<>

Xu Zi’

Sound Art

声音艺术

Noise of Beauty – 美丽的噪音

Zi in New York

Multi-Media Visual ArtistSinger & Collector

徐 孜:纽 约 多 媒 体艺 术 家

          绘画   音乐 与  收藏

Read More

The United Nations International School is a very diverse school.  In that school are  people  who come from over 100 different countries and speak over 85 different languages. I was fortunate enough to visit them and teach them about Chinese Calligraphy while M2-05 (one of the 6th grade classes) was studying China. We covered the basics like how to hold a calligraphy brush, how much ink to put on your brush, how to set your brush down when you’re not using it, and so on. We also went over what all the little accessories do and how to use them such as the ink stone and the brush stands that were shaped like little turtles. After we covered the basics, I taught everyone how to write their name in Chinese. As soon as they got the hang of writing their names in Chinese with pencils or pens, they moved on and started to write their names in Chinese Calligraphy. When school was dismissed, some of the students helped me put the framed names on display. The next day I received a “Thank You” card from all of the students .

Xu Zi 

 

Aurelio is 15 and Bruno is 13.   From: Mexico City

Aurelio writes, “Because for me the calligraphy is the artistic way to express the self and it is in its artistic way beautiful and perfect.”

Bruno writes, “Calligraphy is an art of self-expression in which the hand actions must be gracefull and perfection.”

The brothers were visiting the Statue of Liberty with their parents. Aurelio wanted his name in  Chinese, Japanese and Spanish. He very carefully chose a natural-looking wood paper. I asked if they knew Jackie Chan and they all became excited, talking about what fans they are of his movies. I said if you like Jackie Chan and you want to do calligraphy yourselves, remember that you don’t get to be Jackie Chan without practice over and over. When you go home, try writing your name in calligraphy ten times, then you can start doing it in different languages, learn new letters and keep practicing, practicing.

Then his younger brother Bruno saw this and said, “I want my name done, too.” He also swore he would like to learn how to do calligraphy. I said “Very important, turn off the TV! Concentrate! Practice!” Like parents everywhere, the boys’ Mom and Dad loved to hear this and said, “Yes, Oh yes, I agree. Turn off the TV and do something.”

When they left, they had learned to ‘shay shay,’ which means ‘thank you’ and I used the Spanish, gracias coming full circle.

Name: Luke     From: England

Luke writes, “It looks so fluent and flowing”.

I note that Luke is about 13, very cute face. He asks his Mother for money and she only gave him one dollar. Luke asked me what I could do for him for just one dollar. I said I could do his name on one bookmark for one dollar. He held it as if it was so very special to him, looking at it like a jewel. The dollar was nothing compared to what he gave me by his excitement and wonder.

Then he and his Mother talked with me about how they don’t know or understand much about Eastern cultures but are interested. I suggested that they could learn a lot about Oriental culture and calligraphy in the movie ‘Hero’, also dancing and Kung Fu. They promised to do this and said that they had heard it was a good movie.

Name: Gabriela and Carlos      From: Bolivia

Gabriela wrote, “I’m interested in calligraphy because my husband Carlos has Japanese blood in his family and secondly because we like and admire their culture. We’re learning about it, and how we appreciate the values. We’re in love with this ART and really respect that you continue this tradition.”

I note that their young boy is particularly fascinated. It was he who brought up that Carlos, his Dad, has Japanese blood. I helped them choose a special red paper, pointing out that in some art practices of Chinese, red can convey the meaning of good luck. When I finished doing their names, they wanted me to done for the boss of the man’s company, in green color, with all three languages. The boy told me that the boss has oriental art in his house , that he will like this very much. He said the boss will spend money to frame the art I was making for him. I said, “If you like Japanese calligraphy, you can go on the internet and learn the symbols without paying a teacher to teach. Maybe in the future, you might become better at it than I am.”

Then I notice that there are two older people behind them and realize that these must be older generation with them. They also want their names done. They were very sweet people. I choose a long sheet of fine paper and did both of their names on it, married long time, (Father and Mother of one of the other couple.)

The whole family was so friendly and we all hugged. Keep in touch, we all said.

Name: Laura      From: Cuba

Laura wrote that “ Because of the beauty of the calligraphy, I love it. Being an acupuncturist, I value this art immensely.”

