clear idea about the painting’s subject. She then adds details and clarifies subjects with colored pencils.

Underneath these soft and feminine shapes lies a slow process of creation that she describes as “primitive and organic,” and which gives her works their vital simplicity. These themes are also part of an organic process.


水和墨如同她感性的一面。作画时,她会先把画布和纸全部涂湿,用墨在上面做出基本图形,看着水和墨互相交融,形成自己的模样,“上水这一步对我来说特别重要,因为它是让我进入到 ‘意识外’ 状态最关键的一步。”当墨与水相互交融,她慢慢沉浸其中,画面便开始在脑中成形。

而丙烯、水粉和彩色铅笔则代表了她理性的一面。用丙烯或水粉在第一层上画出形状后,随着图形边缘慢慢晕开,她脑中才会出现对主题的定义。最后则会用彩色铅笔铅勾线,去以凸显图形并让主题更加清晰。

她的画作常由柔软、婀娜的形状组成。其中循序渐进的创作过程——用她自己的话说是 “原始、有机的”——带来了简洁、充满生命力的效果。而这个主题的成形也是一个有机的过程。

A Big Woman and an Orange Girl
A Big Woman and an Orange Girl (process)
A Big Woman and an Orange Girl (process)

Tan first began drawing circular, hole-like shapes in high school, though at the time she didn’t know what prompted them. In middle school, she had struggled under the intense pressures of academic competition, and when she was admitted to an arts high school, the relaxed, free environment made her feel as though “she had suddenly opened up.”


从高中开始,她就在纸上记录这些图形,虽然当时并不知道特别原因。在那之前,她就读的是普通初中,常常被排名和学业的压力闷得透不过气,而在高中考上了艺术院校后,自由和放松的环境让她感觉 “自己一下子就释放了”。

States 7, No. 2
State 5, No. 8
States 5, No. 9
States 8, No. 2

Looking back, Tan thinks her adolescent years set the stage for her later work. A budding sexuality left her at times feeling lost and at times full of hot-blooded passion: “I just felt an energy I needed to release. What was it? I don’t know, but on the paper before me, I saw those forms.”

College was another dark period, and Tan took refuge in the library, where she discovered, in art books and journals, the work of pioneering artists like Yayoi Kusama and Georgia O’Keeffe, who profoundly influenced her approach to artistic expression.


回望过去,她觉得对性懵懵懂懂,时而失落、时而满血复活的青春期,奠定了她后来创作主题的雏形——“觉得心中有种能量想要释放出来,那是什么样的东西呢?我不知道,但就这样自然而然地出现在了我面前的纸上。”

大学对于她来说,是另一个黑暗时期。于是,图书馆变成了成彦最爱去的地方,她也在当时大量接触了草间弥生(Yayoi Kusama)、乔治亚·欧姬芙(Georgia O’Keeffe)等以女性主题闻名的先锋艺术家家的作品。这对她自身的艺术表达方式造成了深远的影响。

Three Women and the Sunset

A turning point came in 2009, when, after graduating from college, Tan decided to move to the Netherlands to pursue a master’s in fine arts. Not only was this her “most prolific” period, it also, more importantly, helped her give expression to the forms she had been seeing in her mind all those years.

“Women’s bodies, mushroom shapes, holes, and circles: all these connect me to energy of the universe. When I paint these shapes, I always feel I’m elevated to a higher spiritual plane beyond material things,” she says, “I start to think that a lot of problems in my life aren’t really problems, because when I enter that level I’m more tolerant of everything that occurs in life.”


2009年可以她艺术创作的折点,当大学毕业后,成彦选择了去荷读艺术硕士。时间最“多”的候,也让长中的一一呈现。

的身体、蘑菇形状、洞和圆圈接通我和宇宙能量我就感觉自己被带到了超越物质层面的更深层的精神空间成彦,“我会现实中的很多问题问题了,因到了那个层次之后对生活中的一切都变得更加包容。

Do the female forms she creates represent herself, then?  Tan doesn’t think so. “It would be too restrictive to say this is me.  Through the female shapes I paint, I want to explore a path to the universe.”

In terms of life, if art is her emotional side, her logical self comes forward through design. In 2017, Tan and her partner, Carmelo Ferreri, founded the design studio Melo & Yan, which specializes in branding and illustration. In her opinion, and in her practice, art and design are not opposed to one another, but rather nourish each other. “Design reflects the times, and can also inspire my art. It’s a balance,” she says. That’s also her attitude toward art: “It’s only good when all elements reach a balance.”


那么,画中的女性代表了她自己吗?她并不这么觉得:“如果说这是自己,有点太限制了,因为我想通过创作的女性图像探索通往宇宙的通道。”

在生活层面,如果说她在艺术创作时是感性的,那么她理性的自己则会在做设计时出现。谭成彦在 2017 年和另一半 Carmelo Ferreri 成立 Melo & Yan 设计工作室,专注品牌设计与插画。在她眼里,艺术与创作并不矛盾,而是有着相互滋养的关系:“设计更加能体现时代的信息,也可以给创作带来灵感。就是个平衡,” 这也是她对画的态度,“一张画,能达到平衡才是比较优秀的作品”。

Website: chengyantan.com
Instagram: @chengyan_tan

 

Contributor & Photographer: Jiang Yaling
Additional Images Courtesy of Tan Chengyan


网站: chengyantan.com
Instagram: @chengyan_tan

 

供稿人: Jiang Yaling
附加图片由 Tan Chengyan 提供

The Adventures of an Odd Duck

《飞克船长》系列:摘星计划

Beijing-based illustrator Tiepi Guaiya (meaning “An Odd, Iron-clad Duck” in English) is an artist whose love for sci-fi and adventure shines through in his work. Each stand-alone frame is an immersive story that pulls viewers deep into the scene. With surreal details peppered throughout his work, his drawings invite viewers to journey into the depths of his active imagination. Summing up his own art, he describes it as consisting of “space, aliens, monsters, wild animals, skateboards, bicycles, pimped-out rides, fashion, sexual desire, local Beijing culture, and everything else that seems cool.”


来自北京的插画师铁皮怪鸭,画中充满着探索的气息与科幻的意味,每一幅画都像在讲述一个故事,具有引人入胜的魅力。铁皮怪鸭的插画融入了很多幻想的元素,把一些天马行空的想法变成了现实,“比如说太空宇宙、外星人、怪兽、野兽、街头滑板、自行车、改装汽车、服饰潮流、欲望性感和北京文化,以及一切很酷的想法”。

《飞克船长》系列:等你很久了
《飞克船长》系列:飞克船长谜一样的笑容
《飞克船长》系列:飞克船长在土星玩玩具
《飞克船长》系列:当飞克船长变成老船长 依然可以把你迷倒
《飞克船长》系列:飞克船长在复古迪厅
《飞克船长》系列:船长的实验室 她们都说船长认真研究的样子非常英俊 眉毛一挑世界地动山摇
《飞克船长》系列:飞克船长航海计划
《飞克船长》系列:摘星计划
《飞克船长》系列:北海公园营救计划
《科学怪青年》系列:北京飞碟
《科学怪青年》系列:驾驭自己的梦想
《科学怪青年》系列:发现外星人

Weibo: ~/铁皮怪鸭

 

Contributor: Chen Yuan


微博: ~/铁皮怪鸭

 

供稿人: Chen Yuan

The Taste Reminds Me of You

猪排三明治 / Pork cutlet sandwich

“My name is Ye Zhijun, I’m in my 20s, I’m a virgo, and I love photography, drawing, and food.”

Endearing and direct, just like her drawings, Ye Zhijun’s description of herself can’t help but bring a smile to your face. Ye’s works rarely strike a gloomy or grumbling note, because most of the time the people in her drawings are too busy happily stuffing their faces.

That’s the unique charm of Ye’s words and images: you feel like you’ve known her all your life.


我是叶纸君90 后处女座,最大的爱好是拍照画画和吃东西。

这样坦白却可爱的自我介绍,和她的画一样,看起来让人不禁莞尔一笑。她的作品很少有那种“悲天悯人”“我见尤怜”的感觉,因为画中的人,大抵都在眉开眼笑地吃吃吃。

是的,这就是叶纸君从文字、从画面传达过来的个人魅力,让人倍感亲近。

肉夹馍 / Roujiamo, or Chinese hamburger
烤肉 / Grilled meat

When Ye graduated from University of the Arts London, she felt lost: “I was drawing every day, but I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life.”

Back then she’d often go out to eat at little hole-in-the-wall restaurants. No matter how perplexed or lonely she felt, when seated in front of something delicious, “for a few moments my entire body felt cured. So I thought, why not put all these dishes into my drawings?”


三年前从伦敦艺术大学毕业后,叶纸君觉得很迷茫,在那段不长不短的时间里,“虽然每天都在画画,但不知道未来的人生会怎么样。”

当时,她经常会独自去很多小店吃东西,却意外地发现,无论再多迷惘和孤独,当面对美食的那一刻,“整个人就瞬间被治愈了,心想着那不如把这些美好的食物画出来吧。”

泡菜炒饭 / Kimchi fried rice
咖啡店 / Coffee shop
法式蛋糕 / French pastries

“The first thing I drew was a super simple but extraordinarily delicious bowl of noodles with scallion oil,” she says. “You put the chopped scallions on the strained noodles, add a bit of sugar and light soy sauce, then pour the hot oil on top. You can hear the noodles sizzle, and then the fragrance of scallion fills the entire kitchen. You mix it all together and take a big bite. It simply fills your heart with joy.”

