One of our talented Chinese artists, Yu Chengyou’s images draw upon natural surroundings, from wildlife to human life, places that, through the simplicity of his style, seem tranquil and uncluttered. His prints offer quite a contrast to the metropolises’ of China; they depict places that bring solace from the maddening crowds and industrialisation of China today. His work promises something better for us, a calmer world to strive for.
We’re pleased to share a few images from his solo printmaking exhibition titled “Clean Journey” that was shown at the end of 2018in Shenzhen, China. Below are the images from the exhibition catalogue and a few words from the artist himself, talking about his artistic journey.
My Artistic Journey:
I was born in the rural area of Shandong, China. My father had participated in the local army during the Second World War against Japan. Later, I learned that such a unit was called an “armed force.” My father has always been a cadre in the village. During the Great Leap Forward in 1958, the village was already starved to death. He was afraid of taking responsibility and left his hometown to come to Heilongjiang Coal Mine. For this reason, he was identified as a “Out Party Member” during the Culture Revolution. My mother gave birth to me when she was 40. When I was seven years old, I went to the mine with my mother to reunite with my father.
Photo: Yu Chengyou was in Guanlan Printmaking Centre at ShenZhen
Although my father didn’t have higher education, he had beautiful handwriting. My mother painted and did various embroideries. She also specialised in the traditional moulding by using Shandong flavours. I later learned that this kind of craft is called “flavouring moulding.” If I have a little talent for painting, maybe it was inherited from my parents.
Later, I participated in the Jiamusi Agricultural Reclamation Bureau and took a printmaking class tutored by Mr. Hao Boyi; that was the beginning of my focus on printmaking.
I have always believed that art is inseparable from life. I have traveled all over Heilongjiang in these years and I go to countryside two or three times a year to experience quieter life and collect materials. Every time, I gain a lot; in addition to accumulating a lot of creative materials, I also let my body and mind wander into nature, to help me to maintain a peaceful, simple state.
My requirements for my own creativity and works are not high, but I approach it as seriously and sincerely as possible. I don’t like bluffing, and so it is the same in my work.
In recent years, I have seen some works that have awed me and some that have confused me. I always feel that I am out of date, but I have an open-minded attitude. Printmaking is my speciality and I am continuing to work in this field. I will keep going, step by step…
Read more about Yu Chengyou and see the prints we have for sale from this artist on the ArtChina UK website.