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Erenlai - Items filtered by date: Friday, 16 March 2012
Friday, 16 March 2012 14:47

Memories of the Local

The experience of local culture and how it is absorbed is often a big source of inspiration for manga artists. The two artists in this section give us an insight into what growing up in Taiwan was like, and the perspective on the world that this granted them.

“For me, comic books are a means towards understanding others, they are also a way to allow others to know what I think.”

Ruan graduated in advertising design and interior architecture. He was an assistant designer for many years. In 1997, he published the comic book A Civilian-turned-President: Abian. 2009 was a big year for Ruan, since he won the first prize from GIO for his book Donghuachun Barbershop and he also published the comic book serial Spring at the Emergency Room online. Ruan depicts the lives of the lower classes of Taiwanese society in a touching manner, which flourish against a backdrop of flowers and plants, of bricks and tiles, strongly influenced by local traditions. The Taiwanese television has already acquired the rights to adapt and show Donghuachun Barbershop as a television program.

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Readers in Mainland China can watch it here

“Comic books give me a space for freedom of expression, drawing gives me a feeling of serenity.”

Sean Chuang has made more than 400 commercials since 1996. More than ten years ago, he wrote A Filmmaker’s notes, which was well received by the public thanks to its fresh and hip style. It launched Sean Chuang’s drawing career and it inspired him to write the bilingual graphic novel The Window. Passionate and dynamic, he spent ten years perfecting this masterpiece. In 2009 he won the GIO first prize with The Window. During the 10 years it took, Sean Chuang went through a rough spell and almost abandoned the project, but the prize gave him confidence. The story tells of the fate of a small town in the North struck by war. Afflicted by poverty, the numerous inhabitants of the village desert it, leaving behind children and the elderly. Totally without dialogue, there is no lack of passion in this colourful comic. As he always does, Sean Chuang continues to make films on the one hand, whilst on the other he focuses on writing comic books.

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Readers in Mainland China can watch it here

 

Friday, 16 March 2012 13:02

Creative Inspiration

Being a Manga artist is a job which demands a lot of sustained creative and imaginative output, in this section several of the artists discuss how they get their inspiration and how they are able to sustain creativity throughout their careers. Or as Chen Uen puts it "Amateurs talk about inspiration, professionals will tell you that you have to rely on life experiences accumulated".

“Writing comic books is like hatching some eggs: All sorts of birds will fly from the nest.”

CHEN Uen, whose real name is CHEN Jin-wen, worked for twelve different design companies before founding his own interior design company. His career was launched when he published his first comic The belligerent black panther, in the magazine China Times Weekly in 1984. Acclaimed by critics he immediately published two more comics which he illustrated with Chinese ink, and which were both inspired by real Chinese history accounts by Sima Qian. His style, painstakingly detailed and bold, rests upon a mastery of Chinese ink and Western illustration. His creations have a chivalrous, heroic, generous, and tender feel to them. In 1991, after publishing a very popular Chinese historical comic in Japan, he became the first foreign author in 20 years to receive the prize for excellence in manga creation from the Japanese manga association.

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Readers in mainland China can view here

“Comic books are mirrors in which I reveal myself”


Chi, whose real name is LIU Yi-chi (in mandarin it is pronounced like the numbers 617), was born in 1988 in Kaohsiung, in the South of Taiwan. As a student of art, she spent almost ten years learning about fine arts. The year before entering university she published her first comic book, and throughout her time studying, published a whole series of them. Chi belongs to a whole new generation of Taiwanese comic book artists; her mastery of graphics is surprising, her style covers children’s illustrations, the realistic American design, and even extends to Japanese aesthetics. Activities she is involved with include design, illustration, and photography, but most of her interest and creations still lie within the realms of comics and publication. Chi attempts to merge the beauty of design and art into her comics and illustrations. Her dream is to go on a trip around the world, and she hopes one day to be able to see that Northern Lights and the Loch Ness monster.

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Readers in mainland China can view here

“Comic books are life itself”

Born in Taipei in 1968, Chang Sheng graduated from the Fu-Hsin college of art and commerce, in the department of western painting. After working for 15 years in the advertising business, he realised one day that his childhood dream of becoming a comic book artist had never been realised. This is what pushed him to quit his job and launch into a new artistic career. For Chang, beautiful illustrations and a good plot are the basis for a fantastic science fiction story. A fan of cinema, Chang often bases his characters on real movie stars. Films, videogames, and alcohol or his favourite pastimes, but he is also interested in collecting figurines and in building models. When he is not so busy with drawing, he plans to dive into the world of cinema or writing.

