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by Iching Hung

There are many kinds of love in the world
The ultimate purpose of life is to seek love
Love of the universe
Love of God
Love of nature
Love of animals
Love of mankind
Love of culture
Love of art......
Feel free interpreting your feelings
of love in your own experience.

I decided to enter the wonder of the drawing world when I was fifteen, and was determined to be a professional art picture book maker when I was seventeen. The unveiling of this this journey full of challenges and wonders began between 2005 and 2007 when I had several precious opportunities to undertake artist-in-residence programs in Taiwan and overseas. By immersing myself in such experiences, interacting with people from different cultures and through the process of  observation, it has become the source of inspiration and motivation for my creativity.

During my residencies at the Taipei Artist Village (2005), Central TAFE Perth, Western Australia (2006), and ARCUS in Japan (2006), I opened up my studio to interact with the public every day. In my process, whether it is drawing a large mural, or a long Chinese scroll (25 meters long), I always use my intuition and without preliminary sketches, to allow for improvisation when working on a drawing. These works formed part of the “Black and White Untitled Series.” I also conducted children’s workshops by taking them to collect objects from their everyday surroundings. This face to face working process gave me the opportunity to listen to other people’s stories and understand their way of life. It also provided me with various opportunities to visit their families and discover nature in different parts of the world.  Through this experience, I have come to comprehend that the essence of abstract art is that it has no boundaries between nations, cultures, generations, languages, ages, races, hierarchies, genders, or religions. I have very strong and deep feelings echoing inside me which makes me think that the Earth is like a home in the universe. This journey of searching for my inner-self, has helped me to return to the essence of making art picture books, found in the “Black and White Wordless Picture Book: Imagination, Dreams, and The Universe”.   

With the Black-and-White Untitled series and the Black-and-White Wordless Series, I communicated with people from different countries and interacted with people of various ages, including children, the elderly, people with Asperger's Syndrome and the visually impaired. By observing how the readers read, I came to realize how people perceived the world from different perspectives and how they developed their individuality based on their various life experiences, growing environments, backgrounds and cultures. In the process of exploring myself, I also came to understand how important empathy is.

From these observations and experiences, I discovered that for young children, this kind of innocent curiosity, intuitive sensibility, free imaginative association and creativity when responding to the abstract drawings, is the origin of our human spirit and should be respected and encouraged. This kind of “child-like spirit” is reflected in their conception of life; especially for babies and young children, as they often react to their surroundings without logic and respond to it unexpectedly, and they are obsessed with where their passion lies and persist for it, as if they were the “prototype” of an artist.  

All these ‘nutrients’ acquired during artist residencies motivated and prompted me to create a series of abstract and wordless picture books: The Red, Le Visiteur, The Mushrooms, The Secrets, and The Little Tailor between 2009 to 2017. I hope these art  picture books enable children as well as adults to preserve their autonomy and imagination, develop their independent thinking and self-exploration. I also want people to interpret these books based on their life experiences. There is no age limit, nor standard answers provided by engaging with these books. It is more like looking into a mirror, exploring and understanding our inner selves. Our imagination, originality and self-interpretation are triggered, confidence and faith will be found, and our innate nature will be passed on, so that we are able to head for the chaotic and unknown future. Since 2018, I have been working on the interactive “Playful Books”.

About Iching Hung 

Born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1981. Iching Hung’s hometown Xinzhuang is one of the birthplaces of Taiwanese temple culture. There are three generations in her family who have worked in traditional temple decoration painting. Her great-grandfather Hung, Bao-Cheng was a recognized painting master in traditional temple images in Taiwan, specializing in animal beings, flora and other categories of traditional temple painting. The early well-known Taiwanese painter, Li Mei-shu, invited her great-grandfather to participate in the restoration project of the Sanshia Tzushr Temple and assigned him to be in charge of painting restoration. Her grandmother was a tailor making both traditional Chinese costumes and western-style garments. This unique family background created wonderful childhood memories of dragon and lion dancing, glove puppetry, Taiwanese folk opera, open-air cinemas, sugarcoated plums on a stick, and the cloud like fairy loss of festive celebrations. And when the gold leaf that her father and grandfather used to decorate temples unfolded piece by piece in front of her eyes, they were just like shining stars twinkling in the sky, and she innocently imagined herself as a little golden asteroid that could travel freely through universe. These magical childhood memories are the seeds of imagination, now rooted in her heart to inspire her creations.

Published by Iching Hung
Artist : Iching Hung
Book Design : Iching Hung
Print : Wei-Yang Print Plan Agent
Designer : Liu Jiayun
Publish sponsors : Anonymous
Publication : November. 2021
First edition of 200 copies
Language : Mandarin
Size : 21.7 x 15.3 cm
Cover wrap : Curious MATTER (Arjowiggins)
Inner pages : TAKEO CO., LTD. / Araveal

© 洪意晴 ( Iching Hung )
Photographer:陳長志 ( Chang-Chih Chen )

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