With the stroke of her brush, Qing Han’s young girl breathes life into an empty night sky. But when one of her creations causes a momentary lapse of concentration, a race ensues to save her creation and the village below.
For me, this whimsical short by Qing Han and composition by Paul Levasseur, perfectly encapsulates what Qing Han’s art is all about: a joyous expression of her multitude of sensory experiences, which reimagine the world in which we live. I’m reminded of something Hayao Miyazaki is quoted to say: ‘life is a winking light in the darkness’. It is this snippet into life that I reflect on. Back to a childhood home in the countryside drawing down by the river bend. A satchel filled with watercolors, charcoal and any other materials I could get my hands on, squashing them up against a crudely-made sandwich. My day would be filled with the choral drones of the local cows and the squelching of my sodden holey shoes. I miss those days and Qing’s art makes me long for them once more.
A soundtrack for the journey
Inspiration and style
What sensory experiences does Qing, or Qinni as she likes to be called, draw on? Anyone who knows Qing, or follows her on her social media outlets will know she hasn’t been the most fortunate when it comes to her health. However, even in those days where her health isn’t cooperating, she is infectiously positive. Qing has undergone three heart bypasses and has enough of her own emotional turmoil to draw on that her artwork could have taken a very different direction but instead her persona pushes through. And what a joyous persona it is; a geeky warmth, filled with a quirky and honest love of art. From an experience standpoint, her industry experience speaks for itself: animation studios were her wheel-house, as well as, a multitude of freelance and commission work. There was also a stint into animation, as the aforementioned video has shown. Oh, and Quig nearly pursued a different form of artistic expression to become a professional violinist. It is clear then, that art is more than just catharsis for Qing, it is the physical embodiment of her persona.
Much like Neil Gaiman’s veiled fantastical underworld in Neverwhere, Qing’s art subverts what we think we know about the real world; that beneath the surface there is a world of wonders. From the quaint pop-culture musings of Kiki, Sailor Moon and Mulan to name a few, to her own wondrous imaginings of mermaids, magical, nature and inward reflection. Qing’s pieces are nothing short of enchanting. Clean, anatomically perfect lines explode off the page with a supernova of harmonious watercolors, where gouache, digital and watercolor form Qing’s playground. While Qing’s work is influenced by eastern animation and comparisons can be drawn with manga too, this should not be seen as anything less than a complement. Qing’s love for the art of Miyazaki, Kazuo Oga, Makiko Futaki is clear from the style and subject matter. Natural and supernatural elements coalesce to provide Qing’s characters with as much soul as any Kiki, Nausicaa or San.
More than an artist
Qing’s charitable nature extends beyond her artwork; she is much a teacher as she an artist. Whichever social media outlet you find Qing on, you will find a plethora of knowledge imparted for all to see. Would-be artists, fans and the curious among you are invited to eat-up her experience. I’m talking about an inventory of materials alongside pages of detailed notes, observations, as well as, genuine advice regarding anatomy and its study. With this, you can certainly add ‘selfless’ to the list of adjectives that describe Qing; a truly beautiful human being.
Qing’s art is such that it will burrow into the minds of child and adult alike; a warm sense of glee resonating within and a little grin emerging from the corners of the mouth. With that, I leave you to explore this world for yourself and find the world beneath our own.
You can follow Qing on social media and be sure to buy her a coffee following her recent hospital visits.