Profile: Qingquan Zhao
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Author:  Paul Stokes [ Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Profile: Qingquan Zhao

Artist Profile - Qingquan Zhao
Qingquan Zhao (Photograph by Qingquan Zhao)

Qingquan 'Brook' Zhao is one of the best known penjing artists to Western audiences, and rightly so. Zhao has pioneered the land-and-water form of penjing, in which quiet microcosms of the natural world are sculpted from rock, soil, and trees, usually on a marble slab. Bringing together a staggering talent for placing stones, a sensitive eye for natural beauty, and a mastery of tree penjing, Zhao creates marvelous plantings that capture the imagination of young children as deftly as they win the admiration of experienced penjing artists. Qingquan's gallery
here on the Art of Bonsai project showcases his achievements and extraordinary talent; his book Penjing: Worlds of Wonderment offers many further examples of his artistry.

"Sorry I am poor in English. I can not answer all the questions (throughly), so I answered only those I could handle." - Qingquan Zhao (Ed note: Answers were edited only for clarity, subject matter or intent has not been changed)
The following is an on-line interview conducted with Qingquan Zhao:

AoB: Brook, your work has been exhibited in France, Holland, Italy, Japan, Macao, and the U.S., are the differences in Penjing great between the countries?

Qingquan Zhao: Yes. Penjing in Japan has matured both in technical and artistic aspects, while in other countries it is developing rapidly yet is still very young.

AoB: It is well known that you pioneered a form that is known as "Land and Water Penjing" and your work with such has brought you much fame. What, in your opinion, is the most important consideration when creating such?

Qingquan Zhao: Contrast and harmony.
Chinese Elm Penjing and photograph by Qingquan Zhao

AoB: Are you comfortable with the growth of Penjing in the West? Does it appear to be following what you understand to be its traditional roots, or would you rather see changes to it?

Qingquan Zhao: I would rather see changes.

AoB: When creating Penjing the overall scale of the composition must be in harmony. What advice would you give to a person creating Penjing as to scale and perspective?

Qingquan Zhao: I explained that in my book Penjing: Worlds of Wonderment.

AoB: In your opinion, what are the best stones to use in Penjing and why?

Qingquan Zhao: I like many kinds of stones. I prefer Tortoise shell rock the most, this kind of rock looks more natural and like those in Chinese paintings.

AoB: Where do you see the future of Penjing going not only in China, but throughout the world?

Qingquan Zhao: In the future, there will be more new styles and technical expertise in Penjing and Penjing art will contain more and more elements.

Five Needle Pine literati and photograph by Qingquan Zhao

AoB: What may not be as well known is your work with single trees, especially those you create in the literati style. Where does your inspiration for such strikingly beautiful literati come from?

Qingquan Zhao: Chinese paintings.

AoB: When creating literati, what must the artist consider and if you could only teach one thing about literati, what would it be?

Qingquan Zhao: One's own feeling.

AoB: What was the greatest innovation to happen with Penjing and what major changes have taken place since your father's time?

Qingquan Zhao: Today in China, Penjing artists pay more attention to the nature and culture of their works. Besides, more styles and forms that are greatly different from the old ones are appearing, and new species are being widely used.

Qingquan Zhao gallery >>

Author:  Hector Johnson [ Thu Jan 26, 2006 10:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Question for Brook.

I am interested to find whether Quaoqing Zhao considers the recent use of cityscapes in Penjing to be an advance or a backward step?
I have recently seen one of Hong Kong harbour that, whilst technically correct, looks a bit too much like an architect's model, for my taste. It depicts a landscape of skyscrapers, in the distance.
Is there a movement away from the natural harmony we have grown to expect of Penjing?

Author:  Mark Arpag [ Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:14 am ]
Post subject: 

Brook Zhao is one of the greatest artists of our time. The first time I saw his work was on the cover of International Bonsai magazine. I was in awe and sat down stunned at the amazing and moving composition. He captures the feelings and essence of nature, not just the image. Simple, pure and powerful.

Author:  Attila Soos [ Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:08 am ]
Post subject: 

Brook is one of the very few artists whose work is almost instantly recognizable to me even if I the author's name is not revealed. I can't put my finger on it, but as soon as I see one of his creations, I can almost instantly tell whether or not he is the author.
Beside the perfect formal qualities of his landscape, there is something deeply personal about them. His craftmanship is always perfect, but never becomes stale. His work is always fresh and breezy, like the air after a spring shower.

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