Apple features calligrapher who created Hangzhou Apple Store mural in 'About the Artist' video

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2015
Apple on Thursday posted to its YouTube channel a translated version of a promo video featuring artist Wang Dongling, initially created for the Chinese market in celebration of the unveiling of a new West Lake Apple Store in Hangzhou.




Two days ago, Apple took the wraps off its latest retail outlet in Hangzhou, China, tearing down protective barriers bearing original artwork commissioned from noted calligrapher Wang Dongling. To commemorate the event, a video was created showing a behind the scenes look at Wang's work.

Apple has since translated the short feature and uploaded the results to its official YouTube channel under the title "Apple Store, West Lake - About the Artist." Wang discusses Hangzhou and the West Lake region, explaining that the 2000-year-old poem "Praising West Lake in the Rain" was a perfect fit for the project.

The poem reads:
Shimmering water on sunny days
Blurred mountains through rainy haze
West Lake is like the beauty, Xizi
With light or heavy makeup, always beautiful
According to Wang, Hangzhou combines both traditional Chinese culture with a modern cityscape open to new ideas.

"To have a West Lake Apple Store in Hangzhou, it will also add another highlight to the city," Wang said.



Architecturally, the West Lake location is a close relative to Apple's upcoming Union Square flagship store in San Francisco. Currently under construction, the new California outlet will sport the same split-level layout and open glass facade, but is expected to be much grander in scale, with huge 44-foot steel framed doors and a spacious rear patio with waterfall feature.

Apple's Hangzhou storefront is the first of five China locations to open in the coming month. Last week, Apple SVP of Retail Angela Ahrendts said the company plans to open five Apple Stores in the country in as many weeks, all part of an aggressive expansion into mainland China.

The West Lake Apple Store in Hangzhou is scheduled to open its doors to customers on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 9 a.m. local time.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    It's good if you can find something you love in life, like he has with calligraphy. Steve Jobs was in to typesetting also.

  • Reply 2 of 26
    dnd0psdnd0ps Posts: 253member
    Beautiful. It's incredible how Apple captured West lake's essence. Instead of selling western "Lao wai" marketing they've blended local artistry and culture with Apples distinct sense of zen simplicity. This is how you conquer China. Stock up on AAPL people
  • Reply 3 of 26
    dnd0ps wrote: »
    Beautiful. It's incredible how Apple captured West lake's essence. Instead of selling western "Lao wai" marketing they've blended local artistry and culture with Apples distinct sense of zen simplicity. This is how you conquer China. Stock up on AAPL people

    Except for that béret...I get it but come on.
  • Reply 4 of 26
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member

    Cool looking city.

  • Reply 5 of 26
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member

    Cool looking city.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dnd0ps View Post



    This is how you conquer China. Stock up on AAPL people

     

    I would if success had anything to do with the price of a stock.

  • Reply 6 of 26
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post

     

    It's good if you can find something you love in life, like he has with calligraphy.


     

    True. Just look at what her love for cars did for this girl: 

  • Reply 7 of 26
    formosaformosa Posts: 261member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dnd0ps View Post



    Beautiful. It's incredible how Apple captured West lake's essence. Instead of selling western "Lao wai" marketing they've blended local artistry and culture with Apples distinct sense of zen simplicity. This is how you conquer China. Stock up on AAPL people

    The older generations of Chinese people speak about the "emotion" of beautifully written strokes of Traditional characters (Wang speaks of the "energy of the lines"). This emotion is largely absent with the current Simplified characters. Ironically, anyone from China born after 1960 or so cannot completely read what he wrote.

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

     

    Cool looking city.


    I've visited this city. Stunning, just as seen in the video. The pagoda at the top of the hill (seen in the video around 0:36) is gigantic when you are up close.

  • Reply 8 of 26
    This video brings me back to my father. He was Japanese, and loved doing calligraphy on huge sheets of blank white paper.
  • Reply 9 of 26
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    Except for that béret...I get it but come on.

