A colorful life rendered in black and white
A highway bridge, a shop down a lane, a country park, a pond with mandarin fish. Who would have thought that these vivid silhouettes were created by an old man in Jiading?
Chen Xuehua, 71, was engaged in exhibition design when he was young and has a solid foundation in painting. After retirement, inspired by his friends, he began to try the art of silhouettes.
Chen creates at least 20 works every month and has made more than 2,000 over the past decade. He likes traveling, so he shows the scenery he encounters in the form of silhouettes.
After years of exploration, Chen has his own understanding of the art. He says that in the artistic treatment of decorative painting, the styles of paper-cut and silhouette are quite different.
The image outline of a paper-cut is often exaggerated, dynamic and vivid, while silhouettes pay attention to realism, proportions and perspective relationships between objects.
The silhouettes created by Chen are flexible in form and cover a wide range of subjects. They not only have the characteristics of folk art, but also the distinctive and profound elements of the times.
Most of the silhouettes he creates come from everyday life. He is good at observing, and through imagination and generalization, he grasps the most touching and typical moments in life.
Chen said that after more than 10 years of creation, the most difficult thing to grasp is the portrait.
Portrait silhouettes are the most difficult. To show the vertical sense of people’s faces in the two-color space of a silhouette, which is neither black nor white, designers must have a level of sketch skills.
“Facial features all have a certain proportion of position. As long as these relationships change a little, the outlook will change. Each one has to be pondered for a long time,” said Chen.
Nowadays, silhouettes making has become a part of Chen’s life. He says although he suffers from eye problems, he can use his hands to show the beauty of the heart and a colorful world in black and white.