I note that she is a very beautiful young lady who speaks Spanish and English well. She says that many of her people love Chinese culture and vice versa, that many Chinese love the music and culture of her people, too. I sang a little of the song ‘I Live In Havana’ and she was suddenly like a friend. Then she wanted to pay me to do a large calligraphy piece for her daughters. I chose a large piece of my finest paper. She was going to put her daughters’ pictures in the areas on the left and right and wanted me to do the calligraphy for the word togetherness plus their names, in the middle between the pictures of her girls. When I asked why she likes  Chinese calligraphy, she said she has long been lover of Chinese culture, is a professional acupuncturist and also does  Chinese massage. She happily said that what I made for her would hang in her office.

Name: Dinesh    From: Singapore

Dines writes, “I am interested in Calligraphy because of my long interest in Chinese and Japanese languages.”

“At the same time, my children can learn and write their names in different languages. I am very

sheet of fine paper and did both of their names on it. They were married for a  long time, (Father and Mother of one of the other couple.)

The whole family was so friendly and we all hugged. Keep in touch, we all said.

Name: Laura      From: Cuba

Laura wrote that “ Because of the beauty of the calligraphy, I love it. Being an accupuncturist, I value this art immensely.”

I note that she is a very beautiful young lady who speaks Spanish and English well. She says that many of her people love Chinese culture and vice versa, that many Chinese love the music and culture of her people, too. I sang a little of the song ‘I Live In Havana’ and she was suddenly like a friend. Then she wanted to pay me to do a large calligraphy piece for her daughters. I chose large piece of finest paper. She was going to put her daughters pictures in the areas on left and right and wanted me to do the calligraphy for the word togetherness plus their names, in the middle between the pictures of her girls. When I asked why she likes the Chinese calligraphy, she said she has long been lover of Chinese culture, is a professional acupuncturist and also does Chinese massage. She happily said that what I made for her would hang in her office.

Name: Dinesh    From: Singapore

Dines writes, “I am interested in Calligraphy because of my long interest in Chinese and Japanese languages.”

“At the same time, my children can learn and write their names in different languages. I am very much impressed!!! Thanks. I wish you all the best.”

I noted about meeting Dinesh… I think his name indicates a Buddhist background. He didn’t have a usual Asian face but had a brownish skin and I thought his family was probably from India and moved to Singapore. At first he seemed only interested in writing calligraphy himself and expressed interest in the tools and table, inks and paper. I said if you like, I don’t care how much money, I will do something for you. He said he had money and wanted me to do names for his whole family of four. He had two daughters, one thirteen and the other five years old. I said that you could teach your daughters the Chinese and Japanese languages easier by starting them doing calligraphy themselves, which he thought was a great way to help them learn those languages which are so important. Dinesh glowed with pleasure from the work and was  so thankful, that he hugged me when left, promising to keep in touch and see me again if coming to New York.

Name: Yariv & Shiri        From: Israel

Yariv writes, “My wife has a tattoo of peace and beauty in Japanese on her back, so I figure it would be nice to have a picture of both of our names in our new home, which we recently bought!”

Shiri writes, “I really like the shapes of Japanese and Chinese letters, so it is an obligation to have my name written for our living room wall.”

I note about this that it was a very noisy day at Battery Park with construction equipment working on fixing the famous Bull Statue and the memorial statue memorializing ‘911.’ It was hard to talk over the sound but this couple were still a lot of fun. The young lady came up exclaiming, “So beautiful! Wonderful, wonderful! I have to get one for us and for my Mother and Father!”

I apologized for the noise and they talked a bit about how they are used to lots of noise, what with there always being war and trouble in Israel. Before leaving, Shiri swore that she would be back again and get more of my work for their new house.

 

 

Name: Beverly    From: Wales, UK

I have always loved art and writing and feel that Calligraphy is such a special form of art to express thoughts and feelings in a beautiful way. I have great respect for the dedication of the Chinese and Japanese calligraphy artists, as it is truly a great tradition to maintain and to pass on to future generations.”

I note about this customer… It is almost dark when these two ladies walk up to me looking very well-to-do and educated, speaking in very proper English, in their 50s. One of the ladies chooses one of my pictures and wants her 19 year old son’s name done in  Chinese, Japanese and English.

This woman then began talking about how important calligraphy could be in bridging gaps between cultures by teaching. She told me that she does social work and would like to email me from her office, that she would like to keep in touch, maybe be able to give me more work. She also said that her son would like the style of the old English calligraphy letters I had done for her.

Name: Xiau       From: Laos/France

First part of what Xiau wrote, she did in French. Then she wrote the same paragraph in English, saying, “I love calligraphy because it is really beautiful. It gives some ‘poesie’ and dream in this world. Thank you so much for your art.”