Since then, eating and drawing have become the two main parts of her day. “Drawing accounts for 60%, eating accounts for 35%. But when I draw, most of the subject matter is still food related.”

After toiling away for an entire year, in 2016 Ye published her first comic book, It’s Not Fun Until It’s Drawn: London.


“动手画的第一道菜是超级简单却又十分美味的葱油面。小葱切末,放在沥干的面条上,撒入生抽和白糖,热油浇在面条上,此刻你会听到滋滋滋的声音,再过一会儿,整个厨房都弥漫着葱油的香味。搅拌均匀,大吃上一口,简直是心满意足。”

自此之后,吃与画,成为她日常的绝大部分。“画画占60%,吃吃吃占35%,不过画画中大部分的主题还是跟吃相关了。”

一年多后,叶纸君出版了自己的第一本绘本《一定要画出来才好玩:伦敦》。

  • 第四话《居酒屋》

From rice bowls to roujiamo (a Chinese hamburger), from French pastries to Oreos, from snacks to hors-d’oeuvre to main courses, Ye’s drawn it all—and of course, she’s probably eaten it, too.

Asked why she’s so obsessed with food, Ye gives a serious answer: “Food does more than just fill your belly—it can also comfort your soul,” she says. “Behind every dish there’s a story. There may always be something even tastier than what you’re eating, but the people and ingredients that made that dish can never be replaced. They linger in our hearts and are hard to forget.”


从肉夹馍到煲仔饭,从奥利奥到法式蛋糕,各种或传统或新奇的零食、小吃和主食,叶纸君都画——当然,也可能是都爱吃。

要问为什么对吃如此执念,叶纸君的回答很正经:“美食不仅仅可以填饱肚子,更能抚慰人心。每一道菜的背后其实都蕴藏着一个故事,菜的味道或许能随时被更好吃的东西代替,但所关联的人与事,是无法取代的。它能够久久留存在我们心里,难以割舍与忘记。”

浪味仙 / Lonely God snack puffs
栗子饭 / Chestnut rice

In fact, Ye’s favorite dish, fried Chinese bread, is something she loves because it’s filled with love. “That was the first thing Chef made for me,” she says.

Chef is her boyfriend, and as his nickname suggests, he’s the one who does the cooking. “I remember once when driving back to Beijing with Chef I said I’d never met anyone who was so good to me. I’d never felt such kindness. Chef laughed and said, ‘I love you, that’s why I like to cook for you.’ That simple sentence utterly moved me. Every day I say, ‘I’m so happy I met you.'” Sweeter words are hard to imagine.


殊不知最让她喜欢的一道菜,“煎馒头片”,也正因为其承载了满满爱意。“因为这是大厨给我做的第一道菜。”叶纸君说。

大厨是她的男友,也充当着日常主厨的角色。“记得和大厨开车回北京的高速上,我说从来没有遇到过一个人对我这么好,第一次体会到这样的温暖。大厨笑着说,因为我爱你啊,这些饭菜都是我愿意为你做的。大厨简单的一句话,却让我感动到不行。每天都在感叹,遇见你真是太好了。”言辞之间,尽是甜蜜。

奥利奥 / Oreos

Ye says that the pudgy girl in the drawings is “one side of me.” Everyone has something to share, and the girl in the drawing is her window for sending the world faith, hope, and love.

“What I want to tell people is, not everything you experience in life can be perfect. But whether something is good or bad is up to you to decide. I hope everyone who sees my drawings can live without fear, and enjoy the people and things they encounter in life.”

In other words, “eat, drink, and be merry.”


画里那个肉嘟嘟的女生,叶纸君说那“算是我的一部分”,因为每个人都有想表达美好的意愿,而画中的女生,就是她输送爱、希望与信仰给这个世界的窗口。

“我想告诉大家的是,人生中遇到的所有事情不可能是完美的,但好与不好的处决权在自己的手中。希望看到叶纸君漫画的朋友,无畏结果,都可以尽可能地享受生命里遇到的人与事。”

毕竟,那句诗怎么说的,“弃捐勿复道,努力加餐饭”。

Douban: ~/leaf0831
Weibo: ~/leafstyle

 

Contributor: Chen Yuan


豆瓣: ~/叶纸君
微博: ~/叶纸君

 

供稿人: Chen Yuan

Modernizing the Accordion

 

无法观看?前往优酷

Once revered for its compactness and versatility, the accordion’s popularity has dwindled over past decades. Nowadays, when most people think of the instrument, old folk musicians or Parisian buskers are likely what comes to mind. Despite its fall from popularity, forward-thinking bands and musicians like Arcade Fire and Madvillain have proven the instrument can still be viable in contemporary music. And in Shanghai, equally eager to prove that the accordion shouldn’t be so quickly dismissed is independent musician Chen Kai.


手风琴,曾因其便携和灵活性而备受推崇,但过去几十年间,它已经渐渐尘封于人们的回忆里。现在,当大多数人想到这件乐器,大抵会想到年迈的民间音乐家或者巴黎的街头艺人。尽管不如从前流行,但像 Arcade Fire Madvillain 这样有远见的乐队和音乐家,却向大家证明了这种乐器在当代音乐中的地位依然不减。

而在上海,对此有着同样信念的,是独立音乐家陈楷。

All music evolves, and CK, as an accordionist with over two decades of experience, recognizes the importance of adapting. In fact, it’s especially important for an instrument that many consider archaic to keep up with the times. His awareness of this fact directly influences his playing style. Rather than relying on well-known tunes, his live shows are hour-long improvisational sets that blend unlikely genres—like psychedelic rock and baroque music—to form unclassifiable soundscapes.


其实,所有的音乐都在演变的过程中。作为一个有 20 多年经验的手风琴演奏家,陈楷认识到适应潮流的重要性。事实上,对于一个被许多人认为已经过时的乐器来说,手风琴演奏要跟上时代的步伐,显得尤其重要。这也直接影响了陈楷的演奏风格。陈楷现场演奏的并非那些人们耳熟能详的曲子,而是通过一小时的即兴表演,混合一些不太常见的流派──比如迷幻摇滚乐和巴洛克音乐──来形成独特而无法被归类的音乐背景。

Not only is CK able to wield the inherent versatility of the instrument, he makes full use of the effects pedals, transforming each note into something foreign yet familiar. Alternating between warm, soothing melodies to upheaving, violent crescendos, CK’s performances are a whirlwind of sound and emotion that both caress and assault the listener’s ears. Watching him perform is an enlightening experience that can sway even the most stubborn of skeptics to rethink the accordion’s place in modern music.


陈楷的演奏,不仅发挥出手风琴固有的即兴灵活的特性,还充分利用了效果器踏板,把每个音符都奏出了既熟悉又陌生的曲调。一曲曲演奏,温柔与暴烈并行,舒缓与激扬辉映,让听众得以斡旋于声音与情感之中,对耳膜既是爱抚,亦是冲击。观看陈楷的表演是一次极具启发性的体验,甚至连那些质疑手风琴地位的人,也会去反思手风琴在现代音乐中的位置。

While CK aspires to help his beloved instrument reclaim its rightful place in the world, it’s not the only thing that fuels his motivation. What truly stokes his creative flames is his appreciation of music’s cathartic qualities. To him, music is an outlet, and his accordion is a conduit, one that helps him bring his emotions into the world through sonic means.


陈楷渴望能让他心爱的手风琴重夺其在世应有的地位,但激励他的动力并不止于此。真正点燃他创作热情的,是他对音乐宣泄性的情感。对他来说,音乐是一个出口,他的手风琴是一种媒介,帮助他将自己的情感通过声音的方式带来这个世界。

Forming an emotional connection with others is perhaps the most rewarding part of being a musician. He speaks to others through his art and lets them interpret it as they will. “In Chinese visual art, negative space is an important concept,” he says. “It’s the room left aside for the viewer’s imagination and own interpretation to take shape. In my music, I try to follow this same concept.”


与他人在情感上建立联系,也许是陈楷作为音乐家来说获益匪浅的部分。通过音乐,陈楷得以与他人沟通,让人们从中解读出自己的东西。在中国的视觉艺术中,负空间是一个重要的概念。他说,这是为观众的想象力和自己的解释留下空间。在我的音乐中,我也试图遵循着与之相同的概念。

Of course, taste is subjective. Not only can different individuals find different meaning in the same song, but what qualifies as “good” music inevitably varies from person to person. As a seasoned musician and self-described lover of all genres, how does CK define “good” music?

Hesitating, he takes a long drag from his cigarette and exhales a lungful of smoke before breaking the silence: “Good music should come from the heart. It should move people. Simple as that.”


当然,个人品味是很主观的。不仅不同的人在同一首歌中能找到不同的含义,而且什么是“好”音乐也必然因人而异。作为一个经验丰富的音乐家和自我标榜的所有流派的爱好者,陈楷又是如何定义“好”音乐的呢?

犹豫半晌,他从香烟里抽出一根长长的烟,狠吸了一大口之后,才打破了沉默:“好的音乐应该发自内心。它应该能打动人们。就这么简单。”

Contributor & Photographer: David Yen
Videographers: Damien Louise, Cheok Lai


供稿人与图片摄影师: David Yen
视频摄影师: Damien Louise, Cheok Lai

Twinkle Twinkle Little Circle

From A Planet of Seas & Mountains / 《山海星球》系列

“I wish everything in this world were round,” writes Yayi in a project statement.

