Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hello to China

In honor of President Barack Obama visiting the People's Republic of China, I extend my best wishes to those who love imaginative art there.

I'm curious if anyone who has been to China and knows the culture could comment on the status of fantasy art in that country. Is fantasy or science fiction art something you see in the poster shops, newsstands, or bookstores?


Daniel.Z said...

Hi Mr. Gurney

From my experience, modern fantasy art in China exists largely within and around the gaming industry.

The art scene in China remains rather 'traditional' overall, with popularity still in favor of tradition watercolor paintings, calligraphy and the likes.

i, me said...

don't know but they produce some pretty disciplined artsts - i see them at the league, the academy, etc all the time in NYC not to mention drawing portraits for $$ in central park

Erik Bongers said...

I remember that during the olympics, some decorative (fake)houses on the horse's cross-country course had roofs of a certain color. They had to be repainted because the color had the wrong symbolic meaning.

China is a huge and tempting market, but if you see that children's books from europe and america have difficulties of crossing eachother's borders because of subtle cultural differences, you can imagine how difficult it must be to penetrate the chinese market.

That's not to say that it isn't worth to try of course...
But I can imagine that a chinese neighbour that can warn you for certain no-no's may be indispensable.

Unknown said...

Is that a genuine chinese message with some wisdom in your sketch, or is it just copied from the take-away box from lunch yesterdag :-) ?

James Gurney said...

Ivo, If I copied it right, the dino is saying "Fantasy Art," and that's my name written below. I copied them from the Chinese editions of the Dinotopia books.

Thanks, Daniel, I,me, and Erik for your interesting perspectives. I don't really expect anyone in China to read the blog since Blogspot is blocked. I'm just curious what sort of fantasy or science fiction work the young artists in China are looking at, either from Chinese or foreign artists.

Frankie said...

I know Obama canceled his visit to the Dalai Lama, and has eased up on his criticisms of China's human rights' abuses to curry favor with them.

Roberto said...

Well I’ve never been to China, but as far as imaginative art goes this guy has got something going that is quite impressive. His work isn’t necessarily political, but the authorities find it quite subversive. (If your computer starts acting weird, or you start hearing strange beeps on your cell phone after viewing his work, it’s just the internet police monitoring your cookies). -RQ

Beijing based artist Liu Bolin:

Anonymous said...

When I was in China last year I didn't really notice a lot of fantasy/sci-fi in the book stores I was in. Traditional Chinese mythological figures are still very popular such as Foo Lions and the sons of the dragons, but not really much imported stuff.

There are a lot of bad traditional drama shows though with eastern mythology, period drama and the like such as one which featured a prisoner being dragged behind a horse by a stick through the arm sleeves of his robe, causing him to fly like a kite. I also saw one which involved female nagas which was actually interesting to watch, but the only familiar sci-fi/fantasy thing I can really recall was seeing one of the Blade movies on a channel we got in our hotel.

If I had to guess, I'd say the fact that there are Chinese editions of your books (beyond your fabulous writing and artistic talents) owes more to a lot of recent interest with dinosaurs in China, rather than a large following of westernized fantasy/sci-fi. I did see a dinosaur park and was able to check out an animation studio which makes an apparently popular animated series for children involving dinosaurs when I was over there.

drifter critic said...

The meaning of the Chinese words in the dino's speech bubble isn't exactly "Fantasy Art". It's actually just "fantasy". That is, if it is (I assume) functioning as a noun; it can also mean "illusion" or "fancy".

If it's functioning as a verb, it would mean "fancy", "dream" or "imagine".

Anyways, (as an idle observation) from what I've seen of Chinese art blogs, the fantasy genre seems to be heavily influenced by Japanese artists, namely Takashi Murakami.