Tag Archives: Art

Street Art @ 淡水老街 Tamsui Old Street ~ love it!

Discovered some wonderful new (to me, that is) street art on the walls of Tamsui Old Street area 淡水老街 today ~ including this one of Dr. George Mackay, first Presbyterian missionary to northern Taiwan (1844-1901), who arrived in Tamsui in 1872 and stayed here more or less until he died.  Early photos show him going off on trips armed with dentist equipment for pulling out teeth, and Bibles to share the Gospel… wonder what he’s think of this painting done in his honour?

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Then up behind the famous Matzu Temple are some steps and walls painted with famous local scenes…..

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I like ’em!  Brightens up the place considerably ~ so do come ‘n visit Tamsui, it’s THE place to be!

Street Art @ Ximending 西門町, Taipei

Ximending has long been THE trendiest area of Taipei for night life and street fashion ~ and of course Street Art.  I was there yesterday checking it out….

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Just outside the main shopping area, down the back alleys of Kunming Street ~ and the walls are covered in graffiti of every kind.  Sometimes it’s just a section of the wall….

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And sometimes the whole length of the wall….

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It’s constantly changing, there’s new stuff appearing all the time, so what was there last year may have long gone by the time you get to go there again.

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Actually, I’m very fussy when it comes to Street Art.  Demons and devils, skulls and skeletons are just not my scene.  I don’t actually like this one below, for that reason, however colourful it might be ~ but it’s so big and in yer face that I have to include it here….

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I don’t like cartoons much either or the manga comic book stuff – though I love the 3D dinosaur!

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What I love is positive stuff, colourful stuff and meaningful artistic stuff, like these….

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So get yourself down to Ximending on a regular basis ~ and check out the great street art, it’s fun, it’s colourful and it makes the area really interesting and special!

Ju Ming Sculpture Park and Museum 朱銘美術館, Jinshan, Taipei

A sunny Saturday afternoon in September and what better place to go than Ju Ming Sculpture Park, officially known as Ju Ming Museum and only 20 km from here round the northern coast, with stunning views over the sea and mountains.   This was the main entrance today…

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My first visit there was in November 2016 (see my blog post here) ~ and I was very impressed.  It houses all the incredible art work of Ju Ming 朱銘, the world famous Taiwanese sculptor, born in Miaoli, Taiwan in 1938.

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The park is big – and on a sunny day, it’s a bit hot out there. But definitely worth seeing and wandering around and looking at the far distant views!

Ju Ming’s sculptures come in different ‘series’, on different themes.  This time I’ve only taken photos of sculptures I particularly like, so the armed forces theme is a bit under-represented.  But there’s soldiers and sailors and air force figures all over the place, here’s some….

And then there’s the Taichi series, which are huge and mostly black and mostly beautiful!

And then there’s the Living World series which are of all colours, all styles, all materials, all fun, and all over the place ~ I love ’em!  Every seat around the park has a figure sitting on it, every corner has a sculpture, it’s great!

Some of the Living World series are inside, this is a huge mural on the wall….

and these lovely lines of ladies….

and sunbathing metal figures – with others trying to stay awake in a meeting!

And outside there’s an amazing tree called a ‘Common Screw Pine’ with huge fruits…

And a few other sculptures which are nice but I’m not sure what series they belong to!  This one is a horse up above the trees…

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Ju Ming Museum is one of those must-see places, it’s a great afternoon’s outing. And one last view of the main entrance as I was leaving, these sculptures look like what everyone feels like after a day at a museum ha ha!

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Ah, I love it!

Rainbow Grandpa and his Beautiful Rainbow Village 彩虹眷村!

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Rainbow Village 彩虹眷村 on the outskirts of Taichung is such an amazing place – it’s easily the most attractive set of buildings in the whole of Taichung ~ YES!

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It’s the last remaining few houses of a Veterans Village, built for the old soldiers and their families who came to Taiwan after 1949. Most the houses are already gone, demolished and the land redeveloped, but old Mr. Huang (Huang Yong-Fu 黃永阜), known as ‘Rainbow Grandpa’ (彩虹爺爺), was not letting that happen to his village. Now aged 95, he decided to start painting the remaining houses a few years ago, and in doing so, has saved his wonderful village!

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Not only has the place been saved from demolition, but the whole village has been preserved – and in fact has been closed recently while the Taichung City Government gave the place a whole new roof. Now it’s newly open, so I had to check it out.  Mr. Huang was on hand for photos, and there’s even some walls newly decorated.

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I love this place!  I love the idea that one man with a paintbrush and a lot of determination and creativity can save a whole village from demolition!

And now there’s tons of tourists visiting, and guess what? It’s on a direct bus route from St. James’ Church ~ YES!

Rixing Type Foundry 日星鑄字行 ~ the last Traditional Chinese Character Letterpress in Taiwan

Down a tiny little backstreet in Taipei City surrounded by hardware stores is just what you don’t expect to find ~ a shop full of rows and rows of tiny little Chinese characters!

This article titled, “6 Things You Didn’t Know About Rixing Type Foundry, The Last Traditional Chinese Letterpress In Taiwan” on the City 543 website says,

“The Rixing Type Foundry (日星鑄字行) is home to the last remaining collection of traditional Chinese movable type character moulds in the world, plying its trade for more than four decades with techniques that have been recognized since the Song Dynasty in 1040s…  In the 1960s, Taipei alone was home to 5,000 printing presses churning out a seemingly unquenchable deluge of work. Forty years later, only 30 establishments remain, and Rixing is the last print foundry in the capital….

