sketchbook cover (based on Chinese textile design)
At the end of November 2011 I had the pleasure of attending the Qijiang International Printmaking Festival in Chongqing (a large city in south-west China) where I participated in a fantastic exhibition and symposium. I was really impressed by the quality of all the prints and the broad range of techniques on display. A highlight for me was the opportunity to meet some of the other artists involved, share images and ideas and learn about some of the similarities and differences in the way printmaking is practised around the world. Here are some photos and sketches* from the trip, thanks for looking :)
*The sketchbook I took to China will soon be sent off to tour around the U.S. as part of The Sketchbook Project 2012 before finding a permanent home in the Brooklyn Art Library, New York!
at Singapore airport on my way to Chongqing
the international artists outside the exhibition held at Southwest University
(the big sign suddenly made us feel very important...)
Canadian artist Heather Huston and I
(now suddenly feeling very under-dressed!)
me with my lithograph
translator and audience before keynote presentations
Chinese artist Dai Zensheng in his studio
U.S. artist Jon Goebel giving a demo for a large crowd of enthusiastic students at the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts
Jian Lan helping to translate my artist talk @ Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts
The hosts of the festival were very generous and went to great effort to show the visiting artists some of the their city and culture. They also delighted in feeding us multiple banquets each day consisting entirely of the most unrecognisable and spicy (but for the most part tasty) food I have ever encountered!
The famous Chongqing hot pot (huo guo) & a list of some other delicacies
Jon overwhelmed by dinner
Our hotel was right in the centre of Chongqing, a fascinating city undergoing some rapid developments, wandering around it was easy to get caught up in all the contrasts between old and new.
This lady was sitting outside a cafe sewing suits on an amazing old Singer sewing machine
Fancy western shopfronts in the city, I later found out that the van at the bottom represents a corrupt authority who are supposed to prevent people selling meat etc on the street
From Chongqing we took a day trip to Dazu to see some extraordinary Buddhist rock carvings, which filled the steep cliffs and caves above a lush green valley.
We also visited Qijiang, a district of Chongqing, and the Qijiang Farmers Printmaking Institute. Farmers Printmaking is a famous folk art movement in the area where happy, brightly coloured scenes of village life are printed from a single woodblock. The artists would often print in layers using different colours of gouache painted on different areas of the woodblock with a brush while the paper was held down by a weight on one side.
the woodblock & print in progress (the image was based on one of the Dazu Buddhist carvings)
a beautiful arrangement of brushes for applying each colour
detail of a typical print in the folk art style
on the bus again!
From Qijiang the tour bus took a little off-road excursion to see the new mountain-top artist village which was still under construction. The road there also still seemed to be under construction and at one point we came to a complete stop and had fun watching people filling in the road ahead.
The bumpy road was completely worth it though, especially to meet this amazing 80 year old man and the other lovely people in the village!
The village was quite secluded with wonderful views and lots of interesting spots for sketching.
One of the Chinese artists did this great sketch of Heather and I while we were sketching!
On our last night as a group we were treated to a beautiful Chinese tea ceremony!
After the festival I stayed on in China for about 10 days to explore the region a little more. My roommate from the festival, Italian artist Marica Rizzato, accompanied me to Wulong National Park to see the spectacular Three Natural Bridges.
once again our journey into the mountains was delayed - this time the road was in much better condition, but that just seemed to make the drivers a little too confident...
We also visited Chengdu (along with the wonderful Jian Lan) where there were some great temples, above is a Taoist temple and below is the large Wenshu Buddhist temple.
... and the ultimate in cute: baby pandas!
My last stop, and definitely a highlight, was Zhangjiajie national park - a strange landscape of sandstone pillars on an unbelievable scale, which disappeared into the fog just like a Chinese brush painting!
Some areas of the park were quite busy with Chinese day-trippers who all wanted to take photos of me (apparently the tallest girl they had ever seen). However, there was a great youth hostel in a quiet spot right on top of the mountain where I stayed for a few nights. The view above was just a quick stroll out the back door of the hostel to what seemed like a secret balcony and became my favourite spot to revisit and see how dramatically the mountains changed at different times of day.
some of the great people I met in the hostel on the mountain-top - Rock & Cecilia (above) & Tim with the resident canine (below)