Taiwan's image creation circle has experienced decades of development, and its diverse creative styles show a flourishing, multi-faceted scene. The National Central Library collaborated with the Taipei Book Fair Foundation to invite visual artist Page Tsou to curate the special exhibition "Visual Fanzine - Overlapping Image Landscapes of Taiwanese Creators," which was held from July 20 to September 5, 2023, in the National Central Library’s Graphic Arts Center’ first floor exhibition room, and an opening ceremony was held on the first day of the special exhibition.
The opening ceremony kicked off with the melodious music of the Woodwind Quintet of the National Taiwan Normal University Wind Band. Director-General of the National Central Library Shu-hsien Tseng first thanked Taipei Book Fair Foundation Chairman Yun i Wu, CEO Hsiuyin Wang, Taipei Public Library Director Che-Yi Hung, Taoyuan City Main Library Secretary Quanyu Weng, Taichung Public Library Secretary Huizhen Chen , and, also in attendance, were Shulin Publishing Co., Ltd. Chairman Zhenglong Su, local cooperative founder/picture book critic Charlene Lai, curator Page Tsou and participating creators: Ning Lo, Lian an Lin , BALLBOSS (Yi hsien Chou. ) Director-General Tseng said that the National Central Library was very happy to provide a platform for creators to show their creativity, so that people everywhere who love illustration and picture book creation could, in the course of their daily lives, come into contact with and appreciate outstanding creators and their works that have won international awards, and go on to promote learning and stimulate creative inspiration.
Chairman Yun i Wu said in her speech that she was grateful to the National Central Library for providing such a great exhibition space and providing the most direct and powerful support to creators. This exhibition invited 15 image creators and 100 wonderful picture books, which were very important windows for the world’s understanding of the creative power of Taiwan. Curator Page Tsou said that the title of the exhibition, "Visual Fanzine," was a concept for magazine lovers. The format of the exhibition was like entering a bookstore or library; you could obtain complete information in a short time after browsing. The content was also divided into narrative illustrations, which were presented in picture books. The illustrations by 15 creators were free creations and used images to tell stories.
For this special exhibition three major exhibition areas were planned: "Creation Column" recommended 15 outstanding Taiwanese creators with different styles to display a number of typical works; "Character QA" invited many Taiwanese creators to answer questions and answers through photos and text, sharing their creative inspiration and life stories; "Picture Book Selection" displayed 100 wonderful picture book publications, including many works that had won the Ragazzi Award at the Bologna Book Fair; the field of illustrations and picture books has always been a major reading option for children.
The National Central Library also organized three lectures in this special exhibition series. Through the sharing of experiences and opinions by the creators, the connection between the image works and daily life was conveyed, and the rich colors of this island were depicted.
The first special lecture was held on July 30, with creator Jui-Che Wu sharing "Some things cannot be explained clearly - Talking about creation and life."
Jui-Che Wu, "skilled at drawing with scissors," graduated from the Industrial Design Department of the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, the Institute of Applied Arts of National Chiao Tung University, and the UK’s Royal College of Art (RCA). Jui-Che Wu is a creative talent who combines design, illustration, writing and photography. His works include "A Horse, A Boat and An Apple Tree," "Ithaca" and "Le Défilé." "Le Défilé" is in the permanent collection of the libraries of London's Chelsea College of Art and Design and Central Saint Martins. Invited to take up a residency at Stolen Books in Portugal, he won the Golden Butterfly Award at the Taiwan Publishing Design Awards in 2023 and, in 2021, was shortlisted for the Bologna Illustration Exhibition and the Portuguese ILUSTRARTE Biennale.
Jui-Che Wu shared that when he was studying at the RCA, when faced with the teacher’s doubts about his creation, the teacher would ask why he used such materials and why he designed it this way, which made him feel lost in the creative process, but also allowed him to learn how to speak for his work. Even though he had no art education or professional research training and the works he produced were not mature at that time, they became the nourishment for his future works. Through participating in Brexit activities, he understood that his demands must be heard by others, so he slowly thought about what everyone wanted to express and the deeper meaning of the works. The creator of this lecture leads readers through life to understand how difficult it is for a creator to develop, and to provide some inspiration to those who want to engage in creation in the future or creators who are on the road to creation.
