Artist Zhang Le work
I love all art and have really come to appreciate Chinese art. There are a few street artists I have purchased from. My first day in China I was in Beijing. While walking around we wondered into a little art museum across the street from Tienemen Square. A young man approached me speaking English. He explained that the art in the room was all students trying to raise money for more education. That grabbed my heart right away (whether it was true or not.) I especially love the cherry blossoms so purchased that. The fish and blossoms apparently represent prosperity and the koi is strong and independent. Of course I had to have that one too. I think I am a sucker when it comes to buying from students.
Another painting I purchased was basically an accident ( if there is such a thing). I was downtown Xingheng touring a museum with a student. I saw a village entrance across the street and asked if we could go over there. As we walked into the courtyard we noticed 3 men playing a game with some large blocks. I looked around me and saw paintings on thin paper were hanging over windows. I communicated through my student my inquiry about the paintings and who did them. They pointed to the old man playing games with them. When asked to see his other art he invited us into his home.
One room about 12×12 was filled with hanging art pieces. Mountains, flowers, birds, rivers, and canyons. All of them were beautiful. There were scrolls of art stacked 3 feet high on the floors. In one corner of his room he had a 10 gallon drum hollowed out, topped with a cooking wok. He made a fire in it and used it as a cook top stove. A mattress on the floor served as his bed and a large table in the middle of the room served as his art stand. After his friend read my friend’s palm and told her what was in store for her future and past we each purchased a painting.
While walking through campus my last day in October I came across a young artist working on a painting in the middle of Italian Square on campus. Zhang Le is his name and his art spoke to me. He’s a recent graduate June 2013) from Luoyang Normal University. He has studied art for 7 years but has been a life long artist. He loves friendships with foreigners because they can exchange ideas of how to mix east and west in his art.He combines Chinese traditional ink with color to make that blend.He had beautiful scenes of villages and large pink peonies (Luoyang is famous for their peonies gardens).I was completely broke and had $30 left in my purse to get home on. He was delightful and wanted to sell me a painting. It was painful to walk away from him without one of his masterpieces. I did get his email and started communicating with him.
I decided I wanted one of his art pieces to be the cover of my book. He was so excited when I told him this and he was eager to create whatever I wanted. When I returned in May I wasn’t sure how I would find Zhang. As I was walking across Italian Square one afternoon I spotted him sitting on his little stool surrounded by people while painting a mountain scene. I made my way through the crowd and greeted him. He was so excited to see me and visit. The piece I requested from him was completed and hanging in the Sias cafe. We chatted as we entered the cafe to see the painting. As soon as I saw it I fell in love with it. This young man is very gifted and will continue to be my friend and family. He gave me a family discount because he says “we are now family since we have become close friends.” The beautiful painting of a village on a mountain side now hangs on my living room wall.