Yayi is a Shanghai-based artist who spends her days designing, doodling, and searching for inspiration in the trivial details of life. Her unique style is characterized by minimal colors, collage elements, and perhaps most distinct of all, an assortment of circles. But why circles?

“I just like it,” Yayi shrugs. “I’ve always thought circles were such a mysterious shape. They’re soft yet plump. They can be energetic or they can be lethargic.”


“希望这个世界上的一切都是圆圆的”,是 Yayi 给某个系列写介绍时说的。目前生活工作于上海的她,日常画画、做设计,采集生活里能够感动自己的细枝末节,画着圆圆圈圈,配上简单的颜色和一些拼贴元素,就形成了她独特的风格。

但真要为“圆”找出个所以然来的话,Yayi 却说,其实只是因为喜欢这个形态罢了。“一直觉得圆是个微妙的形态,是柔软的、饱满的,有时活泼有时慵懒的感觉。”

From Twinkle, Twinkle series /《Twinkle, Twinkle》 系列
From Twinkle, Twinkle series /《Twinkle, Twinkle》 系列
From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列

Yayi describes her process of drawing circles within the confines of a rectangular frame as “daydreaming within a sequestered universe of my own.”

In Passing By, a series of short animated clips, she presents everyday scenes (with circles, of course) from three different perspectives: as a lover of idle walks, as a lover of parks, as a lover of stories. The series is intimate yet playful, inspired by her observations of strolling around the city. From a lone trashcan in an empty shopping plaza to a flashing traffic sign lighting up the darkness of night, Yayi reimagines mundane settings as delightful works of art.


在一方方的小世界里画圆,Yayi 形容是“时不时在自己臆想的‘断层世界里做着‘清醒梦’”。

以“遛弯儿爱好者”、“公园爱好者”和“小故事爱好者”的身份来分类的《路过》系列,Yayi 放上了一些脑回路的场景画面,非常随意,也相当个人化。在生活里看到的某一个场景和画面的延展,比如凌晨商场里的垃圾桶,夏日深夜空旷马路边被交通警示灯反射过的禁止通行路牌,等等。这些过去的画面,被 Yayi 捕捉在记忆里,又重新翻出来构图创作。

From the Passing By series / 《路过》系列
From the Passing By series / 《路过》系列
From the Passing By series / 《路过》系列
From the Passing By series / 《路过》系列

For times when Yayi wants to create but isn’t feeling particularly creative, collage is her go-to medium. “It’s just me piecing together scattered visuals to try and jolt my brain into coming up with new ideas. That’s why I titled one of my collage series Losing My Mind.”


而在想创作又没有想法的时候,Yayi 会玩拼贴。她的回答很温柔得可爱:“算是通过把零碎的画面重组来刺激自己有些新的想法。所以我把我拼贴的系列叫做‘失心疯’。”

From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列
From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列
From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列

In her collage works, the elements Yayi selects reveal a fascination with films about space. “I suppose there really are quite a lot of movies about space that I’ve loved over the years,” she says, “from  A Trip to the Moon (1902), to the Soviet-era Solaris (1972), to the more recent Coherence (2013).”

She also cites a love for the work of installation artists Olafur Eliasson and Cai Guoqiang. “I recently watched a documentary about Cai Guoqiang’s Sky Ladder. His ongoing Project for Extraterrestrials series is also quite interesting; in it, he plays with the idea of space exploration but through the innocence of a young boy. All of his works are extremely impressive.”


殊不知,拼贴的素材或灵感来源,背后都会或多或少地融入她沉迷的星球和宇宙的元素。“从 1902 年的《月球旅行纪》,到后来苏联的《飞向太空》……再到近几年的《彗星来的那一夜》。关于宇宙和星球题材的电影,仔细想想我喜欢的还真的挺多的。”

她毫不掩饰她对当代装置艺术家 Olafur Eliasson 的钟爱,还有蔡国强。最近看的纪录片有蔡国强的《天梯》。他用男孩天真的一面去表达对外星世界的探索,做的一系列‘为外星人做的计划’行为和装置艺术都是让人印象非常深刻的作品。”

From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列
From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列
From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列
From Twinkle, Twinkle series /《Twinkle, Twinkle》 系列
From Twinkle, Twinkle series /《Twinkle, Twinkle》 系列

Her delicate recollections and observations of life, along with her love and longing for outer space, gives Yayi’s circles an ingenious romance.

Depending on the viewer, Yayi’s circles can take on different meanings. Some could see them as symbolic of deeper ideas. Others may just enjoy them simply as circles. Less than a bridge between artist and viewer, for Yayi, art is “an outlet for my own emotions, and hopefully something that resonates with the viewer’s emotions.”


对生活细腻的感知与记忆,对宇宙星球的喜爱与憧憬,让 Yayi 的圆形作品显得玲珑且浪漫。

这些圆,可以被赋予形形色色的含义,也可以干干净净地理解为圆本身。要说 Yayi 所想要搭建的那座桥梁,不过是“我自己的情绪出口,同样也希望大家解读出自己的情绪。”

From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列
From A Planet of Mountains & Seas / 《山海星球》系列

Website: yayifsoso.com
Douban: ~/yayi_ifsoso

 

Contributor: Chen Yuan


网站: yayifsoso.com
豆瓣: ~/yayi_ifsoso

 

供稿人: Chen Yuan

Hidden Glory

Edited with VSCO X Preset AL1 / VSCO X 滤镜 AL1 处理

In collaboration with VSCO, we recently explored Shanghai’s Jinhuanghuang secondhand market, one of the last of its kind in the city, to find out what makes it so special. All of the images in this story were edited with the powerful presets and tools that come with VSCO X. Click here to start your free, seven-day trial.

I thought I’d prepared myself, but when I finally found the Jinhuanghuang General Wholesale Market, I was still taken aback.

Jinhuanghuang is tucked away between West Gaoke Road and the elevated highway of South Pudong Road. Even with GPS guidance, the cab driver had trouble finding it. In retrospect, the difficulty of even locating the market’s entrance foreshadowed its labyrinthian interior, where a mishmash of shops hawking old appliances, antiques, and secondhand clothing stretched out everywhere you looked. The people, however, you could count on one hand.

I’d been to the market more than once, back when it was still on Dingxi Road. Yet its new incarnation left me a bit shocked: everything had changed.


我们与 VSCO 携手走进上海仅存的二手服装交易市场之一“金煌煌”,试图向大家记录和呈现这个市场所经历过的辉煌。本文中所有照片都通过 VSCO X 强大的预设及编辑工具。现在就开启你的 7 天免费 VSCO X 试用创意之旅吧。

尽管此前已经做好了心理准备,但在我终于找到“金煌煌综合批发零售市场”的时候,内心还是震惊的。

整个市场,坐落在浦东南路高架与高科西路中间极其不起眼的一个位置,甚至哪怕依照着导航指示,司机师傅都仍走过了一条岔路。可以说,这里由外至内都有如迷宫,旧家电、老古董、二手服饰,一溜烟地铺陈开去,但视野范围内的人,却屈指可数。

纵然对以前“安西二手服装市场”有所了解的我,也不禁一愣:它变样了。


The “Hidden” Market

 

Sprawling across two floors, Jinhuanghuang is the successor to two different secondhand markets that no longer exist: one on Yuntai Road in Pudong, on the east side of the river, and one on Dingxi Road in Changning district. It offers all kinds of secondhand wares, but it’s still mainly a destination for the vintage apparel trade, as its alternate English name – “Golden Glory Textile Market” – makes clear.

Oddly, since the market isn’t small, the shops are packed tightly together. The cramped feel, along with a lack of ventilation and daylight, gives the place the damp, musty smell of flea markets everywhere. Still, the shop owners say they’re grateful for the space.


“躲起来”的市场

 

如今的“金煌煌”有两层楼,由以前浦东新区云台路和长宁区安西路两地的二手市场集合而成。虽说试图平衡各种类的二手货物,但仍主要是二手服装交易市场(这个市场的替代英文名称甚至被称为“金色纺织市场”)。

这里空间虽然不小,却和所有二手交易市场一样,到处充斥着一股陈年的、潮湿而晦涩的味道。这或是因为店面之间的空间都过于逼仄,久不通风采光所致。但即便如此,这里的店家对能找到此地也颇为“感激”。

Edited with VSCO X preset KP9 / VSCO X 滤镜 KP9 处理
Edited with VSCO X Preset KU8 / VSCO X 滤镜 KU8 处理

On the day I visited, I ran into several shop owners who had relocated from the old markets. Still as enthusiastic ever, each one without exception called out to the people passing by: “Come on in and take a look!” When I told them I used to be a regular at the old location, they opened up even more.

“This place is a bit out of the way, but it’s huge,” one shop owner told me in Shanghainese. “It’s actually been over a year since we moved from Dingxi Road.”

“That long?” I gasped. “I only recently heard about this place from a friend of a friend, and I decided to make a special trip out here today.”


我到访的那日,遇上不少从前从旧市场迁址而来的老板和老板娘,但凡有顾客路过的时候,他们无一例外,都会热心又腼腆地和人打招呼:“进来看看!”当得知我是以往的熟客时,谈话便显得更顺畅。

“这块虽然偏,但地方还算蛮大。阿拉从定西路搬到这里一年都有了喔!”听这位店老板的口音,是纯粹的上海人。

“噶长辰光!阿拉才听到消息,今天还是听朋友的朋友介绍的,特特为为跑过来!”