I note about this customer that her name is actually Leng Gauy Qiao, a beautiful young lady. When I saw her face I thought she had Asian blood. She said that her Father is Cantonese; her Mother is from Laos and though she works and lives much of the time in France, she is a citizen of Laos.

I asked her if she wanted to buy any of my work. She first said no, then she left. About thirty minutes later, she came back and she said that she wants to buy four pieces of calligraphy for gifts. One is writing the word love very big on finest rice paper. Then she had me do three names. Then she added two more name plaques, so now the sale was up to 6 pieces. Then, glancing at her watch, she said, “Thank you very much for the quickness and these will make the best gifts.”

Name: Sandra & Rainer      From: Vienna, Austria

Sandra wrote, “I’m interested in calligraphy because it seems that this type of writing/drawing is very fashionable. It is a complete different style compared to our German native mother tongue.”

I note  for my journal that I told Sandra and Rainer about my having been only Chinese woman to ever sing at the Vienna Opera House and how I loved their beautiful city, with its fine foods and sweets. They were surprised and excited that I knew their country and city. They told me that they were about to leave New York the next day and had a surprising trip.

 

Name: Dianne      From: New York, NY, USA

Dianne simply wrote, “I LOVE CHINA” and left her number. She was exercising, jogging at Battery Park. She said she would be back in touch and did get back with me son. She lives in the Village, too and told me that she had visited Beijing, China, and loves Chinese culture and art. She told me that she has one close, good friend, a very nice Chinese man who is a member of the last Emperor of China’s remaining family. I had done a clothing design for the Brother of the Last Emperor many years ago and told her about it. She wants me to do two large pieces, very simple, the Chinese calligraphy for the word ‘Family’ and ‘Learning New Knowledge.’

Name: Margaret           From: Washington, DC.

Margaret wrote,
“I am interested in calligraphy because…
It’s interesting
It’s cool
It looks nice
It’s crafty
and you can write something different
with lots of meanings.”

She wrote in a very pretty handwriting.

I note that this was on a Saturday. It was four women, the mothers and 2 daughters. I’d say the girls were about 12 years old. One of the girls chose a Statue of Liberty piece with three languages, Chinese, Japanese and English. She said she was going to take it home and start practicing to do multilingual calligraphy herself. I urged her to do this and said, “Do your homework.”

The other girl wanted me to write for her in Chinese, ‘I Love You.’ I said to her, “Chinese grammar is different from English. I tell her that the Chinese symbols for ‘I Love You’ if read from left to right but if read from right to left, it means “You Love Me.” She thought that was so cute and started saying the words back and forth in English and Chinese, “I Love You and You Love I.”

Name: Iwona & Leslaw               From: Poland

She wrote her note in Polish, so I cannot translate. She also left me her address and email and told me to contact them.

I noted about meeting these people from Poland that they knew a lot about Chinese culture. They didn’t ask prices, they saw what they liked and bought many things. They had been staying in Chelsea. They want me to call them.

Name: Siobhan              From: Liverpool, England

Siobhan writes, “I’m interested in calligraphy because it is so unusual, creative, fun and is a nice present for our children back home.”

I note about this customer that they look like a 50-60 year old couple. I could see that they wanted to buy something but not spend much money. They asked me to do three bookmarks for their three daughters as a little souvenir. I very carefully wrote the girls names on the bookmarks and they gave me big smiles of appreciation. I suggested that they buy more to give their friends. The man said, “OK, that is a good idea, now that I think of it. My daughter has a lot of classmates.” He had me do twelve names on bookmarks. Every one, these sweet people would exclaim, “Beautiful” as if it was the first time. Even though I was taking great care, I still did 15 names in 15 minutes. Then they raced off to catch tour bus.

Name: Rangasuman        From: India, come to study in Detroit, Michigan, USA

Ranga wrote “It’s fun, great art. I also love different cultures being an international student.”

I note about Ranga and his friend that they are two young men come to study in America. They are from India and are studying very hard. They came to New York on the Thanksgiving break from school. They were with a group, and had to quickly leave. I had to quickly do each of their names in calligraphy. They were happily watching me do this and very pleased. Ranga’s friend wanted to teach me some Hindu characters but the tour guide rushed him away. He said he would see me again because they are going to come back for another visit.

Name: No Name           From: Unknown

“It is interesting”

I note that he is an 8-year-old boy who saw my calligraphy table and asked his Mom to get his name from me in Japanese. He said, while watching me do his name, “COOL!!!” Then his Mother said, “OK, I want one, too.”

