August 11, 2019 19

This is Malik Mazlan, A Chinese Calligraphy Artist

This is Malik Mazlan, A Chinese Calligraphy Artist

[Slow instrumental playing] When I first started out I saw it as an art form but people tend to forget Chinese calligraphy is an art form anyway To me, when I look at Chinese calligraphy it is like a drawing and not an actual document [Swoosh] My name is Traditionally, it’s easier for the Chinese to start with modern script because it’s already relatable But for me, it was a special case so that’s why we started with ancient scripts I was first attracted to what people would called Seal script is very pictorial It made sense for me back then First of all, I didn’t know any Chinese characters Not to mention stroke order So I didn’t understand (Chinese calligraphy) at all That’s when I started to mimic the pictures (ancient script) The characters that I see really represent what they are supposed to represent Like for example, the symbol for the sun There’s a dot in the middle then the (outer) circle probably because it’s the sun rays Then, there’s the character for mountain One, two, three Looks like a kid drawing mountains For horse some people are like, “Eh, what’s this?” But if you tell them “Okay, this is the eyes this is the body and this is the tail” Then, they’ll say “Oh!” and understand There are thousands of ways to judge what a good calligraphy is First of all, it’s the meaning of the word Like for example, during Chinese New Year you have all the Chinese New Year sayings Then there’s composition Sometimes, the characters don’t line up Sometimes, they put one (character) higher than another Then, there’s form of word You can stretch the word You can make the word much more rectangular Everybody can agree that Chinese is the first or second most difficult language in the world My mother tongue is Malay language so if you say that because you don’t understand the meaning of the word you cannot appreciate chinese calligraphy then I would not have been interested in Chinese calligraphy at all [Upbeat music playing] Last time, I like seal script Now I like cao shu (cursive script) Cao shu is like an abbreviation of kai shu (standard script) From five strokes you can simplify it into four or three strokes Because I understand the meaning of the word and because I write it a lot I have a better understanding of the form of the words Cao shu is very interesting Wow, the leaps and the folds Wow We often discover things about ourselves as we go on so my calligraphy (style), as it goes on, is always changing and I think if you ask most calligraphers the answer will always be the same [Music playing] Chinese calligraphy first started on bones bamboos and then paper Because I’m a millennial artist and each time an era comes in you must reflect what it is so our time is the digital era that’s why I started to do virtual reality calligraphy Because I come from an art form that preserves the old so there was a lot of tug of war Even though art may seem to be only for an elitist few but I felt the need to open it up so that’s why I’m trying to make it accessible (to the public) Between becoming the LV or Uniqlo of the art world I rather be the Uniqlo of the art world My inspiration is to create Singaporean-style calligraphy Something that reflects the Singapore culture but what it is I do not know because we know that the other cultures like the Japanese took many years to create their own philosophy of calligraphy Any art form may seem very rojak at first but it will go through a system of refining by the following generations Usually a style is formed by generations of artists so when I say that I want to create Singapore calligraphy it cannot only be in the hands of Malik Mazlan

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