The Singer on the Top of Clouds

Cen Long, an artist from China, is a singer on top of clouds. He praises the ordinary beauty of simpleness, seeks the innocence of the essence of life and is adamant to never be blinded by commercialism. His art works incarnates Dante’s purgatorio, it purifies one’s soul and leads the viewers back to the broad road of simplicity and sincerity.

Preface /          Author / Metra Lin
“The old Charcoal Seller “of the Tang Poetry puts the destiny between Cen Long and myself together…

In the early autumn of 2002, I went to Mainland China the first time, and there got to know a Chinese artist in Wuhan City of Hubei Province, for which was a whole new experience to me. At the time, I followed a Brazilian owner of artistic picture book publisher who had stayed in Japan for a long period of time to the Mainland China for requesting drawing invitation to Cen Long, in the hope to be able to use the five drawings which he received awards, plus asking him to make additional ten or more drawings, after completion, to make all of them into a collection book, which was to be published abroad. The artistic standards of these drawings were very high, and the styles of which were not seen commonly in the drawing field, that was why this friend from China left a very deep impression on me.

For the years gone by, my boss has published in succession several of drawing books from Cen Long, and I myself playing the role of translator to communicate have also got the chances sometimes to talk and meet with him. There was one time that I accidently saw his identification, only then I knew that he had been a member of Chinese Artists Association more than a decade ago, and he had also received several big awards of oil paintings from China in early years. I got curious and asked him: “So you are not a drawing artist at the beginning, are you an artist?”, but he shyly answered my question: “I am just an oil painting worker who knows how to paint.” Later on, during a school interview schedule, that was the first time I knew he was a professor from other people. I said to him: “So you are a professor yourself? How come I never heard of it?” I always thought that he was just a lecturer in the school. He answered me:” What more to say on my job title, it is just a work.”

For conversations like these, they make me look at him a different light. Due of an era like this, so many of the people who are not artists would like pretty much to put the title of artist on themselves in any way they can find, let alone to say so many more people just like to remind others all the times of their identities without any remorse? I begin to become curious of his background, and to realize his life to encountering as well, what’s sad is that the book of “The Old Charcoal Seller” is his autobiography of that time. This is what he has suffered with great adversity in one time of his life, and he has made those drawings with a change on the ending, to remind himself that he must go on no matter what, ”Just let the weather to get colder, and maybe this is meant that more charcoal can be sold, so he can make the ends meet.”

All his life, he has suffered with several great adversities, but for his art works, they are not miserable. Under the quiet atmosphere lightly surrounded, maybe there are some kinds of sorrows, maybe there are some kinds of loneliness, but perhaps if the observers can put their minds at the ease and to understand them, they will sense the beauty which is full of hope; however, such a beautiful feeling is hidden in the depth of the canvas, without seeing the original creations, there is nothing to be seen. What he looks for is a down-to-earth and ordinary beauty, that’s why he intentionally makes the picture look rustic, plus smell with a fragrance of dirt; by doing this, the visual tensions of the pictures will be lost. If one should be successful in the art markets, it is very important for him /her to create visual stimulations, for which does not stop him to look for the ideals to keep him going on all these times, rather in the most difficult way, he has actually used the dumb method to create for drawing forever slow and picky.

He has often drawn the peasants in his works, and people around him think that he comes from farming family, but in fact, he is from a family of scholars; his father is the master of art history, anthropology and ethnology as what the Chinese call it “”Dying Young Genius”; her mother is a history Professor, ranked one of the top hundred female scholars in China. As for himself, in the artists that I have known of, he is the scholar with the best temperaments on both literature and music, and he not only enjoys listening classical music and opera, but reads a lot of books in both literature and philosophy. However, for the years that I have known him, I have never heard of him to brag about his own background, rather to live humbly, quietly, and not eloquently, let alone to say of using the names of his parents to get his way in the society. From what he does in life as well as through his works, I begin to think over a lot of principles in life, and then back to the original point where I am able to take a look on what I look for in life.

Thus, I respect very much of Cen Long, and what a real artist he is! He does not care about the hollow fame, but to be persistent of what he looks for in his own art works, finally he has come to the top of the field by himself without being afraid of any hardships. This is why I have spent a lot of years to understand his background, to explore his art works, and at last, there is such an opportunity to compile this book today. I hope that his art works can be seen by the general public, as I believe the truth what he tries to examine is like a lamp light, to lead people into a more quiet and serene boundary…
Originally I would like to give a book title as : “Sage Back to Purity And Simplicity” ,but after inquiring with his opinions, he has firmly made objection of it, and only saying that he himself is just an ordinary person. I have no alternative but to give up my preference, instead I have changed the name of the book, but in my mind, he really is a sage who advocates truths with his drawing pen!

About Author / 
Metra Lin
Founder and director of Han Art Agency, admires art that is especially sincere and mellow, art that embodies philosophical meanings and profound emotions with a tranquil ordinariness. Published works:”The Singer on the Top of Clouds”,”The Secret Place”,”Breeze Blowing through the Birch Forest”, “Dreamlike Journey” and “Cen Long and his Silver Age”etc.

Product Details / 
Author:Metra Lin
Publisher:Reader Publishing Co., Ltd.
Publishing Date:First Edition in January, 2012
Specification:190×260 mm / 144 pages
Language:Traditional Chinese
Price:15 USD