Chinese script has no alphabet. Instead it consists of words made up of one to two characters, one of which can comprise of up to 25 strokes. Rixing has one of the largest collections of three-dimensional Chinese characters in Taiwan, with 120,000 moulds of different characters and more than 10 million lead character pieces.”

Apparently the world’s largest collection of traditional Chinese movable type. Wow!

There’s another article here from the Taipei Times in May interviewing the owner, Chang Chieh-kuan (張介冠),  son of the founder, who is worried about the future of the foundry. He was busy working out the back while I was there today.

This is one of the old letterpress machines – made in Taichung no less….

There’s another article here form Neocha Magazine with lots of artistic photos…..

And a Facebook page at Ri Xing Type Foundry …

The characters are all organized of course, this one happens to have 聖 ‘sheng’, meaning ‘holy’ right in the middle….

This one has the numbers at the top, going right to left…

And there’s 3 fonts and 7 different sizes…

So if you have a spare 30 minutes in Taipei, do check this place out ~ it’s fascinating! They make Chinese stamp seals, so I got one for my name (李凱玲 Lee Kai-Ling – the big character on the left is the ‘Lee’)…. this is it!

And this is the very unassuming main entrance…. there’s hardly even a signboard!

A great place, even if the temps in Taipei today were 36°C but feeling apparently like 40! Wow!

Old and the New, Ancient and Modern ~ Welcome to Changhua 彰化!

Changhua is at the heart of rural Taiwan.  Honest, it don’t get much more rural than Changhua!  It’s just south of Taichung, so it’s the beginning of southern Taiwan.  Flat farmland stretches for miles from the coast inland – with rice and fruit growing, and wind farms galore. Last Saturday, my good friend En-Yu (Rebecca) and her daughter took me around Changhua City and Changhua County for the day.  It’s a real mix of old and new, ancient and modern – all mixed up, like this old house with painted wall…

Pride of place goes to the Changhua Roundhouse, mentioned in my previous post.  That is so special it needs a post of it’s own.  And last August we visited Changhua Art Centre, the new skywalk and the big Buddha at Baguashan, for that blog post, check it out here.

The oldest place we visited this time was DaoDong Tutorial Academy 道東書院 in Hemei, built in the Qing Dynasty, about 1857, an early school, and also now a shrine.  It’s beautiful!

It’s also free, and nobody else was there except a gardener.  Fascinating!

We then move rapidly into the 21st century with some new street art in Changhua City. Dull and boring grey walls of homes are being painted in different colours all over rural Taiwan, inspired maybe by the success of the Rainbow Village in Taichung.  In Changhua Chung-Chuang Local Community they have taken a 3D art approach 彰化忠權彩繪社區 which is attracting a lot of visitors, especially children – and brightens up the area ~ there’s even snowmen ha ha!

Moving along, we also visited 2 factories that are open to visitors, one making biscuits (cookies) and another making cakes.  Both offer DIY baking and cooking sessions for children.  The cake factory is new, and looks like, yep you’ve guessed it, a cake. I like it. Factories all over the world are famous for being the most unattractive and terrible-looking designs, so this one takes the biscuit (well, cake)!

And then to the Rainbow House 卡里善之樹, which is full of umbrellas.  This village used to be famous for making umbrellas, and one of the homes is now set out to show the world that a few umbrellas can brighten up a place immensely.  Success!  A boring old alleyway has been transformed by hanging umbrellas.  And as for the tree, well, yes, it’s an umbrella tree.  All quite amazing!

So that’s Changhua. Changing fast.  Mixing old and new.  Ancient and modern.  There’s plenty more to see, plenty more painted walls all over the place that we drove past but had not time to stop. This is the one at the Rainbow House…

Ah it’s fun, yes Changhua is a great place!

Tamsui Treasures!

Bright orange U-bikes have arrived in Tamsui, and not just down by the river, but up in northern Tamsui, by the sports centre and Carrefour ~ yippee!  So a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon is riding around on a u-bike, exploring some of the places in Tamsui that are more difficult to get to – and the sports center is a good place to start. Well, it is for me, cos it’s the nearest to Sanzhi!

First stop is the Cheng’s Old Residence, which is a traditional old Taiwanese house, around 3 sides of a courtyard, probably built around 1875 – and now fully restored and used for educational purposes. It happens to be right in the middle of the new high-rise buildings that are going up all over Tamsui New Town area, this is it!

In fact, the only way to really appreciate its location is to take a diagonal photo!

The next stop is Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf which is right at the mouth of the river – nearby are some more new high-rises ~ check these out!

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Fisherman’s Wharf was cloudy, and full of fishing boats, and the famous ‘Lover’s Bridge’ is covered in scaffolding…

Next stop is the Martyrs Shrine, up a steep hill, which is described as “Sitting on one of the battlefields of the Sino-French War, New Taipei City Martyrs’ Shrine tells the colonial and wartime history of Taiwan. During the Japanese Colonial Era, it was a Shinto shrine venerating Emperor Meiji. After the war, the shrine was sadly destroyed and later converted into a martyrs shrine that honors the fallen soldiers. The foundation and the size of the Shinto shrine has been retained, and the main body was rebuilt into a Chinese palace”…..

The Martyrs Shrine is up by the Hobe Fort, next to the golf club, but I was really heading to the Cloud Gate Theater, also in the same area, which has been open for over 2 years, but this was my first visit – it’s beautiful!  And it’s got sculptures by Taiwan’s most famous sculptor, Ju-Ming 朱銘, from his Living World series (for photos of my visit to his sculpture park, in Jinshan, see my blog post here) which really brighten the place up!

There’s plenty more to see, like the fort and museum and parks in the same area, but it was 31°C, so I’d had enough for one afternoon – it was hot!

A great place to visit – if you get a chance, do go – and by u-bike too!