Edited with VSCO X Preset FP8 / VSCO X 滤镜 FP8 处理

Reportedly closed for fire safety concerns, the market on Dingxi Road was slated for demolition. The plans kept getting delayed, until one day, without warning, it finally did get demolished, and within a few weeks, no trace of the market remained.

“They tore it down so fast. They cleared everyone out in no time at all, and in the last few days, we were selling at fire-sale prices because we had to leave behind what we couldn’t sell,” the shop owner recalled, voice tinged with regret or sadness.


从前的安西市场,据说是因为消防原因不过关,早说要拆,却迟迟不见动工。到了真的拆迁时,几乎进行得悄无声息,不过几周,市场早已不见了踪影。

“那时候拆得太快,没几天工夫就都清场了。最后那些时候的价格实在是‘放血’甩卖,因为卖不掉的也都不会带走了。”老板说着,言语里竟听不出是遗憾还是感叹。

Edited with VSCO X Preset FP8 / VSCO X 滤镜 FP8 处理

“This new spot is pretty hard to find,” I said to the shopkeeper. “If one of my friends hadn’t been here before, I would’ve had no idea where to go.”

He laughed. “Yeah. When I first moved in, the whole market was a ghost town. No one came here.”

Even after I found the entrance, I got lost again amid the sprawl of shops. Only after wandering around in circles for a while did I finally stumble across a stairwell next to a stall. Above the dimly lit stairs, looking like a long-lost friend, a sign read “An’xi Fashion Market.”

But now, after a year, patrons of the old market have begun returning, and business has picked up. “Still, it doesn’t compare to what it was like before,” the shopkeeper sighed.


“这个地方实在难寻,要不是有熟人带路,根本不晓得哪能走。”我感叹道。

因为在找到市场大门之后,我又迷失在偌大的市场里面,几经兜转,才摸索着找到某个摊位边的楼梯口,昏暗的台阶上贴着“安西服饰楼”,才算重会了“故地老友”。

老板一笑,说:“是的咯,刚搬到这里来,整个市场简直是空荡得吓人,完全没人的。”

好在现在由于熟客的回流,生意比开始要稍好一些。“但跟以前是没法比的。”老板又半带感慨地说了一句。

Edited with VSCO X Preset A2 / VSCO X 滤镜 A2 处理
Edited with VSCO X Preset AV8 / VSCO X 滤镜 AV8 处理

Less is More

 

Maybe because I saw so little foot traffic, the clothing selection seemed especially broad. Mountains of second-clothing from overseas sat waiting to be ironed and put up for sale.

Wholesale secondhand markets like this used to be quite large and do a brisk business. Bundles and bundles of clothes would arrive and get sent off again within a few days.

“In the old days, when the market was still on Dingxi Road, it was a madhouse! People would show up just after 9:00 in the morning, and on the busiest days we wouldn’t close till after 11:00,” recalled Xiao Chen, another shop owner. “Back then my son was just a little boy, and now he’s 29!”


麻雀虽小,五脏俱全

 

或许是因为人少,显得这里的服装货物尤其多。无数漂洋过海而来的各国二手服装,在这里堆积如山,等待熨烫出售。

曾经有很长一段时间,二手服饰批发的市场很大,“走货”速度也很快,衣服一捆捆地来,不日又一捆捆地被批走。

“最早的时候,市场还在老定西路靠近愚园路的地方。那时候是真忙,每天早上九点多就有人来了,最热闹的时候要到晚上十一点才好关门。”老板娘小陈与我说道,“那时我的儿子才只有几岁,现在已经 29 了!”

Edited with VSCO X Preset A10 / VSCO X 滤镜 A10 处理
Edited with VSCO X Preset KU8 / VSCO X 滤镜 KU8 处理
Edited with VSCO X Preset A10 / VSCO X 滤镜 A10 处理

“Sounds like you’re a veteran!” I grinned.

“Not at all,” she laughed. “The real veterans have all retired. I’m one of the younger ones.”

As we made small talk, I rummaged through her clothing, looking for potential additions to my wardrobe.

Each shop arranges clothes in its own way, mostly because the shop owners all choose their clothing differently. Some shops lay the items out right in front, with clearly marked prices ranging from a few dozen to a few hundred renminbi. Some are more selective, and some specialize in outerwear, intimate wear, or secondhand items from international brands. Sometimes you even find things by Gucci, Louis Vuitton, or Dolce & Gabbana, sold at a fraction of the original price.


“那你算是这里的老牌啦!”我说。

“哪有,以前老的那批人都不做啦!我们还算是年轻的喽。”她笑着说。

我和老板娘一搭没一搭地聊着天,一边随手翻着这里的衣物,试图找到合眼缘的一些。

这里的衣物分类方式与众不同,主要也是因为各家店主们的选衣定位不同。有很多店铺的衣服直接铺陈在外面,几十块到几百块不等,明码标价;有些店铺则精挑细选,或是专卖外套、内搭,或是主营国际大牌的二手老款,很多诸如 Gucci、LV、Dolce & Gabbana 等国际品牌,也会在此露脸,并且以低于市场价好几倍的价格抛售。

Edited with VSCO X Preset AL3 / AL3 VSCO X 滤镜处理
Edited with VSCO X Preset C7 / VSCO X 滤镜 C7 处理
Edited with VSCO X Preset A10 / VSCO X 滤镜 A10 处理

Xiao Chen says there used to be even more kinds of shops, with some that specialized in leather accessories and clothing. Many of the most famous vintage or buyer shops in town still source items from Jinhuanghuang. “My customers range from older folks out for a deal to merchandisers who come to buy in bulk,” she explained.

When a regular shows up, Xiao Chen brings out the latest items, often still bunched out and wrinkled in large bags. As a favor she lets them comb through the clothing before it even makes it onto the shelves.


老板娘小陈告诉我,以前市场里的衣服种类更多,还有专门卖皮衣皮鞋皮包的。那些知名的复古买手店,也有不少是从这里进货,“我这里常来一些中老年的客户,也有固定的大客户,一次进好多咯。”

这些大客户倘若来,老板娘们会拿出很多刚进的、没来得及整理挂烫的衣服,直接装在袋子里,熟客来的时候优先让他们挑选,权当送个人情。

Edited with VSCO X Preset AV8 / VSCO X 滤镜 AV8 处理

A Hundred Different Styles

 

In Shanghai, where it can feel as though things get more expensive by the day, the market’s down-home prices are a rarity.

That’s why fashionistas from nearby universities come here to shop: the deals are good and the styles are quirky, with plenty of clothes to choose from. But perhaps an even bigger draw are the shop owners themselves, especially the women, who all have their own unique style and are happy share a few fashion tips.


一件衣服的一百种搭配方式

 

对于上海日益攀升的物价,这里的衣物价格拥有与之完全不符的亲切。

所以周边大学里的热衷服装搭配与设计的学生也会选择来此地消费,一来便宜量多,二来风格迥异,可供选择的余地也多,再有,就是这里的店主,尤其是老板娘们,对穿衣打扮也有着自己独到的眼光,能说出不少门道。

Edited with VSCO X Preset AV8 / VSCO X 滤镜 AV8 处理
Edited with VSCO X Preset AV8 / VSCO X 滤镜 AV8 处理
Edited with VSCO X Preset A10 / VSCO X 滤镜 A10 处理
Edited with VSCO X Preset AL3 / VSCO X 滤镜 AL3 处理

That’s especially true of the shop owner Li Zi.

Her shop was one of the main reasons I came, and she certainly lived up to her reputation.

Dressed in a colorful sweater, she excitedly offered fashion advice as I browsed her racks of clothes.

“He’s tall and skinny. I think he’ll look better with loose, baggier clothes,” she told another customer before turning to me. “Those dress pants are a bit flamboyant, but if you pair them with a solid-colored top, I guarantee they’ll look amazing.”


尤其是这家老板娘,俐子。

这家店我是慕名而来,未曾想真的收获颇丰。

“他人高,又瘦,要穿宽大一点的衣裤,显得更好看。”
“你别看这西裤格子颜色花,但配素一点的上衣,上身绝对好看。”
……

老板娘俐子热情地拉着我,分享着她的穿搭心得。

Edited with VSCO X Preset A10 / VSCO X 滤镜 A10 处理
Edited with VSCO X Preset AL5 / VSCO X 滤镜 AL5 处理

“You’ve got a real eye for fashion. Do you ever help your kids pick out what to wear?” I asked.

“My son used to look down on these clothes because they were secondhand. But now that he’s got a job and has learned a thing or two, he’s slowly taking an interest. Now he says, ‘Mom, this brand’s too expensive! My boss wears clothes that cost only a few thousand, and what I have on costs ten times as much,” she laughed.

Here, if you’ve got a keen fashion sense, you can create an eye-catching look with seemingly ordinary vintage wear. You don’t need a lot of money to put together an outfit, just patience and personal taste. After a day spent scavenging the market, while some visitors might come away empty-handed, others might walk out with armfuls of loot.


“阿姨眼光这么好,个么(那么)会给儿子女儿打扮伐?”

“以前我儿子他不肯穿,嫌弃是二手的。但现在工作了以后,‘识货’了,慢慢接受起来。但他现在倒要跟我说,‘妈妈这个牌子的衣服太贵了喔!我老板才穿几千块一件的(品牌衣服),我倒要穿上万的!’”

