this sketch book starts in 2011and i just filled the last page yesterday. on the first page i ask myself: why do i draw? a simple question. yet often the simplest questions are the most difficult to answer. there's no one definite answer. it's a bit like loving someone. why do you love someone? there are a lot of answers. yet there is no answer on the bottom of all questions. the truth has no name.
on the last page of the sketch book i discovered theses two hearts which i must have put there during the time i carried the book around: i remember the heart shaped leaf was given to me by my daughter when we were walking to the beach one day. the other heart was stuck to my skin after a night of dancing in berlin. why do i dance? why do i hold my child's hand? why do i draw? it's not the outcome that's of my interest. it's the moment. the moment when the lines appear on the white paper, the concentration, the presence. simple as that.
i've just come back from my home country. it's always an awkward feeling. hongkong. germany. two worlds, many layers. some of them are amazingly similar, most of them are obscure, blurred, even incomprehensible. this picture is taken in my mother's house. she hung up a chinese papercut in her window. the sun has taken all the colour away. what remains is the blue and white bavarian sky and the village's church steeple layered with the good fortune of the chinese new year.
a plant transferred to new soil needs time to grow roots. still, it will never get as deep as the old tree that's been here for centuries.
look what i found in the bins: a whole stack of old chinese books! the paper is yellowed, the pages are thumbed, the covers are torn and mended with sellotape ... someone must have loved these books. maybe one of the villagers had passed away and they were thrown away carelessly. they are art encyclopedias and reference books for plants as well as buddhist scriptures - all of my favourite topics!
these books are not 'on time' anymore, but they tell time. in a way they are in themselves a visualization of time. how come so much accumulated time isn't worth anything anymore? now these books are at my studio awaiting a new life. while my son is sleeping, i start drawing on the yellowed pages with chinese ink. he is still moving in his sleep so i have to be quick. which is disappointing at times (when not being able to finish) but it also forces me to omit the unnecessary and reduce the image down to one line. while drawing on this paper, the story of someone gets layered over another story.. sleep over death.. the lines cross .. ink dissolves into printed writing, you can't tell which is which anymore. this is the mystery of life: we mingle.. coincidences happen.. unexplainable.. they shape ourselves.. we shape them.. many layers.. many times.. the concept is too blurred for the mind to grasp.. but we can feel.. it.
i'm so late to post these pictures, but better late than never!
for the art auction at ilivetomorrow gallery (http://www.ilivetomorrow.com/) i altered my original drawing of the 'i love japan' book: a combination of fine lines and paper collage. i've always had a faible for yellowed newspaper ... it is so ephemeral, a mirrow of the fast times we live in. it is a cheap mass product and there's a contradiction in using it as 'expensive' and 'original' art. apart from that, it has a whole aesthetic of its own especially the chinese ones. even though i've lived in hong kong for five years now, i can't get enough of of chinese characters and calligraphy! since they're all pictures actually, it's like writing in pictures - so exciting for an illustrator! but that's a different matter i might have time to write about another time.... for more info about 'i love japan' visit japan-i-love.blogspot.com
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|i won't waste a lot of words... it's all summed up in this article from the South China Morning Post on 04.03.2012 (double click to enlarge the article).|
above are a couple of sketches and the final drawing for the book. i love the subtle lines on the lotus leaf and how they gather in the center. nature reveals its amazing beauty to those who look closely! to make the lines really fine i had to sharpen my pencil on the paper constantly. that's where the blacks lines on the sketch come from. the unconcious expression of these very dark lines in combination with the concentrated drawing is quite interesting.
this is an article in TimeOut HK, March issue:
...and if you still want to read the whole story, visit japan-i-love.blogspot.com
these last three months have been an adventure into new territories for me: overnight i became a publisher, a conceptional designer, a competition tender, an artist (this is the only one i'm familiar with), a member of the jury (my two children were the real judges), a secretary, a quality controller, a sales agent and a delivery person all at the same time. i can tell you that's quite exciting! and it helps to have mum around to baby-sit:)
it all started with an idea that's been in my head for some time: a colouring book made by a number of different artists who had diverse artistic styles and concepts. i didn't want to tell them what to do, but from where to do it: their hearts. a spontaneous thought of 'i'll just do it!' beginning of january and 'i love japan' was born: a colouring and activity book dedicated to the children of japan who were affected by the 3.11 earthquake/tsunami. they should get something they can hold in their hands, something that reassures them that the world has not forgotten them. and also something to have fun with: to colour in, to scribble, to cut out and paste, or to simply look at and enjoy.
i started to contact all my artist and designer friends ... from uni, from professional and private life, one even from childhood who i haven't spoken to for 30 years ... everyone i could think of! lucky me, a very reliable and talented friend, anna dabrowski, agreed to help me with the layout and all over design of the book. so things got flowing. i found 24 artists, i found sponsors for paper and printing, people who helped me with advice and experience... it was really amzing to see all these open hearts in a money-driven city like hongkong, giving time and talent and resources to this charity project!
make a long story short: i initiated this book because i have always felt a special bond towards japan. i connect to the japanese aesthetic, the sense of colour, of proportion of space and ornament, the appreciation of craftmanship, the perfection of detail, the subtlety of it all... the list goes on. the half year i stayed in tokyo and worked as an intern at a fashion house has made a deep impression. it changed my artistic approach. this is one reason i want to help japan. the other is that now, as a mother, it is so natural to feel for these children who were affected by the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear desaster last year. it want give them something to put a smile on their faces.
i created an individual blog for this book project: please visit japan-i-love.blogspot.com