In Xiong Liang's studio: picture books and woodcut printing

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Yesterday we traveled out of the Dongcheng district, visiting the beautiful studio of Xiong Liang, who welcomed us at the Beijing Arts and Crafts Publishing House. Xiong is a well known artist in China. He has been making book works since he was quite young, both writing and illustrating. Today he has an amazing production of what you might call artistic picture books - both for children and for adults.

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Xiong showing us traditional Chinese artwork and explaining how his own work is in some ways related to it.

Xiong showing us traditional Chinese artwork and explaining how his own work is in some ways related to it.

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Studio details

Studio details

Amongst other things he has made the fantastic book Tales of Darkness (New Star Press, 2015), which so far is my personal favorite (in close competition to the children's book about a cat with a moon-shaped face that ends up finding it's place in the theater world by playing the role as an actual moon). Tales of Darkness is a collection of ghost stories adapted from buddhist folklore. I could not read them as they are in Chinese, not yet translated to English, but the painted images in themselves are very expressive. Some of them show terrifying creatures that sometimes reminds me of the style of Francis Bacon, others chaotic scenes such as cities in ruins. 

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Pages from Tales of Darkness

Xiong has many students. I've learned that this is often the case for acclaimed Chinese artists. One of his students is an artist called Mi He. She generously held a workshop for us in woodcut printing. So much fun! Even I got to polish my rusty skills there, making a portrait of Fredrik.

Tools for woodcutting and figurines by the artists working in the studio

Tools for woodcutting and figurines by the artists working in the studio

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While we were carving the deliciously soft wooden bords, Mi He showed us work made at other workshops. You can carve with different techniques, and also print in different colors. I think we would have stayed for hours if we could, experimenting.

While we were carving the deliciously soft wooden bords, Mi He showed us work made at other workshops. You can carve with different techniques, and also print in different colors. I think we would have stayed for hours if we could, experimenting.

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A bit hard but super fun! This is my take on Fredrik ;)

A bit hard but super fun! This is my take on Fredrik ;)

 

In the evening we headed back to Meridian for the official opening party of China meets Norway in a Bookshelf. I'll share some pics from that, too, in a separate post!

/Cecilie