Taking Drawing to a High Level
Almost every artist draws and sketches at some time. But many drawings and sketches are forgotten, dismissed or thrown away. They are drafts, preliminaries.
However, under the hands of artist Qiu Jie, drawings are large, magnificent artworks of dignity, detail and power.
One 10-square-meter drawing on ordinary paper, with minute detail, amazes the viewers. It depicts a modern scene of women washing clothes in a river, their slippers, a metal teacup, a textbook, willows, lotuses, ancient bridges.
On closer inspection, one finds a huge drawing is composed many smaller pieces.
"One year for one piece - sounds crazy, right?" asks Qiu.
Some pieces have taken six months to a year because of their intricacy.
Born in Shanghai, Qiu furthered his study in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1990. Now he lives there.
In 1993 he created his first 28-square-meter drawing in an eight-square-meter studio.
"Want to know how I did that?" he says. "I had to draw the different parts of the drawing and then connect and combine them together."
The whole image of the painting was conjured up in his mind. Then he divided them into different parts and started to draw.
In fact, Qiu didn't see his complete original work until the day it was shown to the public.
"At that moment, tears rushed into my eyes, I couldn't help admiring myself," he sighs. "God! How could I achieve that?"
But his financial burden forced Qiu to sell his painting, piece by piece.
"I made a viewfinder so the buyers could select their favorite pieces," he explains. "Once they took their piece, I would draw another to fill the empty space, like an evergreen tree."
Qiu's drawing has a strong mark of past days and eras. Sometimes people of different periods collide in his drawing.
"I really don't think talent matters a lot in one's career," he says. "Hard work is the most important. Like me, I am a 'peasant' in art."
Today, Qiu's huge drawings are sought after by major collectors and museums around the world.
"They are nothing, just high-quality wall paper," he jokes.
About Qiu Jie
Born in 1961 in Shanghai
First solo exhibition in Shanghai in 1985
Geneva Art Academy in 1989
Selected for "Entry Gate: Chinese Aesthetics of Heterogeneity" at Museum of Modern Art Shanghai 2006 [From: Shanghai Daily]