Iron Brush Artist Huang Sheng-ren
【◎English translation: Hou Ya-ting
◎Photos by Jheng Nai-hua】
Iron brush painter, Mr. Huang Sheng-ren embraces an unconventional style of visual art. Instead of using paint brushes, he uses iron brushes and mossy concrete walls as canvases. He points out that he doesn't even need to use paints and meticulously creates light forms by scratching out dark colored moss. This artistic form is much like a charcoal drawing, with a three-dimensional effect. Each artistic piece comes to life by presenting a differentiation between light and dark.
Mr. Huang started iron brush painting seven years ago, when he retired from his job as a mailman. His inspiration had been the sketched cinema advertisements that he had seen at the movies when he was sixteen. At that time, cinema advertisements were created by painters, who would depict the stars in the movies that were playing. The vivid portraits had captivated him and he became a habitual collector of Dongya Theater's movie star portraits. He too then began creating his own paintings of his favorite movie stars, such as Mr. Jiang Da-wei, a famous 70's Hong Kong actor and other martial arts stars.
Even after he began his mailman career, Mr. Huang continued sketching. He even took classes from a portrait painter, at a studio in the Sanmin District and then opened his own portrait studio. However, with the rise of photo studios, he found there was no longer a need for hand drawn portraits. His studio unfortunately did not survive the changing trend.
Mr. Huang's colorful paintings manifest his zealous artistic passion. One of his favorite pieces is the landscape that he has painted on the second floor concrete wall of the house opposite to his. In fact, his art work completely surrounds his house, which is located on 336 Lane off Zihyou Road in Fongshan District's Jhonghe Village. Two sides of a concrete wall behold a 200-meter mural of his interpretation of Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night and portraits of various ethnic groups, along with German Shepherd Dogs. Even the people who own the wall he has painted on enjoy giving tours of Mr. Huang's artwork.
Mr. Huang's unique iron brush paintings can be seen all over Kaohsiung. One of the best places to see Mr. Huang's iron brush painting is at the park behind Kaohsiung Rapid Transit's Fongshan Station. Several of the walls are decorated with his artwork. He is also willing to teach the art form to anyone who is interested. When he is about to begin work on a new piece, he purchases various sized iron brushes from local hardware stores. He will then take the iron brushes out with him, in search of another perfect concrete wall. Mr. Huang's love for his art form is unwavering, and he feels he contributes to the beautification of his beloved Kaohsiung. He hopes that in the future he will be able to expand his paintings on concrete walls in other cities, all across Taiwan.