The second special lecture was held on August 6, with creator Lian an Lin sharing "Dialogue with Oneself Through Picture Book Creation."
After graduating from university, Lian an Lin worked as an art designer and in animation. Later, she decided to switch to illustration and slowly found her own creative feeling. She is skilled at using acrylic, water-based crayon and collage to create. Lian An's works have been twice selected for the Bologna Illustration Award in Italy. In 2015, her work "Insects of Light" was selected for the first time in Bologna. In a world after nuclear explosions, everything grows crazily and turns into monsters. She cares about social issues in her own ways. In 2021, "HOME" won the Ragazzi Story Category First Prize, the first time that Taiwan's illustration industry had won this honor. Later, it also won the "Taipei Book Fair Grand Prize First Prize in the Children's and Young People's Category" and the "Golden Tripod Award for Children and Teenagers Book Award." She uses materials that are readily available in life, such as waste paper, flyers, wrapping paper, tracing paper... to make a collage of the appearance of home, making us think about the meaning of home. Her current graphic creations include "Hurry, Hurry," "Home," "Gendarme Arong's Holiday", "Little Yuan in the Forest", "Mother's Notes", etc.
Lian an Lin shared her creative process. Daily life and the surrounding environment are her creative elements and compositional references. Images related to streets and life can be seen in Lian an's works "Hurry, Hurry" and "Home." Another work, "Mother's Notes", delicately depicts the changes in a woman's mood after she becomes a mother. During the creative process, in the form of a diary, it records and connects the differences in maternal concepts, environments and ideas between the different generations of 1985 and 2018. What remains unchanged, however, is a mother’s love for her child. Through this book, I encourage every mother who is stuck in the predicament of parenting. Maybe this period is very hard, sometimes she has to sacrifice her own time, and sometimes there are even too many women and gossip around her, but no matter what, you must believe in yourself and your children and you will be able bravely to go your own way. The creators share how to connect daily life with the source of creation, how to compose, associate, and how to use materials to tell stories in the pictures, providing a learning reference for those who want to engage in creation in the future or creators on the road to creation.
The third special lecture was held on August 20. The creator Chu-li Chen shared "Is illustration a creation?"
Chu Li graduated from the University of Brighton’s graduate school for sequential design/illustration in the UK. Her works often discuss human status and behavior. She often uses collage, printmaking, hand-painting and other techniques to convey images rich in touch and warmth. In recent years, she has also begun to develop abstract and three-dimensional creations.
During her talk, Chu Li mentioned the course of her studies from the textile and fashion design department of Fuzhou University to London College of Communication, and finally to the graduate school for sequential design/illustration at the University of Brighton. During the study process, she discovered that what she liked to do was illustration. Through learning, we can lay the foundation for creation and the nutrients for creation. After returning to Taiwan from the UK, she worked as an art designer for a private company. She was exposed to many design methods using different materials, and also had the opportunity to collaborate with others. After becoming a full-time illustrator, she gained experience in drawing illustrations for newspaper supplements. After extensive training in the ability to convert text and pictures, she had accumulated a lot of experience. The freedom to create also increased opportunities for her work to be exposed.
After Chu li became a mother, when time was limited, she regarded all work as a creative opportunity. She shared with everyone a passage which she likes very much: "Listen to your work, listen carefully to what it is telling you, and then follow it and keep working.” "Is illustration creative work?" To Chu Li this is an open question, right? No? Depending on your mentality, even if it is a commissioned project, you can create as much as possible under all conditions and find something fun and challenging.
In this speech, the creator shared her illustration experience and categorized illustrations as editorial illustrations, commercial illustrations, and personal illustrations. How to meet the needs of the owner in a commissioned case while forging one’s own creations was also learned and solved in the process, the experience shared with everyone, providing an experience reference for those who wanted to engage in creation in the future or for creators on the road to creation.