    I know what you mean, the poseur factor being pretty strong in America, but consider that it's a good outdoor hat for artists, coming as it does from Basque shepherds, not only for warmth but because you can pull the edge in any direction to shade the eyes. So it's good for working under indoor lighting as well.

    This all gets more important as you get older and your eyes are more burnt out by contrast. The main problems with berets are the assumptions people make about you if you wear one, but when you get old enough you stop caring about that and start wearing whatever works best.

    Anyway, this is a fantastic video, and a very classy way to bring an Apple store into the world. I wonder if it's a product of the new head of retail.

    Edit: Checking Wikipedia, found this: "In the later part of the twentieth century, the beret was adopted by the Chinese both as a fashion statement and for its political undertones." I did not know that.
  • Reply 10 of 26
    Love the video, love the calligraphy, love the effort by Apple to bring these together. I had previously read about this at Business Insider early in the week; they had posted a translation that seemed clunky and almost machine made, with a last line that made no sense (hard to know whether that's a fat fingered typo or really what the translator wanted to say):

    The light of water sparkles on a sunny day,
    and misty mountains lend excitement to the rain.
    I like to compare the west lake to "Miss West".
    Pretty in a gay dress, and pretty in simple again.

    A friend is a professor (western born) in ancient Chinese literature, so I had sent him a picture of the stores facade and this is part of what he wrote back. I think the bit of background adds more depth to what is going on with here and worth sharing:

    ' ... it's one of traditional China's most famous poems, and the queen of all (those millions of) poems celebrating the beauty of Hangzhou's "West Lake." It compares the lake to China's most famous beauty, a sort of combination Mata Hari/Helen of Troy named "Lady of the West." Here's the title & poem (translated roughly, on the spur of the moment :-)

    Su Shi (1037-1101): Drinking at West Lake--first Sunny, then Rainy.

    Water rippling, brimming in sunlight, lovely in fine weather;
    Mountain hues hazy, insubstantial, remarkable in rain.
    Wanting to compare West Lake to the Lady of the West:
    Whether light make-up or heavy powder--always just right.'

    I enjoy comparing translations of even seemingly simple lines and poems to remind myself of how much of a writers intention can get lost in the process. I do like the economy of the version at the top of this article the best.
  • Reply 11 of 26
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

     

     

    True. Just look at what her love for cars did for this girl: 


    Good on her! I hope she gets to Le Mans. Sad about her collarbone.

  • Reply 12 of 26
    formosa wrote: »
    Ironically, anyone from China born after 1960 or so cannot completely read what he wrote.
    Not completely but I'll say 98% readable for an average high-schooler today.
  • Reply 13 of 26
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by formosa View Post

     

    The older generations of Chinese people speak about the "emotion" of beautifully written strokes of Traditional characters (Wang speaks of the "energy of the lines"). This emotion is largely absent with the current Simplified characters. Ironically, anyone from China born after 1960 or so cannot completely read what he wrote.

     


    i think your comparison between traditional chinese characters vs simplified one is a bit off. out of almost 70k-80k of total chinese characters, only about 3000 of them are in simplified form while the rest are the same between "simplified set" and traditional set. cross-recognition of the characters are very easy. further more, there are various forms of character sets across east asian countries, such as japan or korea where the same character can be written differently. just like english vs french or other roman languages, though you might not know another languages, you still might be able to guess some of words by looking at the form/shape of a given chinese character. are there any special cases where the difference is so much that no one can even guess? it might, but it would be in tiny small sets.

  • Reply 14 of 26
    formosaformosa Posts: 261member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anakin1992 View Post

     

    i think your comparison between traditional chinese characters vs simplified one is a bit off. out of almost 70k-80k of total chinese characters, only about 3000 of them are in simplified form while the rest are the same between "simplified set" and traditional set. cross-recognition of the characters are very easy. further more, there are various forms of character sets across east asian countries, such as japan or korea where the same character can be written differently. just like english vs french or other roman languages, though you might not know another languages, you still might be able to guess some of words by looking at the form/shape of a given chinese character. are there any special cases where the difference is so much that no one can even guess? it might, but it would be in tiny small sets.


