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Barking up the right tree

Updated: 2013-03-05 09:19
By Zheng Jinran ( China Daily)

Barking up the right tree

The image of two raccoon heads painted on a tree trunk by Wang Yue in Shijiazhuang attracts a pedestrian's attention. Ren Quanjun / For China Daily

An innovative artist harnesses nature as a canvas for her art, and her works on tree trunks have added a color to drab winter streetscapes, as Zheng Jinran reports in Shijiazhuang.

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While winter's trees await spring to show off their new attire of blossoms and leaves, Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province, has stolen a march on warmer weather by featuring pictures on its trees.

Jiuzhong Street has become the focus of an artistic initiative that sees the exposed trunks of trees becoming canvases for whimsical images.

In one "tree trunk picture" a white cat's head peeps out; in another, a giant panda frolics in a bamboo grove; while in yet another, sunset falls over a port and the water glints in the dying light.

About 11 tree trunk pictures have been crafted since February on old pagoda trees that typically line the avenues of the city.

Luo Hongxian, 27, took his 2-year-old son to the street to view them.

"It's a brilliant idea and lights up the dull street during the long winter months, " he says, after taking photos of his son pointing at one of the tree trunk pictures that has an animal looking out.

The artist, Wang Yue, has been drawing since senior high school and says she has received a lot of compliments on her new series of works.

"I'm thrilled the public likes them so much," the 23-year-old says.

"I like to find beauty in everyday things, such as manhole covers, tree trunks and broken bridges," says the student who is majoring in visual communication at Dalian Polytechnic University, Liaoning province.

She says her tree trunk pictures were intended to brighten up the streets in winter.

"The exposed tree trunk is quite smooth and clean and can be preserved for a long time," she says, adding that she used to draw pictures around manhole covers, such as of a middle-aged man smoking a cigar - but they quickly faded away as people walked over them.

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