Name: Kelly      From: Manchester, England

“It is very unusual, different and interesting”

I note that Kelly is a girl student from England. She is studying Tours Management. She had me do her name very large in Chinese to hang in her room. I suggested that she scan it on scanner when she gets home and she can use it on her business card.  I can help you market to  Asian customers, about which she said, “Very good idea. Why not?”

Name: Horacio                From: Venezuela

Horacio wrote, “It made my dreams come true! Gracias, Linda.”

I note that he came up shouting my English name, Linda, very friendly. I looked at him but couldn’t truly remember him and am a little embarrassed that I can’t remember his name though he remembers mine. He tells me that he is from Venezuela and then I remember that he had bought five pieces from me about four or five months before. Then I realized that he also emailed orders to me, too.

He is very interested in Japanese Zen philosophy and culture. This time, he said he came with a friend and he had been looking for me, tried to find me and he was very happy to find me. He had tried to get another person to do what he wanted, with the Zen symbol but they told him they couldn’t. I had just read the book on the Zen Teahouse and I gave it to him to take with him. We said to each other that we would keep in touch. After a couple days, I got email from him and we do keep in touch. He is going to see what he can do to sell my work at his school in Venezuela.

Name: Tony      From: England

Tony writes, “It is a very nice and personal gift.”

I note that this is one couple from England. They tell me that they have only one more day in New York before go home and need a gift for a friend. Tony gives the name of their friend and wants the Chinese word for Love to be on both sides of it. They wanted to talk more but had to quickly catch the bus. But a few minutes later, they came back and said they’d decided it was very important that they make picture together with me to show their friend “your smiling face” with them, snapped a picture going to London.

Name: Ibett       From: Miami, Florida, USA

Ibett writes, “Chinese Calligraphy is so interesting and unique. You have made this purchase so much more delightful. Best wishes for much success. It was great talking to you during my short trip to New York. Practice your Spanish and I’ll practice my Chinese. All the best, your friend from Miami

I note about Ibett that she is a young lady with a small group. They stop by on their way to Statue of Liberty then they came back after about four hours. They very carefully went through my collection of special papers and one of them chose “I Love You” piece on which I wrote her boyfriend’s name. Then each of the other three ladies also had this done for their friends, family or boyfriends.  They asked about words, like good morning, goodbye, thank you and a few more and I would tell them the Chinese for it. They all gave me the ‘thumbs-up’ sign and praised the multilingual calligraphy as the best they’d seen.

Name: Jorge      From: Mexico

Jorge wrote in Spanish his note to me and I can’t translate it all but some of it, I can. He says his wife wants her name in three languages of my calligraphy. He also wants birthdays of friends and family in calligraphy.

I note about Jorge and the three other people with him that one of them looks like a young girl in high school. She said, I just graduated from high school but I’m really 28. Very young looking for that age. She told me that she has a young daughter five years old and she wants me to do her name in Chinese. I suggest she do the whole family together. She decided that was a very good idea and I did all their names in Chinese. Very important in Chinese culture that family is kept together in hearts. I wrote the words ‘Family’ and ‘Love’ by their names. They were thrilled and gave me more money than I even asked them for. Then they took picture of themselves with me for memory. She thinks her daughter will remember me because of the photograph.

Name: Christina               From: Dusseldorf, Germany

Christina wrote in German, which we were able to translate as “It is wonderful the way calligraphy helps different cultures communicate with each other. We are from Dusseldorf where there are a lot of Asians and we find their cultural traditions very rich. Your work is the best we’ve seen and it is ‘wunderbar.’

I noted that this was a couple from Germany. She said to me that in her country and especially her city of Dusseldorf there are a lot of Asians and that she is very interested in learning more about our cultures. Her husband said that he works as a plumbing engineer for a Japanese company in Dusseldorf, Germany. They wanted me to do the three symbols which mean, ‘Friendship’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Peace.’ They were very excited and happy with the work

Name: Nicole, Steffi, Steffi, Mirko          From: Munich, Germany

Nicole wrote, “The strokes and flow of the pen in the letters and design are so fine and graceful. It is also very interesting that you do these in several languages, showing the amazing differences between lettering.”

I note that today there is a very large group of Germans at Battery Park on tour. These are teenage girls who want inexpensive gifts to take back to their friends and family. I told them not to worry about money, I would try to give them each what they need that they could afford. I did each of their names for them on bookmarks. I asked what attracted them to my table instead of others and they all said that my work was so beautiful, they all counted up their money. They also said that it was exciting to see their name in Chinese letters, truly very interesting and like so many people, gave me the ‘thumbs-up’

Name: Bernice   From: Queens, New York, USA

Bernice wrote, “It is beautiful to look at!”