We are delighted to have been advising and supporting Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair for a number of years. At the 2019 edition of the Fair, the Boodle Hatfield Printmaking Prize was launched, followed by a prize giving evening in late February 2020 at which the shortlisted prints were displayed and the winner announced. At the 2020 edition of Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair, members of the Art Law & More team selected their ten shortlisted prints for the 2021 Boodle Hatfield Printmaking Prize. Over the coming weeks we are getting to know some of our ten shortlisted artists through a series of Q&As. We are continuing our Q&A series with Yanlong Chen, a printer from China, who is shortlisted for his print, Auspicious Snow.
What is the inspiration behind your shortlisted print?
A deep affection for snow has been with me since my childhood living in North China. The crystal clear and flawless snow decorates the forest with elegance and luxury, where the trees are breaking through the coldness, waiting for the arrival of spring. In the work “Auspicious Snow”, two magpies dancing in the snow, bringing vitality into desolation and silence, are also a symbol of positive energy and good luck.
What methods of printing do you use?
I used reduction woodcut printing technique, where the woodblock was cut by V shaped gouges, reducing the surface in between the application of each colour. Multiple layers of oil based colours were imposed to enhance the richness of the pictures.
How did you get into printing?
When seeing the prints of the “Great Northern Wilderness School” on the “Heilongjiang Pictorial” for the first time in year 1983, I was moved and fascinated by its simplicity, liveliness, and intriguing way of expressing the customs and livelihood of Northern China. In 1984, with my effort and passion in printmaking, I joined the artists group under the “Great Northern Wilderness School” – one of the three main genres of Chinese printmaking. In 1991, I furthered my study in the printmaking department of Central Academy of Fine Arts, China. My work became more widely recognised since that point, and has been exhibited widely in China and internationally.
How has the pandemic affected your work – on a practical level and in terms of inspiration?
I have been living a very isolated life since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has allowed me to dedicate more time to creating and expressing myself during these unprecedented times. Isolation and time has allowed me to channel my thoughts and emotions and express them with a clear mind, allowing me to disengage with the troubles of the outside world. I have been more focused on themes to depict the beauty and positive side of life and to encourage faith and hope for our future.