Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Artfully Meandering: Local Street Art

Part of my commute is an area where you can find people performing or begging. There are some disabled ones I see regularly that I occasionally donate to. One of the performing groups is a bagpipe and drum. They're quite good! It's a little jarring to see a Chinese person playing bagpipes, but, again, they're good!

Some of the disabled ones work for their money. They play instruments, draw, do Chinese calligraphy. This street artist has been the one that has blown me away the most.

What moves me about his art: since I've been learning Mandarin, I've been learning (slowly) to read traditional and simplified Chinese. I want to learn to write. I think it's pretty. It's foundation is a pictorial system. It's so fascinating to me. I have been make rough attempts at learning to write for 8 years. It still looks like a 3-year-old wrote it.

This man has no fingers on one of his using two hands he writes the most perfect blocks of Chinese text I have ever seen.

Side note: I have no idea what it says. The angle is wrong...I can read some of the characters, but I only know about 300 characters. Maybe 400 on the high side. To put that in perspective, according to once source I read, there was a study done on 900 classical Chinese works and they found 5,000 unique symbols. Just so you don't worry, it takes about 1,200 characters to be able to read a newspaper. So, I'm between 25-33% there.

I didn't get better pictures because my camera was on the last morsel of battery juice and I was able to snap only these two. This is the first time I saw him. I hope to see him again so I can get better pictures. Just had to share some local art...there are some incredible artists here!


  1. Thanks for sharing those pics, and some of the story behind it. I find Arabic writing very beautiful is amazing what the human mind and hands can learn to do : )

  2. TRULY INSPIRING...made my day!!!

  3. I'm glad it inspired! I'm really appreciating some of the art here. I need to do some posts on my visit to Beijing...the artwork that makes up the Forbidden City and Summer Palace are incredible. I'm not one for ornate, but you can't help but appreciate the talent and artistry of everyone who helped build and maintain these impressive residences.