俐子阿姨爽朗地笑着,她身上的衣服也是一件设计独特的针织衫,款式十分雅致。

在这里,独到的眼光往往能让简单的搭配异常出彩,点亮不少看似平凡的旧衣;在这里,选搭衣服的时候,甚至也并不是依靠消费能力,而要考验各人的品味与耐心——四处兜转了半天,有些人很可能一无所获,有些却能满载而归。

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“GOLDEN GLORY TEXTILE MARKET”

 

For all the warmth the shop owners show, they’re noticeably on their guard. Each time I asked, “Ayi, do you have a business card?” the answer was a resounding “no.”

This is because of the legal gray zone these shops operate in. On the one hand, they want more people to know about the market, so they’ll get more customers and do more business. But they’re even more worried that too much exposure might hasten the market’s closure.  “It’s only a matter of time before this place is demolished, too,” they told me.


“GOLDEN GLORY TEXTILE MARKET”


连问几家店铺的老板娘:“阿姨名片有伐?”得到的回答却都是“没有”,热络地招揽之余,那些防备的神色也显得格外突出。

介于这里的灰色属性,店家们往往带着一种极其矛盾的心理,一方面他们当然希望知晓这里的人越来越多,好带来更多客流量跟生意;但另一方面,更让他们不安的是,这种过度曝光不知道会在什么地方加速推动市场的再一次消亡,这里迟早也是要拆的。

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Edited with VSCO X Preset AL3 / VSCO X 滤镜 AL3 处理

As the last of the daylight receded, and I slowly made my way outside, I turn back to take one final look at the market. The neon red sign seems to be using its last remaining strength to illuminate the words “Golden Glory Textile Market.” But once I crossed the hectic traffic of West Gaoke Road, an overpass blocked the market from view. And just like that, it was gone.


天色渐晚,我慢慢踱出市场,回身一看,那块红色的招牌好像用它仅剩的一点微不足道的力气追赶着印着“ GOLDEN GLORY TEXTILE MARKET ”,但一穿过车流不息的高科西路,一切都被巨大的天桥挡住,什么也看不到了。

Edited with VSCO X Preset AV8 / VSCO X 滤镜 AV8 处理

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Contributor: Chen YuanShou Xing
Photographer: Chan Qu


供稿人: Chen YuanShou Xing
摄影师: Chan Qu

Type-of-Graphics

This story is part of a content partnership and media exchange between Neocha and MAEKAN. To see more of MAEKAN’s content on Neocha, click here.

 

Typefaces are to text what accent and cadence are to speech: they create an immediately recognizable “voice.” Thanks to digital typography, designers have access to tens of thousands of different typefaces, each of which can steer a project in a different direction and give it a different visual identity. Don’t like the fonts on offer? You can always create your own — you just need to design some 250 characters, including upper- and lower-case letters and punctuation. If you’re working in a language like English, that is.

But what if you’re a designer working in Chinese, creating a typeface that needs tens of thousands of characters to be considered “complete”? How do you tackle a project that’s bound to outlive you, and why even start in the first place?

I sat down with Caspar Lam, of the New York-based studio Synoptic Office, to talk about his team’s new typeface, Ming Romantic, and the challenges of Chinese font innovation.


本篇文章来自新茶媒体合作伙伴 MAEKAN 的内容交换。在 Neocha 上阅读更多 MAEKAN 的文章,请 点击此处

 

字体设计之于文字,就像声调和抑扬顿挫之于一篇演讲来说一样重要,同样都提供后者一个能轻易被辨识出来的 “风格”。归功于数位排版,设计师现在可以在网上接触到上千万种不同的字体,让作品的视觉风格更加多元化。但如果你还是找不到想要的字体呢?你还有另一种选择:设计出 250 个大小写字母和标点符号,创建属于你自己的字体。当然了,前提是你用的语言是英语。

但是,如果你是一名中文设计师,创建一套数位的中文字体则需要设计出上千万个不同的字元,才能称得上“完整”。要如何完成这项说不定一辈子都做不完的工作,更重要的是,为何一开始还选择去做这件事?

我带着这样的疑问来到了纽约设计工作室 Synoptic Office,和字体设计师 Caspar Lam 一起讨论 明日体 的构思,以及在设计中文字体时所面临的挑战。

It all began with a simple enough request.

Before founding Synoptic Office, while working at a design studio, Lam was tasked with finding a romantic Chinese font for his client, Vogue China, which was looking something akin to Didone — an unadorned, modern typeface characterized by a striking contrast between thin horizontal and thick vertical lines.

The problem? No such type existed.


这一切都始于一个简单的提问。

在创立 Synoptic Office 之前,Caspar 曾在纽约一间工作室工作。当时他在为客户《Vogue China》寻找一种风格浪漫的中文字体,类似 Didone 字体这样的设计——简洁、现代、横竖笔画的对比强烈,竖线要细,而横线要粗。

问题是,并没有这样的中文字体。

After completing the project with Vogue China, Lam discussed the idea of creating a font with Synoptic’s co-founder and creative director, YuJune Park, and their design team, which included Abby Chen, Dustin Tong and Gabriela Carnabuci. “We were sitting together in a room and we said, ‘Oh, why don’t we make a Chinese typeface?’” Lam recalls. “How hard could that be? Literally, it was that naive.”

Thus began Synoptic’s five-year journey to explore and reinvent the way modern Chinese typefaces are created.


结束这个项目后,Caspar 与工作室共同创办人暨创意总监 YuJune Park 以及其团队成员,包括设计师 Abby Chen、Dustin Tong 和 Gabriela Carnabuci,一起讨论了设计字体的想法。Caspar 回忆说:“我们坐在一个房间里,讨论着 ‘我们为什么不自己去制作中文字体?这能有多难呢?’ 我们当时的想法就是这么天真。”

就这样,Synoptic Office 开启了一项长达五年的项目,重新探索和塑造了中文字体的设计方式。

Ming Romantic came about from a combination of circumstance, curiosity and, as Lam concedes, “youthful optimism.”

The team originally wanted to include an accompanying Korean typeface in a similar style, a plan they abandoned within the first month, once the enormity of the project became apparent.

Why? Several factors make creating a new Chinese typeface exceedingly difficult, many of which have existed since antiquity.

For starters, written Chinese is vast and intricate.

This complexity gives the script its richness, but it has also hindered its ability to make full use of technological innovations that elsewhere proved transformative.


明日体是對周遭环境的審視、好奇心、以及 Caspar 所说 “年轻的乐观主义” 结合之下的产物。

团队最初原本還计划创建一款类似风格的韩文字体。但是在项目开始的一个月后,他们就放弃了这个想法,因为很快他们就意识到这个项目的艰巨性。

为什么?创建新的中文字体之所以如此困难有很多原因,其中一些原因甚至可以说是自古以来一直存在的。

首先,汉字的数量非常庞大,结构复杂。

这种复杂性既丰富了语言,同时也阻碍了它像其它语言一样充分应用于新兴科技。

For the Western world, the impact of the printing press was huge. It’s probably a simplification, but when every book had to be copied by hand by a team of monks, a machine that could churn out Bibles at the pull of a lever was revolutionary.

It led to the greater dissemination and democratization of knowledge in the West. And as printing technology progressed, so did the typefaces conceived to meet different design challenges, such as cost-saving italics, which allowed a printer to fit more letters onto a block.


对于西方国家来说,印刷技术的影响是巨大的,毕竟在一个只能手抄《圣经》的时代,突然出现一个拉一下开关,就能大批生产出畅销书的机器,在当时绝对称得上是一项革命性的发明。

打印机的出现让知识得以在西方国家更大范围地传播出去。随着印刷技术的不断发展,字体设计也在不断向前推进,以迎合更多不同的设计挑战。例如,人们发明斜体字,让打印机可以将更多字母装入同一个方格,以节省成本。

“If they created a block for every character, that’s also a huge undertaking. You needed an emperor or somebody with a lot of money hire a lot of people to do this type of work and sustain it.”

“如果你为每个字都创造一个方格,那将是一个巨大的工程。你首先需要一个像皇帝一样富有的人的资助,才能去雇用一大堆人来做这件事。”

These developments would eventually lead to the first modern” Roman typefaces, Bodoni and Didot, with their sharp serifs and high contrast between vertical and horizontal line weights. The set of typefaces that descend from these two, collectively known as Didone, would also become the conceptual basis for Ming Romantic.

In case you’re wondering why it’s called Ming Romantic, it’s named for the dynasty during which ceramic, wood, and bronze movable type gained popularity, in a marked a shift away from calligraphic script styles based on brush strokes. And the Mingti typeface, also named for this period, marked the starting point for their exploration.

Although movable type was invented in China as early as 1040 AD, printing was long limited by the costs of producing large character sets.

Individual characters or even whole texts were carved onto woodblocks, which were then inked and stamped onto paper, in a process known as xylography. But this process required the support of a wealthy patron such as the emperor. If there was no block for a given character, a new one had to be carved.


