Longgang shines at 11th Shenzhen Arts and Crafts Fair-龙岗政府在线
Painter's innovation: performance+painting

He cheers, and continues drawing with great passion for a devoted fan who came from Beijing to the 11th Shenzhen Arts and Crafts Fair last week, after just finishing a gold-powder painting depicting Zhong Nanshan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. The fair provided him a 90-minute-on-stage opportunity to show his unique painting methods to the audience.

A gold-powder painting depicting Zhong Nanshan by Huang. Lin Songtao

Huang Fengrong, a pioneer painting artist from southeast Fujian Province, stepped onto his painting path at an early age, and began trying out innovative ways of painting around 10 years ago.

Huang Fengrong. Photos courtesy of the interviewee unless otherwise stated

He invented a new art style called performing painting ("演画"), which combines painting and performance and lets the drawing process becomes both artsy and humorous. To be specific, Huang uses exaggerated body language when painting, sometimes dances with music.

"I loved painting as well as imitating actors in movies when I was young, but I have never thought until now that I could have these two elements join together. In 2010, it was the first time that I showed this new form of art on TV. At the Dafen Oil Painting Village where I have a studio, I performed drawing in a gala, and I sent the performing video to the program 'I Want to Perform in China's New Year Gala' hosted by CCTV. It became famous after I drew a painting for celebrated compere Dong Qing."

Huang's studio at Dafen Oil Painting Village. Lin Songtao

Huang said that since then, he started to create more styles of drawing, including reversed drawing, gold-powder drawing, feet-treading drawing, paste-up drawing, double-shadow drawing on glasses as well as others.

A Huang's paste-up painting originally by Vincent Van Gogh.

Paste-up painting "Het meisje met de parel" by Huang.

"Inheritance is advocated for China's art, but I focus more on innovation and I'm enjoying it," Huang said.

At first, many people including art industry insiders were suspicious about Huang’s new steps, but he found some foreigners like the style. "To insist on creating new things is not easy, and it can take a long time to attract a large audience. To keep a balance between earning money and pleasing the audience is also tough. Thus I think that art as a job is lonesome. All these test one's commitment."

Huang's reputation stalled until he performed on "China's Got Talent" in 2014. Concurrently, his special art forms caught attention from abroad. "There's occasionality in necessity. Some foreign friends introduced my works to others after visiting my studio. A French friend invited me to draw for famed French actress Sophie Marceau, and some other French friends recommended that I hold an exhibition at the Palais de Versailles in Paris. I took the chance and the exhibits were well received, thus providing further opportunities for me."

So far, Huang has been invited to draw paintings for 17 national leaders when participating in some State visits.

The 17 national leaders who were painted by Huang. Lin Songtao

In 2017, Huang launched two projects named "Creating the World's 100 Famous Paintings" and "The Impression China 56." The first project united 100 entrepreneurs to invest in Huang and his team's re-creation of the world's famous painting using the paste-up technique, and also on derivative products such as tea.

A tea box—a form of derivative products from project "Creating the World's 100 Famous Paintings." Lin Songtao

For "The Impression China 56," Huang and his team traveled through China and experienced various nationalities' lives, and sought inspiration to create a memorial painting for each nationality on site, with themes in portraits and landscapes. At the same time, the team shot a documentary. "So far we've achieved the goal of visiting 22 minority nationalities. But the shooting had to be suspended due to the pandemic. However, we’ll resume shooting next year," he said.

As an artist in residence at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen), Huang has taken part in activities like making paste-up paintings with students, staging solo painting performances, giving lectures and others.

"In the future, I want to play a more crucial part in society, not only for the art industry, but for all people who love art. I initiated a 'Stars of Performing Painting' competition recently, which is an event of 2020 Dafen International Oil Painting Biennale, and it aims to cultivate children to study this form of art," Huang said.

Themed "A district strong in arts and crafts, a pioneer in digital creation," a delegation formed by the culture industry of Longgang District took part in the 11th Shenzhen Arts and Crafts Fair, showcasing the development achievements of the digital creative industry and arts and crafts industries of the district.

"The 2020 Shenzhen Arts and Crafts Fair is held when Shenzhen Special Economic Zone celebrates its 40th anniversary. It's also the first off-line culture exhibition. Thus, the fair is of great significance," said Peng Gang, vice director of the cultural industry promotion center of Longgang District.

According to Peng, Longgang is a district strong in arts and crafts and digital creative industries. It's home to traditional arts and crafts industry bases such as Dafen Oil Painting Village, Sanlian Crystal, Jade and Stone Street and China Silk Culture Industry Creative Park. It's also the digital creative industry base in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

At this fair, the exhibits, film and television works and hardware such as display screens are all made by Longgang, featuring the four combinations of tradition and modern, culture and technology, hardware and software, and arts and crafts and digital creation. These four combinations are also the key industry development direction of Longgang.

Approaching the exhibition area of Longgang District, you will be welcomed by a huge glasses-free 3D water tank with effects of sea wave. Together with the background sound, it makes you feel like in the seaside with waves hitting the coast. This is the visual effects created by Longgang company Locator, which uses 3D software to simulate the real world space.

"Movie special effects are an important part of digital creative industry and require a high standard of aesthetics and technology. We use the underlying technology of movie special effects to cooperate with the hardware provider. Two LED screens are put together, and the perspective principle is used to simulate the glasses-free 3D effect," said Nie Huajun, founder and CEO of Locator.

One of the highlights of Longgang exhibition area is "culture plus technology." Leading companies in digital equipment including Huawei, Shenzhen Grandsun Electronic Co., Shenzhen MTC Co. and Absen all bring their latest products to the fair.

The noise-canceling headphone developed by Shenzhen Grandsun Electronic Co. attracts many fairgoers. According to Wu Haiquan, chairman of Shenzhen Grandsun Electronic Co., the company has released a string of innovative products including the wearable bluetooth headset which can monitor the real-time heart rate and body temperature.

Longgang is a strong cultural industry district in Shenzhen. It is the pioneer of the subvenue model in the history of the China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair (ICIF). In 2019, the cultural industry in Longgang District achieved an output value of 203.39 billion yuan, creating an added value of 49.672 billion yuan, representing an increase of 8 percent year-on-year, and accounting for more than 10 percent of the district's GDP.

There are more than 14,400 cultural companies in the district, of which more than 600 are companies above designated size, accounting for 20 percent of the total number of companies above designated size in the district. A total of 15 companies have been rated as "Top 100 Cultural and Creative Enterprises in Shenzhen," and there are nine listed cultural companies.

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