Berlin, Nov.4 (CNA) A student from Taiwan has won acclaim in Germany for his animated graffiti on public walls, a recognition that he said has also helped him to overcome his inferiority complex and regain self-confidence.
Hsieh Tsan-yu, 23, who has been studying at Alanus Art College near Bonn since 2007, persuaded German officials to allow him to paint a 100-meter-long wall near a mass rapid transit station last year.
For two months, he worked from daybreak to midnight painting animated scenes on the wall. His efforts immediately attracted public attention and were reported in local newspapers.
Hsieh, who has had great interest in painting since childhood, said he is well versed in the art of using flat color to create a sense of movement.
“My work featured images such as dogs running on a white wall and people gradually disappearing into the wall, and it evoked a magical charm that impressed the German people,” Hsieh said.
As he painted under the scorching sun, some Germans would scold him and some police officers tried to stop him, thinking he was defacing the wall, but many other people showered him with praise and encouragement, he said.
“An elderly lady once told me that she was pleased to see somebody finally trying to beautify this wall after the 50-plus years she had been living in the town, ” Hsieh recalled. “She even insisted on giving me money.”
After Hsieh’s first street art efforts in Germany won acclaim, he obtained other opportunities, with the help of his professor, to paint on public walls.
He has since painted his unique images on automobile dealer shops and public schools’ basketball stadiums. His use of color and his techniques have again drawn media coverage and his college awarded him a scholarship of 1,000 euros (US$1,484) sponsored by Germany’s academic exchange promotion administration known as Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD).
Professor Ulrika Eller-Rueter said at the scholarship presentation ceremony in late September that Hsieh’s work combines Asia’s painting vocabulary and elements of pop art, comic animation and design.
More importantly, Eller-Rueter went on, Hsieh presented all those ingredients in a creative and humorous way.
“His public art creations are convincing and fascinating, ” the professor added.
Enchanted by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s superflat painting style, Hsieh said he likes to catch the visual attention of pedestrians with striking, stunning and dazzling colors.
“As this style of expression conflicts with the typical German preference for gray and dark color assortments, I often have to argue with my teachers and classmates,” he admitted.
Hsieh went to Germany at the age of 17 to pursue his artistic dreams, immediately after completing two years of study at a private vocational school.
“When I was in Taiwan, I often felt a sense of inferiority because of my lackluster academic performance… Now in Germany, I have regained confidence in myself…I believe I made the right decision to study in Germany,” he said.
In Germany, he said, academic exam scores are not important, as long as one has talent.
“Even more marvelous is that it is very quiet from morning to night. In this atmosphere, one can paint tirelessly,” he said with a radiant smile. (By Lin Yu-li and Sofia Wu)
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