Contemporary Chinese Painters and Their Painting Album Soliloquy: This summer, I finished compiling the album of traditional Chinese painting (a collection of my art works so far) at the request of Oriental Artists Series and, to my surprise, was invited to make the author’s preface. Feeling terribly uneasy about messing up everything, I was deeply lost in thought. As a result, I decided to make the preface in the form of soliloquy.
I was born in Jixi, Heilongjiang province, in the mid-autumn of 1960 when Chinese were in one of their hardest times. Just three months later, my parents took my elder brother and me back to our hometown – Jimo, Shandong province, where I spent my childhood. Life went on as I farmed for half a year and, for the next year, worked as a forging worker before I became a social. Seventeen years later, I came out to design gold and silver coins in the banking system, which lasted eight years. Such experiences greatly enriched my life in the sense that my mind was imbued with glittering quality of the people I met just as one might be influenced by the spring wind and summer rain. The case was especially so in terms of my yardstick of being an upright person and the principle of my artistic career, which exerted subtle influence on me.
Edified and enlightened by my grandfather, I have been interested in drawings and paintings since I was a young boy. When I was still in primary school, my teacher should appoint me to take charge of the school blackboard newspaper. Immediately after I joined the army, I was also highly regarded by the army leaders and engaged in the publicizing activities for long years. Once believing I was in my prime time, I was complacent and arrogant to win the title of member of provincial and municipal art association and, later on, Member of China Art Association, to take office of various ranks or be engaged as advisor, to seek all kinds of awards from this and that national picture shows or contests, to publish or introduce painting and calligraphic works or related articles, pursuing false and empty artist title. Only when I came to my middle age did I realize that I was merely a novice in the field I majored in. The few so-called achievements are so negligible vanity that I still have a long way to go before I could become a real painting and calligraphic master.
I was once asked: “How to learn painting and calligraphy well?” “Learn to be a man at first,” I replied without hesitation. As Master Kuchan once put:” No moral quality, nowhere to put down your brush.” The Chinese traditional printing not only expresses spots, lines, ink blots, formation and structural effects of superficial vision, but also can symbolize the feelings and experiences deriving from life. What’s more, it is a comprehensive embodiment of ideology, concept, behavior, morality, belief and social experiences, etc, reflecting the artist’s feelings and thoughts and shining with the luster of human character. Therefore, whether one is upright or not can be judged by the art works he creates. All over the world and from past to present, the survival and development of a country, a nation, a society and a collective consists in every individual’s healthy and robust development of mind, inclusive of the national spirit of quality, ideology, morality and culture – the fundamental basis for survival and development. There is no need to find so many criteria for health. As for me, we shall never impose our ideas upon others, since everybody has his own track of life, demand not too much respect from others, since that is their rights, care nothing about others’ misunderstanding to us, trivialize the temporal twists and turns in the journey of our lives, “not to show proud for wealth, and not to feel self-abased for poverty”, keep a constant state of mind that is as possible as tolerant and tranquil.
I extremely advocate truth, kindness and beauty and revere people who, silent, ordinary and common, don’t fish for fame and compliment. Their unsophisticated, kind, sincere way of getting along with others is in the same way as an orchid opening in a dell, which emanate fragrance even though its beauty is not recognized. Such is the navigation mark in my life journey, the coach helping me to improve my cultivation in painting and calligraphy. For me, it’s the rule, the mirror and the whip. (Jin Gangshan, summer of 2009, Beijing Dawn and Clear Spring Studio, Beijing Studio of Shuguang Qingquan)
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