发展到后来,诞生了第一批现代罗马字体 Bodoni 和 Didot,这些字体有着明显的衬线、和强烈的横竖线粗细对比。以这两种字体为基础发展的字体都被统称为 Didone,同时也是明日体的灵感之源。

也许你会想知道为什么取名为 “明日体”,它的命名取自明朝。在这个朝代,陶瓷、木材和铜板活字印刷术得到了广大的普及,意味着中文字体开始有了不同于手写书法字体的风格转变。同样的 “明日体” 也标志了一个世代,是对中文字体重新探索的开端。

虽然活字印刷术早在公元 1040 年就在中国被发明和使用,但关于中文印刷业及字体的后续发展,最大的限制因素是生产如此大量字符模具,随之而来的巨大成本。

在古代,人们喜欢在木版刻上文字或整篇文章,然后再将印有墨水的木版压印到纸上,这一过程被称为 “木版印刷术”。但这背后需要相当雄厚的资金支持,通常只有皇帝才做得到。因为这项工作必须有人随时待命,一旦木板被用完了,就必须马上再雕刻一个新的出来。

And a similar issue persists today. A non-designer can do a quick browse of DaFont and find tens of thousands of different typefaces for English, but a committed search of similar sites for Chinese will yield only a fraction of that number — even as the demand for new Chinese typefaces has grown.

While an alphabetic typeface can be created by a single designer with sufficient passion or compensation, making a usable Chinese typeface requires a team of designers working together over several months — or in Synoptic Office’s case, several years.

This is because a typical Western typeface needs only about 250 characters, a number that includes the alphabet in upper and lower case, punctuation marks, and special characters like currency signs and the ampersand.

The problem is that a modern Chinese typeface needs those Roman characters along with 2,500 to 3,000 common-use Chinese characters to be useable for simple texts such as titles.

As it happens, the 250 or so Western characters used in most Chinese typefaces are included for completeness and are usually copied from other typefaces. The results are Roman characters that are jarringly out of place next to the Chinese typeface, something of a bastardized Times New Roman. Lam and I joked that these characters look like an afterthought, a job left to a hapless intern.

But for a typeface intended for professional use – for body text, for example – where the variety of characters is bound to be greater, thousands more are needed. Some estimate that as many as 80,000 are needed for a typeface to truly be considered “complete.”


同样的问题至今仍然存在。即使你不是设计师,也能在 DaFont 这样的字体网站上轻松找到成千上万种英文字体。但是當搜索中文字体时,结果却廖廖无几。然而人们现在对于新的中文字体的需求正在与日具增,也有越来越多人愿意资助这项工作。

要创建新的罗马字母字体,只要有资金资助和足够的热情,一位设计师单枪匹马就能完成这项工作。然而,要创建一款可用的中文字体仍然需要一个团队的设计师工作好几个月,或是像 Synoptic Office 这样,努力了数年才行。

一般来说,西方字体只需要大约 250 个字符,其中包括大写和小写字母、标点符号以及其他特殊符号如$或 &。

问题是在现代中文里,除了需要那些罗马字符外,光要写出一个简单的标题,就需要 2500到 3000个常用中文字符了。

大多数中文字体中附带的 250 个西方字符只是为了确保其完整性,通常都是直接借用其它字体的。结果是两者摆在一起看起来极不协调,像是一种变异的 Times New Roman 字体。Caspar 和我开玩笑,这些被借用的字符感觉就像是一个倒霉的实习生,被派去收拾別人的烂摊子。

但是对于一款用于专业用途的设计字体,譬如用在正文部分,字符的种类一定要更丰富才行。起码需要超过八万个字符以上,才能算的上 “完整”。

“Theoretically, you could work on this forever, because the character set is so huge. If we want people to use it quickly, maybe we should set expectations and say ‘well, maybe we won’t complete it on the first go.”

“理论上,你可以花上一辈子的时间去设计,因为中文字实在太多了。如果想要人们可以更快的使用到,也许我们应该换个方式,不用一次就全部完成所有的字。”

It bears mentioning that Synoptic Office isn’t a type foundry – that is to say, they don’t create typefaces full-time. I asked Lam how they executed a project of such magnitude in the background, while working on other jobs, over five years.

He began by comparing approaches used by type foundries. One of these involves writing a character by hand, scanning it into a graphics program and live-tracing it. But as Lam notes, this was not a suitable approach for Ming Romantic, as their design aim was to distance it from handwriting and instead explore typography.

Taking a page out of the software development playbook, Synoptic is releasing Ming Romantic in successive versions. This means the team’s work can be published even before it’s complete – and with so many characters left to go, it can be hard to pinpoint when that will be.


值得一提的是,Synoptic Office 并不是一间专门的字体设计公司,他们没办法投入所有时间来做这件事。于是我问 Caspar,他们是如何在五年多的时间里,利用工作之余持续进行一个如此大规模的项目?

他首先跟我比较了字体设计公司和 Synoptic Office 使用方法的不同。其中一种方法是先手写,扫描进绘图软件里再描图。但是正如 Caspar 所说的,这种方式不太适合明日体,因为它的设计精神本来就是要摆脱手写字型,以去探索更多印刷字体的风格。

Synoptic Office 则是采取分阶段,以不同版本推出的发布形式。这意味着字体可以在完成前就先曝光,毕竟这个项目要完成的字符如此之多,很难精确的预定出具体的完成日期。

Yet even with the advantages of graphic design software and scripting languages that can produce characters with similar elements based on successful iterations, individual characters still need to be finessed or adjusted to be visually pleasing, Lam explains.

That means carving out time every day for drawing a character on a blank grid on a screen. In the beginning, the time commitment meant the net output was maybe only one to three characters a day.

These characters sit on a large master list that the team goes through over and over again until items are completed, with milestones set in increments of 500 characters.

Intrigued, I ask him how the team celebrates.

“With a cup of coffee,” he laughs. “Or maybe just walking around, because it takes a toll on your eyes. I already have very bad eyesight, so you can feel your eyes degenerating after a while, and you know that this is actually not good for you in the long run!”

Besides the consistency of the entire character set, Lam points out another crucial criterion – Does it look Chinese?

“After the initial explorations were done, it became a little more robust and efficient. Because then you could copy a lot of the forms you drew previously and then modify them for forms that are similar,” he says.


因为绘图软件和脚本语言的帮助,他们可以依据重复的笔画元素去创作更多字符。但是 Caspar 解释说,即便如此,他们仍然需要一个一个字去加工处理或调整,视觉上才能达到一致平衡,让人看得舒服。

这意味着他们每天要抽出时间在电脑上绘制字符。一开始,他们每天只能做一至三个字符。

“最初试验工作的阶段完成后,工作流程就变得更加顺畅和高效率。因为你可以复制之前绘制过的偏旁,然后在做类似字符时直接在它的基础上修改就行了。”

团队把这些所有字符列成一份工作清单,过了一遍又一遍直到项目完成。每完成 500 个字符,对他们来说都算得上是一个里程碑。

有趣的是,当我问团队会如何庆祝时,他笑着说:“就喝杯咖啡。或者是起来走走,因为这项工作挺伤眼睛的。我的视力本来就不好,过了一段时间又感觉到视力在退化。长远来看,这其实对健康不是很好。”

但是,除了要针对所有字符的一致性进行测量和调整之外,Caspar 还指出另一个关键的标准——新的字体看起来够像中文吗?

Contrary to a popular myth, Chinese characters are not pictograms. Over 80% of characters are logosyllabic (or pictophonetic, if you prefer). What that means, simply, is that a typical character contains an element that hints at its meaning (the character’s “radical”), and an element that hints at its pronunciation.

In their countless combinations, these elements take on slightly different shapes and proportions that the design has to account for. What’s more, not only do characters have to follow universal visual design principles, they also have to look authentic.

As someone whose Chinese handwriting, acquired at university, looks like the legible but clumsy penmanship of a child, I don’t have the lifetime of practice necessary to judge authenticity.

But authenticity is important, and to show why, Lam mentioned the contrasting case of writing by Chinese learners of English. Sure enough, a glimpse at some writing samples shows a few extra features that are decidedly not native to English handwriting styles. These anomalies are pretty easy to spot, especially if you’re just working with the standard 26-letter Roman alphabet.

For example, you’d likely think something was off if the capital ‘D’ in Delaware appeared as small as the adjacent lower case ‘e.’

With so many “moving parts” in a character, in both typography and writing, there are a lot of extra things that could look off to the Chinese eye. This made creating Ming Romantic more daunting, but also more interesting.


人们向来有个误解,以为每个汉字都是 “图画” 一样的象形字。但其实超过 80%的中文字都是意音文字,或者说是形声字。大部分中文字由不同的 ‘偏旁’ 组成,有些偏旁表示发音,有些则表示意义。一部份的字仅由一个偏旁组成,一部份则由不同偏旁共组、或者是延伸的变体。

在这些由无数种偏旁组合出的中文字中,偏旁的形状、大小比例、位置会稍有不同,都会影响到字体的设计。除了要符合客观的美学要求,更重要的是,它们必须拥有 ‘正宗性’,也就是看起来要够像中文字。

由于我自己一直到大学才开始学写中文,写字看起来就像小学生那种一笔一划、很生疏。我可能还没有资格去判断明日体是否真的像正宗的汉字。

但这件事却很重要,例如在一些英文的书写样本中,你可以察觉到一些不符合传统英文手写的装饰细节。这些不对劲的小地方很容易就能被发现,特别是当我们用标准的 26个罗马字母时。

例如, Delaware 这个单词的大写字母 D 与相邻的小写字母 e 一样大时,即使这是字体的设计意图,你也能看出有点不对。

中文字里面有这么多组合的部分,不论是印刷体还是手写体,更为容易出现让你觉得去看來奇怪的小地方。这也让设计明日体的过程充满更多难关和乐趣。

“We wanted to pursue it because it was such an interesting topic for us. In our studio, we tend to pursue projects that we find to be of cultural relevance and of cultural interest.”

