Passion Turn Into Career
Author: Wong Yee Tian
Editor: Nurul Izzah Aisa
Sumber Foto: Tee Ying Jie
Calligraphy, also known as "beautiful writing" has been valued as an art form in many different cultures around the world, but the importance of calligraphy in Chinese culture is unparalleled. Calligraphy was not only considered a decorative art form in China at the ancient time. However, it was considered the highest form of fine art, valued above painting and sculpture, and ranked alongside poetry as a means of self-expression and cultivation. How you wrote was actually as important as what you wrote.
To understand how calligraphy came to be so prominent, it is necessary to consider a variety of factors, such as the materials used in calligraphy and the nature of the Chinese script, as well as the esteem of writing and literacy in Traditional Chinese. In this contemporary era, Chinese calligraphy still remains strong on the global contemporary art scene with leading artists such as LiuDan, Wang Dongling and Xu Wubing. However, in Malaysia, calligraphy has faced many challenges in order to be sustained among the youths.
Located in a small town in Klang, a creative artist named Tee Ying Jie, 33, an award winning calligraphist who has exhibited locally and globally, catches the attention in the digital era as he makes calligraphy as a career meanwhile preserving the tradition of calligraphy.
Tee started his journey at 8 years old where he won a calligraphy competition and was awarded a free three month calligraphy class, which begins the new chapter of his life. Before this, his passion towards art was noticeable by his parents, resulting in him competing in local art competitions. Their concern is perhaps their only child would practice social skills and expand the networks through competition.
According to Tee, it was not a planned journey as many of us might think starting calligraphy at an early age is on account of interest.
“What inspired me the most is getting an award for calligraphy rather than the art itself,” Tee said.
Although Tee loves painting and drawing, he never thought calligraphy might be one of his interests before he met his mentor, Kerk Won Ho, a calligraphy teacher who inspired him the most in his journey.
CHALLENGES IN THE JOURNEY
Being an artist as a career path was once his ambition but the idea was opposed by his parents. His determination towards art and calligraphy has convinced the parents to pursue his study as a graphic designer. Sooner, he found that as a graphic designer was not enough to fulfill his passion in calligraphy. Hence, he decided to make the passion into a career.
At first, he is humble to articulate how his calligraphic work differs from others because he believes he is still on the learning journey, although he confesses that he enjoys incorporating elements of Western art with his Chinese calligraphy. Later, he decided to concentrate on Chinese calligraphy. Now, he has a range of students at the age of 6 to 90.
Tee mentioned that calligraphy art is hard to survive in Malaysia. This is on account of lacking appreciation for the art form as people from all walks of life think that calligraphy is easy to create without acknowledging the hard work behind it.
DEFINE ART OF CALLIGRAPHY
Tee revealed that calligraphy is the most powerful form to express the meaning, feelings and connect everyone on a single rice paper.
As the saying goes, “A picture tells a thousand words” is best described in calligraphy where the letters are the pieces of puzzle to tell a story.
“To understand calligraphy is not easy yet not difficult because every letter tells you the meaning and message delivered by the calligrapher is clear on the paper,” says Tee.
Calligraphy had distant roots in pictographs distilled from natural forms, both writing and painting are thought to be hardwired to nature itself.
“Its energy flows from the body, through the brush and into the ink then it becomes something that matters,” explains Tee.
The resulting strokes and lines are allied to a polygraph read-out of the soul, revealing its moral strengths and exposing its disaccordance.
It emphasizes the expression of emotions which needs the calligrapher to coordinate the body and the mind to select the best styling for the presentation of the passage content.
In recent years, Tee won four awards in an online competition organized by Superior Culture, Hong Kong, a professional competition organizers for artistic cross-cultural development, including first place in the Single-Character Huaichun category, gold in the "Fu" Chinese Huaichun category, and a congratulatory message in both the Huaichun and Spring Couplet categories.
On the other perspectives, Tee also appreciates the fact that Chinese calligraphy is still an essential art form and he does not believe it will ever lose its significance, whether as wall decorations or inscriptions on packages or cards.