Liu Yijun's journey from guitar strings to painting show

By Chen Nan ( ) Updated: 2015-04-20 15:38:37

Liu Yijun's journey from guitar strings to painting show

Rocker-turned-painter Liu Yijun. Photo by Zou Hong / China Daily

Liu Yijun, one of the country's best-known guitarists with the band Tang Dynasty, is now getting much attention as a painter.

Lao Wu, as he is more popularly known, held his first solo exhibition of more than 30 paintings that he made since 1993, at a gallery in Beijing's 798 art district earlier this month.

The 53-year-old uses pencils, ballpoint pens and ink brushes to express his thoughts on canvas.

"Painting is like a string of my guitar. That is why I name my paintings after musical notes, such as C Major and D Minor," the lanky, long-haired Liu tells China Daily.

The feelings that he couldn't express through music earlier were now out on paper, he adds.

He also wrote a piece of music for the show by using qing, or sounding stone, an ancient Chinese percussion instrument. When struck by wooden hammers, the qing, which is filled with water, produces melodious sounds of various notes.

"When the vibration reaches a certain frequency, the water splashes. It's just like the energy I accumulated before I painted. Each of the piece represents the moment when the inspiration filled my head," says Liu, who calls the exhibition, Vibration, or Zhen in Chinese. "I want the audience to see the painting and hear the music at the same time."

Liu began painting around 1992, at the peak of the band's popularity.

Established in 1988 as one of China's rock pioneers, Tang Dynasty was originally founded by lead vocalist Ding Wu, Chinese-American guitarist Kaiser Kuo, bassist Zhang Ju and drummer Andrew Szabo. After Kuo and Szabo left the band, Liu and drummer Zhao Nian joined in 1989.

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