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Suzhou Creek sparks artist’s creativity
By Wang Jie

ARTIST Hong Jian looks no further than his hometown of Shanghai for inspiration.

His latest exhibition, “The Awakening of the Bridge,” reflects his interest in architecture and Suzhou Creek.

Hong uses rice-paper for his paintings, which is unusual because his preference for buildings and landscapes generally are best suited to canvas. The artist uses various shades of black, white and gray and his blurred brush strokes conjure up a feeling of nostalgia.

He links his interest in Suzhou Creek with the beginning of Shanghai.

“It is the origin of the civilization of Shanghai, and it was previously the trade and commercial center of old Shanghai,” says Hong, who was born in 1967. “The first generation of Shanghai entrepreneurs opened banks and factories there.

“When I was still a little boy, I often sat there doing sketches for hours,” he continues. “Along Suzhou Creek, there is a certain ordinary civilian atmosphere that permeates in the air.”

His latest paintings are based on pictures and new sketches made along the famous waterway.

“There is something amazing along the creek,” says the Shanghai University graduate. “Some buildings stand there for decades without any change. I can still sense something familiar from a bygone era. On the contrary, there is also something new due to urban redevelopment.

“When I am painting, sometimes I feel as though I am walking in the past and present at the same time.”

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