Monday, 29 September 2008

A Walk on the Wild Side

I found this article in a recent edition of the Taipei Times. One of the Taiwanese indigenous tribes has an annual celebration where the men go into the wild central mountains hunting wild boar. Here we have a group of young men with their glorious porky catch.

Quite coincidentally not so long ago I went walking with a friend on the north east coast. It's one of Taiwan's national parks. Rugged mountains with fantastic views of the Pacific ocean. It's challenging stuff especially for us pedestrian walkers. Anyway to cut a long story short we got lost and trapped on a very narrow overgrown path on a steep sided valley. We didn't realize we were in boar territory. As it turned out this was Mr Boar's path and he wasn't happy when he saw us. A big grunt, I mean a very BIG grunt alerted us to his presence and there he stood, blocking our only means of escape. He was mean looking, assertive and had the physique to back up his grunt...

...We realized that to escape we'd have to plunge down the valley side to the river below. Images of us being gored by a large pig kept the adrenalin flowing and we were into full flee mode. It must have looked quite funny to see two middle aged, white guys tumbling through the undergrowth in total disarray. Mr Boar didn't follow us, he had better things to do. Needless to say we survived our ordeal. I decided to write about our little adventure and to illustrate it with a silk paper cut for a local magazine. Here's the cut. I scanned it in two halves as it is quite big. I'll let you know when the article is published.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Paper Pulp Exhibition

Over the summer I managed to hook up with an innovative UK arts organization based in the gorgeous county of Dorset. (This is where my ancestors came from in the 17thC. The Artsreach organization are doing a travelling exhibition around the villages of Dorset entitled Paper Pulp. Twelve artists are exhibiting with paper being the common element between them. In each unpronounceable village Artsreach set up the exhibition for a few days with an accompanting paper workshop before heading off to the next one. This goes on for six weeks throughout October and November. I've got five pieces in the show and the fact that they are cut in silk paper does not seem to worry the curators.

So, if by any chance you are travelling through the leafy green thatched villages of Dorset then drop in and take a look. Take in a pint (or two) at the local pub while you are at it. I myself will have to be content with observing everything thousands of miles away in sultry Taipei!!!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Trying to get back into the swing of things!

It's taken a few weeks to get back into the flow of things here in Taiwan. Coming back from a cool English climate to the constant drip drip of sweaty Taipei has been hard to adjust to, not only for my art but also for my 'real' work. Nevertheless there are a few art projects on the go at the moment and as they come to fruition I'll write more about them. In the meantime let me introduce you to a few of the many artists out there who I find quite inspiring.

Check out the excellent blog Tlacoland (I've got no idea what it means either!) Written by Jazmin Velasco (thxs for awarding me the prestigious Brillante Weblog by the way!). I adore her Mexican Wrestlers especially the awesome Machete in his fearsome mask. Her blog is a cionstant source of fab musings on life 'n' art.

There was an international art fair here in Taipei last week. There were galleries from all over Asia representing the latest trends. They came from Japan, Korea and of course Taiwan. Found the work of a young Taiwanese artist, Wu Geng Zhen, very interesting especially his paper cuts. A nice fusion of old and new with hints of manga. Can't find a website for him.

Another recent discovery are the paper cuts of Elsa Mora. Originally from Cuba she now resides in LA. Her cuttings are amazingly delicate and beautifully cut. They have echoes of traditional European fairy tales which give them an innocent yet distinctly edgy feel.

Over in Japan the ever productive Patrick Gannon continues to amaze me with his commitment to his Japanese influenced paper cutting art. With two shows in the US and one in Japan running simultaneously I hope this is his big break. Check out his comprehensive blog.