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Scribbling his way to the top

By Lin Qi (China Daily) Updated: 2016-01-05 07:54 Comments

Scribbling his way to the top

Paintings of birds by Ye Yongqing. The artist says he uses birds as a metaphor for his understanding of current social circumstances.[Photo provided to China Daily]

A graduate of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in Chongqing, Ye Yongqing draws birds using a unique method. A solo exhibition now running in Beijing has dozens of his works produced over the past year. Lin Qi reports.

He is well-known for painting quirky pictures of birds using scratch lines. But this distinctive style, which Ye Yongqing began using in 2000, also invited ridicule.

The criticism, however, comes largely from an ignorance of how Ye works.

Usually he scribbles the outline of a bird on notebook. He projects the image onto a sheet of paper to produce a magnified image. He then reworks the image of the bird by detailing every inch of its body.

The process takes hours and can sometimes even take days. At first glance, the picture of the bird looks like an unfinished, childish scrawl, but a closer examination lets you see the delicate combinations of dots and lines.

Art critic Hang Chunxiao says Ye "insists that his approach is also about showing how a work's meaning comes into being".

Ye also reflects on how art should be produced-whether through mass production or through time-consuming attempts.

"The process of painting is like an old woman doing embroidery," he tells China Daily.

"One becomes more and more desperate, because one sees there's no end to it. As I look at a canvas I feel like I am facing a silent creditor."

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