It would be unfair to suggest that the point of Ming Romantic was simply to see how a Chinese typeface could be created from scratch. Aside from the practical challenge of producing a typeface through more intuitive and efficient methods, Ming Romantic also poses a stylistic, and even cultural challenge to the existing visual norms of printed Chinese.

Despite the small but growing body of innovative Chinese typefaces, Chinese culture remains heavily attached to its history in the calligraphic arts for its expressiveness.

Lam describes a sort of “mental barrier” in the Chinese context, offering the example of his family and friends’ questions about Ming Romantic.

When they’d ask what kind of calligraphic face he was working on, he’d have to explain the difference between typography and calligraphy: the former has “an aspect of mechanical reproduction and product,” while the latter is a means of personal expression.

It’s this ingrained attachment to an esteemed tradition that makes giving the two arts “their space” a great, if unacknowledged, challenge for Chinese typography.


“我们之所以投入这件事,是因为它对我们来说非常有趣。我们喜欢做与文化相关或具文化意义的工作。”

如果说明日体,仅仅是为了试验看看中文字如何从头开始创作,这是不恰当的。除了一一克服创建中文字体的困难,明日体的创作尝试用更直观、更有效的方法去制作中文字体。这在视觉设计、甚至文化领域上都是一大挑战,也是对现存中文视觉规范的突破。

尽管中文设计字体目前为数不多,但有在逐步成长。其中很多设计都包含书法的元素,这项传统艺术凭借其丰富的表现力,始终是中华文化的代表。

Caspar 指出人们对于汉字有一种 “认知上的障碍”。他举例道,当他与家人朋友谈论自己在创建明日体时,他们都会问他是在研究哪种书法。这时他必须解释印刷体和书法之间的区别,前者是 “机械复制的产品”,后者是 “个人表达的手段”。

正是对这种根深蒂固的想法进行质问,使得区分这两种字体艺术,成为一个尚未被人们意识到的挑战。

“Even Chairman Mao was a calligrapher. It’s a very reactionary activity for a revolutionary, but it highlights the sort of myth we have as part of our cultural identity, or who we are as Chinese.”

“就连毛主席也是一位书法家。对于他这位革命家来说这是一种相对保守的行为。但书法确实强调了一种文化上的身份认同,充分说明了 ‘我是一个中国人’ 的概念。”

As the first combination of traditional Chinese characters and a high-contrast modern Western typeface, Ming Romantic is an exciting development, but Lam points out that history isn’t entirely devoid of similar attempts.

When he and Park discussed their font at the Typographics 2016 design festival, they showed many remarkable examples of typefaces from the 1950s and after – a relatively unrecognized heritage of Chinese experimentation in typography.

“Experimentation in Chinese type has a somewhat rocky history, because Chinese has tended to allow the forms which are considered canonical, while the rest of the experimentations tend to get buried,” he explains. Outside the art and design worlds, the visible lack of provocative Chinese fonts in everyday life seems to confirm this.

“So you always hear about the great calligraphers or the things that worked. And the things that haven’t worked, you have to search really hard to find them.”


作为中文传统字体和西方现代字体的首次结合,明日体是中文印刷字体中一次令人兴奋的发展。但 Caspar 说其实之前早就有过类似的尝试。

当和 YuJune 在 Typographics 2016 设计节上讨论明日体时,他们展示了1950年代以来许多重要的字体设计案例。这些字体可以说是中文印刷体被埋没的文化遗产。

“中文印刷字体的发展并非一帆风顺,因为中国自古以来只鼓励符合常规的东西,而其余实验性的设计往往会被埋没掉。”他解释道。在艺术和设计界之外,日常生活中很难看到有趣的中文字体。这正好印证了 Caspar 所说的。

“所以你总是能听到人们在谈论哪位伟大书法家,或是哪些已经成功的事迹。而那些还没成功的,你往往要很努力、花上更多力气才能找得到。”

To fully grasp the impact of an achievement like Ming Romantic, you could think of it this way: how many projects fail to reach their full potential, or are never even started, because they lack a typeface to express their visual identity? It’s as if you only had, say, Times New Roman, Arial and (perish the thought) Comic Sans at your disposal.

While Lam stops short of suggesting Chinese design would “mushroom” if it had more typefaces for its creative energies, he does believe more typefaces would allow for more directions and greater freedom. For now, he can proudly count Ming Romantic as the first Didone-style Chinese font and celebrate the end of the first leg of a much longer journey.

At the time of this writing, Ming Romantic’s initial release, unveiled in New York on February 1st, included 2,300 traditional characters in three weights.


要真正明白明日体的成就,你可以这样来思考:有多少失败的设计项目尝试做到跟他们一样的事情、或根本还没开始,因为缺乏合适的字体基础来符合设计上的需求。这就好像跟你说:你当然可以自己设计,但只能用 Times New Roman、Arial、Comic Sans 这三种字体来做一样。

虽然 Caspar 并未明说,但如果中国能有更多创新字体来引导其创作能量,中文设计字体的发展会更快速。更多的字体选择可以为设计作品提供更多方向和创作空间。现在,他们可以自豪地把明日体称为第一款 Didone 风格的中文字体,团队也终于可以庆祝,在这一段漫长旅程中取得了阶段性的胜利。

在写这篇文章的同时,明日体于2月1日在纽约推出第一版,一共收录 2300个繁体字,三种不同的粗细版本。

After our chat, I asked Lam by email what was next for Ming Romantic. Aside from taking some much-needed rest to distance and reflect on the project, he mused about a potential simplified Chinese version, subject to demand.

True to Ming Romantic’s original spirit, there may even be bolder explorations down the road.

“One idea which I find fascinating is exploring ‘ligatures’ in the typeface,” he writes, referring to combinations of two or more characters into one, such as in Æ. But in light of the very history that inspired Ming Romantic, that could be a slippery slope.

“In some way, this is a dangerous idea because ligatures have their origins in handwriting, and going too deeply into this area would turn a typeface into a script.”


上次见面后,我又发了邮件问 Caspar 明日体的下一步计划是什么。Caspar 表示,除了打算休息一下,也要继续思考明日体更多可能性,例如创建简体字的版本。

忠于创建明日体的初心,他们之后可能会有更大胆的作为。

“我还有一个想法一直很感兴趣,那就是字体中的 “连字”。指的是将几个字元组合成一个字元,类似英语的Æ。但有鉴于当初启发他们创建明日体的那些经验,这种想法可能会带来 ‘滑坡效应’。

“某种意义上说,这是一个危险的想法,因为连字起源于手写体。如果在这个领域继续深入,这一款印刷字体可能会再次变为手写体。”

Media Partner: MAEKAN

Contributor: Nate Kan
Images Courtesy of Synoptic Office


媒体合作伙伴: MAEKAN

供稿人: Nate Kan
图片由 Synoptic Office 提供

Unpopularity Contest

“Your biggest problem,” shouts a sadistic instructor at a confused group of writers, “is that you’re too mass-market!” The first story in Da Tou Ma’s How to Write a Worstseller tells of an unusual workshop whose participants learn how to curb their sales appeal. The author seems to be poking fun at literary snobbery, even as she cleverly uses this satire to claim her place as a serious writer.

Da Tou Ma is quickly making a name for herself on China’s literary scene. Her three books – How to Write a Worstseller (2017), Skinner (2017), and Murdering the Television (2015) – have earned her praise from established figures such as Jin Yucheng and Luo Yijun, and English translations of her stories have recently appeared in the Beijing literary magazine Spittoon. Her writing is lively, original, and smart, effortlessly combining literary aims with the readability of – yes – a bestseller.


“你们最大的问题啊,是太畅销!” 一位施虐狂般的导师吼道,底下坐的是一群困惑的作家。这是大头马的作品《不畅销小说写作指南》中的第一个故事,讲述一群作家在一场写作培训班上学习如何让自己的作品不被畅销。作者看似是在嘲刺当今文学的势利性,却又巧妙地利用这种讽刺,来宣称她自己是一位严肃的作家。

大头马在中国文坛迅速成名。她的三本书《不畅销小说写作指南》(2017)、《潜能者们》(2017)和《谋杀电视机》(2015)均获得了金宇澄和骆以军等人的称赞。最近,她的作品还被翻译成英文发表在北京文艺杂志《Spittoon》上。她的写作风格活泼、新颖、机智,也像畅销小说一样轻松易读。

Her unusual pseudonym, which literally means “Big Head Ma,” began as a childhood nickname. “When I was little my forehead was big – not that it’s small now – so my friends and relatives, and the kids at school, used to call me ‘Big Head,’” she explains. “And since my Mom’s last name is Ma, her coworkers at the office, where I’d spend most of my free time after school, would call me ‘Little Ma.’” That’s why, in the early days of the internet, when she had to pick a screen name, “Da Tou Ma” was a natural choice—and it stuck. As a child, she used it for her first articles and posts, and before long it became a part of her identity, online as well as off. “Gradually the name became my name in real life. Everyone, even my parents, calls me Da Tou Ma,” she says.


“大头马”这个有意思的笔名源自她童年时的绰号。“我小时候脑门大 (现在也不小),是身体上鲜明的特点。所以亲朋好友和同学都喜欢喊我‘大头’。” 她继续解释,“又由于我母亲姓马,小时候放学后经常到我母亲工作的地方打发时间,她的同事都喊我‘小马’。”因此,当刚开始在网上要投稿和发帖时,她很自然就想到了‘大头马’这个名字。慢慢地,这个名字也成为了她现实中的身份。“大头马逐渐成为我现实中的名字。包括我父母现在都这么叫我。”

Da Tou Ma finds inspiration both in her everyday life and in her expansive reading habits. Recently she’s been especially drawn to nonfiction in science, economics, and politics, while also making her way through classic Chinese authors like Lao She, Shen Congwen, and Lu Xun. “I try to imitate the styles, structures, and tricks of the experience of what I’m reading,” she says. “There are all different kinds of sources of inspiration.”