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Readers in mainland China can view here

“For me, comic books are a way to accomplish what I was born to do: entertain people.”

Born in 1965, Loїc HSIAO arranges his comics with only one illustration per page. Amongst all the Chinese comic book artists to arrange their images this way, he is the most famous. He started his career by publishing The hidden side of fairy tales. This book, consisting of 30 individual vignettes, sold 500.000 copies, it’s a best-seller known all around the Chinese-speaking world. Loїc has a wide array of interests, and is involved in hosting TV shows, and acting in commercial spots amongst others. He is also a very active stage actor, and has founded his own silent theatre troupe, called House of Sugar. In 2010, he even created some lucky charm mascots for the Tourism Bureau to promote Taiwan North coast’s National Scenic Route. The Taiwanese edition of GQ called him “the most talented comic book artist of Taiwan”.

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Readers in mainland China can view here

Friday, 16 March 2012 12:48

Manga and Beyond

There are many preconceptions about what constitutes Manga and what lies beyond its confines, the artists in this section have attempted to use different media to overcome these self-imposed boundaries, Ah Tui bridging graphic design and Manga, and Evan Lee bringing Manga to 3D format.

“Comic books may seem excessively surreal, but life itself is even crazier”

The celebrated Taiwanese comic artist Ah Tui was born in Hsinchu in 1962. His favourite style is science fiction, but not just any science fiction. His is a science fiction that moves away from convention, full of western influences and references, and with a technique which demonstrates tremendous attention to detail. This helps pique the curiosity of the readers, who feel like they are trapped in a puzzle they must decipher. Later on, he diversified his work by moving into the design of illustrations and toys, all kinds of media surrounding comic books, street fashion and travel diaries. He has also worked as a graphic advertiser for many brands, such as Nike, Sony, Adidas, Nokia, EPSON, 7-11, etc. Ah Tui is frequently invited by fashion magazines to write articles in their specialized sections.

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Readers in Mainland China can watch here

“A silent weapon defying and opposing the values of society, that is what comic books are.”

Evan Lee is a contemporary Taiwanese illustrator who specializes in western art. He has published seven pieces of work since the start of his career. He became famous after creating a very original set of tarot cards. He has mastered numerous techniques, such as gilding, pastels, acrylics and watercolours, which he then combines with new IT (such as computer graphics), to produce his illustrations. He created his 78-card set with a particularly developed style. Since 2008, he has collaborated with the artist 3D RICK to develop the first Taiwanese illustrated book which allows for 3D viewing without requiring glasses, thanks to a specific method of refracting rays. Other than developing books, Evan Lee presents his creations in individual or joint exhibitions, both in Taiwan and abroad. He often gives televised or written interviews discussing graphic techniques.

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Readers in Mainland China can watch here

 

Friday, 16 March 2012 12:40

Tradition versus Modernity

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Taiwan's culture draws on many different sources, stemming from traditions from the different parts and ethnic identities of China, the Pacific and its Austronesian peoples as well as its colonial legacy from Spain, Portugal and Japan. These traditions in the 21st Century engage in dialogue with the globalized world and The artists in this section

 

“If comic books didn’t exist, I would have been dead by primary school…dead of boredom.”

CHIU Row-Long was born in 1965. Due to all the small nudges received and encouraged by having both a father and a grandfather who were illustrators, his younger brother and him both grew up to be comic artists. CHIU Row-Long excels in the realist style of design and writing, and is particularly inspired by the history and culture of the Taiwanese aborigines (his wife is a member of the Seediq tribe). He has participated in the creation of numerous aborigine language educational textbooks. He spent several years conducting research and compiling all sorts of documents relative to the revolt by 300 Seediq aborigines against the Japanese colonialists. This revolt is the most heroic, albeit tragic, that has occurred in the modern history of Taiwan.

 

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“I always wanted to explain the world, and comic books are the tools heaven has given me to do so!”

James HUANG was born in Taipei in 1966. After completing his studies, he started working in animation. In 1987, he published his first, 16-page long comic book, The Blue Side, in the journal Huanle (Joy), under the penname Red Army. His humour is famous for being very sharp. For the next few years he published a few more books until 1996, when he edited a long comic book, The Little Boy Kui-hsing, before diving into the world of animation and video games. In 2003, he was recruited by the biggest Taiwanese online gaming company, Gamania, where he worked in the department of design and the creative centre. Through Gamania, he participated in the creation of the animation film “108 heroes”, which was broadcast on an American animation channel.

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