Street food – Pancakes

I love pancakes, thankfully so do the Taipei and Beijing residents, I have had similar food in both, but they also each have their unique, wheat flour based recipes. This one in Taipei, where the elderly guys was very friendly, which is one of the reasons I enjoy eating street food, is the social aspect, who doesn’t enjoy a chat, compared to the cold reception in most chains, such as the Mcdonalds opposite his stall.

His pancakes came with a variety of options, I chose the egg and soy sauce, tasty and satisfying and culturally interesting!

Thanks for reading, Sam.

Street art at Zhongshan Station, Taipei.

On Friday I went to the Museum of Modern Art in Taipei, to be honest I found the public artworks at the Zhongshan MRT Station much more interesting, it seems sometimes museums get stuck for ideas and just fill the space with work that lacks imagination and impact. I guess this is also just my preference.

I do have a fondness for abstraction and character, so of course these works around the MRT (subway station) caught my eye, I also really appreciate art that is public, as opposed to art that is made exclusive by being housed in a gallery or museum, when it comes to inside art, I still make an effort and enjoy a lot of the works I see, but the whole idea that art is for and by everyone, really is communicated much better through street art, than by art which we often have to pay to see and that is put on a pedestal, .i.e. it exists as some kind of status symbol for those who buy it and I guess the artist too, I do hope to do more exhibitions, don’t get me wrong, but I also like to get work out into the world, literally.

Thanks for reading, Sam.

I see actors and fashion shows everyday

As we walk down the city streets, we present ourselves as we want to be percieved, how we move, speak and dress, is all an act, yet some claim that they are not creative, even seconds after painting their faces like theatre performers, ready to walk around with a well rehearsed, public facial expression, human creativity has become disconnected.

Do artists also have this way of thinking? We all act in public, whether we admit it or not, to conform or resist is perhaps the same, the show goes on, but when we paint, draw and sculpt we seem to be following the same habit, always seeking a raising of status through our art, even doing so in a very calculated way, perhaps this expectation is what has made a lot of art become boring and formulaic, especially with commercial works.

It seems there is so much art produced to order, is the faith is no more? the world is full of art factories slowly doing the same thing over and over, because it sells, nothing wrong with making a living, but where is the inspiration for humanity, if artists aren’t making works that ask questions.

Please share your thoughts, Sam

Art Revolution Taipei

Last week I went back to Taipei for a day, it’s only one hour away from where I am based in Jiaoxi, on the North East of Taiwan, I like the contrast and ease of being able to switch from big city to small town like this, so I can do a day trip, get a lot done and then return to the relaxed and clean air of Jiaoxi.

One of the main reasons for visiting Taipei was the Art Revolution exhibition, this was hosted in the 101 exhibition centre, right next to the World Trade Centre. There were many art galleries represented, and a lot of the artists featured were international, The artists showing came from early career, and recent graduates and much more established artists, with dedicated shows, this allowed for a broad view, which was refreshing to see.

I have selected my personal favourite works from the show, generally I am drawn toward works that feature pattern, abstraction with a simple nature, as well as a natural, organic feeling to them, but does depend and change according to the work, I like to try and keep an open eye. Here are a few works that caught my attention.

The first one here is my favourite, I see a lot of similarity between it and my own works, I don’t mind working in a similar way to others, though I don’t seek to be the same, there are just certain things I am drawn to, whether it’s made by me or another.

Systemisation of Chaos, by Alexey Ivanov.

Next up, this image has some notalgic childhood quality for me, it reminds me of a pattern on a pillow, which I really liked for some reason, it does have a soft and organic feeling, plus the yellow, abstract and pattern, which I enjoy in my own work too.

Trace by Emi Uchida

I really like the use of pallet knives in paining, the abrupt organic and much less controlled, non detail focus for them, I also enjoy using them in my own works, it’s a satisfying process.

Storia Di Mare by Alex Bertaina

That’s it for this post, I hope you enjoyed these great art works as I did, for more information about the show, you can visit their website here.


Night Market

We went to a local night market last week, in the neighbouring town Touchen, there was a wide variety of street foods and mini pinball machines, here are some shots.

A healthy concoction, slightly minty, no one else was into it, but I often like to try the healthy thing, so bought a bottle and downed it, I’m still waiting for the effects, maybe I need to drink it everyday.

Rice bun hotdogs, instead of bread they used a glutenous rice sausage, cut across with a meat sausage inside, with some sauce, they looked and smelled good, my stomach was already filled to the brim, so I didn’t try them, next time I will, minus the meat though.

Sweet potato balls, covered in batter, nice and light, interesting and very hot, thanks for sharing with me Cheng-Han.

MEAT!!! barbecued on sticks with spices, if only I was a meat eater, I can imagine that savoury, tastines, after 30+ years of eating meat, and a period of unhappy tummies in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, I quit it and now it is rarely attractive, except for the occasional piece of fried chicken, or pork dumplings.

This guy sells pancake style, savoury snacks, filled with vegetables, tasty!

This lady was selling steamed pork and glutenous rice, wrapped in banana leaves, this looks very similar to what I had many times in Vietnam, but you can often get a variety of fillings, including red bean, or with a savoury nut mixture, they are very sticky, which makes the texture so great.

Kids and adults here are enjoying pinball machines, much more physically interactive than what we have on a 2D screen, I guess playing on a phone or computer gets boring eventually, and it’s just nice to get more physical.

I enjoyed seeing and trying these local street foods in Taiwan. Food is a really interesting part of living and traveling in different countries, with a strong link between peoples, cultures and the land they live and were raised on, especially in areas like this, where food is grown and eaten locally, it’s very interesting.

Thanks for reading, Sam.

Lize Puppet colony

On the weekend I visited the Lize Puppet Colony, a Taipei puppet production company that moved to Wujie Township, Yilan County, TAIWAN twenty years ago.

Lize creates and does shows around Taiwan and internationally, here you can see a video of their performances. The puppet style is contemporary, so you will not see much traditional puppetry here, which for many is perfect, If you love to see a diverse and innlovative approach to making. You may be interested in traditional styles, but I would like to learn more about advances in puppetry. If you would like to see more traditional puppetry in Taiwan then in Taipei there is a traditional puppet museum. Often contemporary arts will mix the traditional with the contemporary, allowing the viewer to get a feeling for the culture and how it has changed, creatively, through what has been created in the arts, especially when commercial conformity is reduced.

Taking a tour around the workshops is a great way to meet some of the key members of staff, as well as the stars of Lize Colony.

This is Chi Hsuan Lin, she is a choreographer and puppeteer, along with Jimmy Chen a puppet maker and puppeteer. Jimmy spoke very good English as the main guide, showing and teaching visitors about the spaces, the different types of puppets, ways to make them and how to perform with them, it was very interesting and inspiring, thanks Jimmy.

It seems maybe destiny to do a residency at Lize one day, they offer those who work in puppetry the opportunity to spend more than a month based at their workshops and performance space in Taiwan. Not having so much experience with physical puppetry but instead a digital skillset in animation, aswell as an art background and some performance experience, perhaps this is a very good direction for the future, and enough to be able to do a puppetry focused residency, let’s see.

There are two possible projects for making a puppet show that come to mind, both have been written more as books, now it is necessary to consider which might work well as a puppet show and what needs to be done to make that happen. The two potential projects are Camino and a Dragon story I have been recently working on, take a look and provide your comments and insights if you would like, I really appreciate any ideas for improving these stories.

Thanks for reading, Sam.