Her ability to use different styles, structures, and tricks is nowhere more evident than in How to Write a Worstseller. In each of the book’s eight stories, supposedly written by a one of the participants in the workshop, she inhabits a different persona, from a playboy who goes to weddings to pick up women, to the enigmatic author of a guide to apologies, to a chemistry student whose trip to Amsterdam takes a harrowing turn. Switching back and forth lets her try out different tones and voices, and gives the book a dazzling virtuosity.


大头马的创作灵感主要来自她个人丰富的生活和阅读经验。最近,她对科学、经济和政治这些非小说类的书尤其感兴趣。也会从老舍、沈从文和鲁迅等中国古典作家中获取灵感。“我会尝试去模仿我阅读到的文学风格、结构、技巧。” 她说,“多种多样的阅读经验都会成为我的灵感来源。”

《不畅销小说写作指南》即是大头马精湛写作能力的最佳证明。书中收录了八个故事,每个故事在情节里都是出自班上一位学员之手。学员(其实也就是大头马)将自己化身为不同的角色,包括在婚礼上搭讪女孩的花花公子、一位撰写道歉指南的神秘作家,以及前往阿姆斯特丹体验了一场痛苦旅程的化学专业学生。角色来回的切换,让她尝试以不同的语调和声音去写作,充分展现了她令人目眩神迷的文学造诣。

Unlike the workshop leader in her story, Da Tou Ma says she likes both “serious” literature and popular genres, like sci-fi, fantasy, and manga. “I think the best works in these genres are every bit as good as the best works of serious literature,” she says. As for her own books, she doesn’t worry about whether readers will think what she’s writing is high art or just entertainment. “Sometimes I think about the reader when writing, sometimes I don’t,” she adds. “I concentrate more on finishing the work itself.”


与她故事中培训班的导师不同,大头马说自己既喜欢正经一点的文学类型,也很喜欢所谓的通俗读物,像是科幻、武侠、推理小说、日本漫画等等。她说:“我认为这些通俗文学中的优秀作品,与严肃文学中的优秀作品是同样伟大的。”谈及自己的书,她表示並不会担心读者将自己的作品定义为高雅的艺术或是纯粹的娱乐。“有时在创作时会考虑到读者,有时则不会。”她补充道,“我还是更想专注在作品本身。”

She confesses to being a little out of step with other Chinese writers. But she notes a split between those who work inside the system—with the writers associations and state-sponsored publications—and those on the outside. “Writers who rely on the system tend to produce a traditional, mainstream sort of writing, and the homogeneity is pretty severe,” she says. “Writers outside the system have a bit more freedom, and try to use richer and more varied forms and styles.” Though she doesn’t say, it’s not hard to guess which group she belongs to.

Da Tou Ma does think things are changing, though, and that more writers from outside are getting mainstream recognition. “I think this generation’s writing is definitely more diverse, more free, and more flexible than in the past.”


她承认自己对其他中国作家不太熟悉。但她注意到当今作家大体上可分为两种。第一种是体制内的写作者,依托作家协会或官方的赞助来出版作品。另一种则是存在在‘体制外’的。“总的来说,依附在体制内的作家一直在沿袭传统主流的写作方式,同质化现象比较严重。体制外的作家则更自由一些,试图创造更多丰富多样的形式和风格。” 虽然她没有说明,但不难猜出她是属于哪一类型。

然而,大头马认为这一现象正在发生变化。现在体制外也有越来越多的作家,正在获得主流群众的认可。她说:“我认为当代中国作家的作品,显然比起过去更加多元、自由、灵活。”

On a more individual level, she says that biggest challenge she faces is figuring out what to write. “For the first few years I was writing, I focused on basic writing technique. But lately, I’ve found that what to write has become a central question.” No longer content with just writing about personal experience, Da Tou Ma aspires to produce something of lasting value – something that not only has meaning for herself as an individual but can also speak to people outside her immediate circle.

“Answering the question of ‘what to write’ means figuring out how to look at this world and these times, and how to get a deeper understanding of the world and produce work that goes beyond the times,” she says. “That’s the fundamental challenge.”

Click here to read an excerpt of How to Write a Worstseller. To purchase the Chinese edition of the book, click here.


在个人层面上,她表示目前面临到的最大挑战是弄清楚 ‘写什么’。 “前几年刚开始写作时,我都在处理基本写作技巧上的问题。但写到现在,我发现 ‘写什么’ 才是关键。” 大头马不再满足于写个人经历,她渴望能创作出更多具有持久价值的东西。写出不仅对个人有意义,同时也可以对其他人产生共鸣的作品。

“ 当你知道了要‘写什么’,意味着你知道如何去看待这个世界,以及如何更深刻地进一步了解它。能不能写出跨越时代的作品,是所有作家最根本的挑战。”

点击此处阅读《不畅销小说写作指南》的节选。购买点击此处

Weibo~/大头马
WeChat: Prophetdatouma

 

Contributor: Allen Young
Photographer: Nathan Wang


微博~/大头马
微信: Prophetdatouma

 

投稿人: Allen Young
摄影师: Nathan Wang

Dualities

Room 2 (2016) 66 x 110 cm

When your eyes have come to expect dazzlingly bright works of art, it’s a surprise when you find yourself staring so long at the color black.

These layers of black are not silent, but neither are they deafening.

Rather, it’s like a dialogue without words.


在看过无数眩目的艺术作品之后,你毫无防备,竟对着一页的黑色看了这么久。

这样层叠的黑,并非静默,也绝无喧嚣。

那更像是一种无声的对话。

Wood Block 10.1 (2017) 90 x 120 cm
Wood Block 10.3 (2017) 90 x 120 cm

Born in Russia, raised in Ukraine, and currently based in Beijing, Alëna Olasyuk is the artist behind these achromatic works, all of which were created using traditional Chinese ink.

Using carved wood in lieu of standard canvases, Olasyuk’s Wood Blocks series is a work of patience and diligence. Anyone can touch the works, anyone can feel their imprint on their own body. Bodily impressions and visual perception overlap: the painting is no longer a painting, the wood is no longer wood. They encourage the viewer to interact with the work. It’s a dialogue between humans and art.


Alëna Olasyuk 在俄罗斯出生,在乌克兰长大,如今长居北京。我们所看到的黑,正是她用所钟情的中国墨水一笔笔画的。

这个系列叫做《Wood Blocks》(《木格》),Alëna 在已镂刻的木雕上耐心地描绘和涂色,最终形成了我们现在所见到的作品。每个人都可以触摸它,每个人也都能在自己身体上留下作品的印记。身体的感知和视觉的观感交叠,画不再是画,木也不再是木。它鼓励着观者与作品进行交互,这是人与作品的对话。

Wood Block 10.2 (2017) 90 x 120 cm

In traditional Chinese art, black and white symbolize the relationship between all things. They’re two extremes that achieve harmony in contrast and movement.

A closer look shows that Olasyuk’s works are more than simply blanketed in pure black ink. Viewed from the front, the entire frame appears to be engulfed in a murky obsidian, with only faint lines visible, but when the same work is observed from a different angle, threads of silver, glimmering colors, and a new world of texture emerge. Darkness reveals itself as light. These perspectives open up an entirely new reality, and as viewers contemplate them, the meaning of dualism becomes clear.

It’s a dialogue between the self and its inner essence. 


在中国艺术中,黑白两色反映的是事物之间的关系,它们是两个极端,在对比和运动中两相制约,以达到和谐。

但其实细看,Alëna 作品中的黑也并不是全黑。直面画布的时候,你会看到条条延展开去的黑色细线;然而,换个角度,你会将看到一个充满着银丝、明亮的颜色和纹理的新世界。玄黑,转而显现为光明。这样的视角开启了全新的现实,使人们在理解这些作品的同时,体悟到了“二元论”。

这是自身与内在的对话。

Duality 1 (2016) 56 x 76 cm
Duality 2 (2016) 56 x 76 cm

But how to achieve balance in this dualistic world?

Olasyuk’s series Duality presents the idea of a natural balance. In fact, duality itself is part of balance. It’s part of the purpose and very notion of life. But if one doesn’t accept this dual nature, the natural balance can’t exist. Complexity and concision, chaos and balance, movement and stasis, transience and infinity – these are the subjects Olasyuk is eternally exploring in her works.

It’s the perpetual dialogue between humanity and the universe.


那么,如何在这个世界的二元性下保持平衡呢?

Alëna Olasyuk 的作品系列二元性代表了自然平衡的思想。其实,二元性本身就是平衡的一部分,是生活的目标和理念的一部分。但是如果不接受事物的两重性,这种平衡就不可能存在。复杂与简约、混沌与平衡、运动与静止、短暂与无限——这些是 Alëna 在她的作品中永恒探索的主题。

这也是人与天地世界的亘古对话。

Duality 4 (2017) 75 x 105 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm
A painting from the Fear series (2016) 56 x 76 cm

Websiteolasyuk.com
Instagram: @olasyuk_a

 

Contributor: Chen Yuan


网址olasyuk.com
Instagram: @olasyuk_a

 

供稿人: Chen Yuan