    My generalization is from talking to people who natively learned Traditional Chinese (Taiwan, Macau).

     

    I don't know Chinese characters or language natively but I'm slowly (very slowly) learning. I've been told by Taiwanese to learn the Traditional characters first as you can guess/extrapolate the Simplified characters. It is more difficult to go the other way, so I'm told. I do recognize more Japanese characters than I expected just by knowing the Chinese characters. I'm familiar with a few Roman languages, but Chinese is tough for me.

  • Reply 15 of 26
    formosa wrote: »
    The older generations of Chinese people speak about the "emotion" of beautifully written strokes of Traditional characters (Wang speaks of the "energy of the lines"). This emotion is largely absent with the current Simplified characters.

    The emotion of calligraphy is largely absent with the Simplified Chinese? It's like saying the emotion in calligraphy differs between English and German. The emotion depends on who wrote. There're great works written in Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean Hangul, and Japanese Kanji. Similarly the techniques in typography applies to both English and German. The beauty and subtleness of Chinese calligraphy are certainly not limited to Traditional characters.
    formosa wrote: »
    Ironically, anyone from China born after 1960 or so cannot completely read what he wrote.

    As far as I know, average mainland mid-schoolers today will have minimal problem reading Traditional Chinese, including this poem. I'm sorry about the stereotype you've heard in Taiwan.
  • Reply 16 of 26
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by formosa View Post

     

    My generalization is from talking to people who natively learned Traditional Chinese (Taiwan, Macau).

     

    I don't know Chinese characters or language natively but I'm slowly (very slowly) learning. I've been told by Taiwanese to learn the Traditional characters first as you can guess/extrapolate the Simplified characters. It is more difficult to go the other way, so I'm told. I do recognize more Japanese characters than I expected just by knowing the Chinese characters. I'm familiar with a few Roman languages, but Chinese is tough for me.




    one of main purposes for this effort of the simplified set of chinese is to allow people to remember characters easily. traditional characters sometime can have 10 more strokes than that simplified one. thus it lowered the barrier for beginner. think about it, all simplified character sets are for commonly used words.

     

    further, mainland has an easier pronunciation system, PinYin, to help people learn to say chinese word by themselves. i compared it with the one from hong kong and taiwan. it is far easier to take on and catch up for beginners. 

     

    who is better or which is better? if we only narrowly focus one or 2 aspects of a given event, we would sound very snobbish if one said that one is better than another. in matter of this chinese learning, being it simplified or traditional, it is chinese regardless. in the end,  it is all chinese.

  • Reply 17 of 26
    I created an account to say that I'm classically trained in Chinese and even know this poem by Li Bai but I have NO IDEA what that scrawling says. The world needs to know %uD83D%uDE2D%uD83D%uDE2D
  • Reply 18 of 26
    dnd0psdnd0ps Posts: 253member
    formosa wrote: »
    My generalization is from talking to people who natively learned Traditional Chinese (Taiwan, Macau).

    I don't know Chinese characters or language natively but I'm slowly (very slowly) learning. I've been told by Taiwanese to learn the Traditional characters first as you can guess/extrapolate the Simplified characters. It is more difficult to go the other way, so I'm told. I do recognize more Japanese characters than I expected just by knowing the Chinese characters. I'm familiar with a few Roman languages, but Chinese is tough for me.

    Chinese is my native tongue, I learnt simplified Chinese while my parents learned the traditional. They are not as different as you make them to be.
    For instance the word ? ?horse? is structurally similar to the traditional version, except for the horizontal stroke at the bottom and the square at the top.
    Most traditional and simplified characters look similar enough that I can, and all Chinese people I know do, read the other despite only having learnt one.

    It is true that it's easier to learn the simplified after learning the traditional. But the learning curve is much steeper, most modern mandarin media in China is simplified anyway.

    That said, a previous comment about elder Chinese not understanding his calligraphy is plain bullshit and reeks of ignorance
  • Reply 19 of 26
    formosa wrote: »
    The older generations of Chinese people speak about the "emotion" of beautifully written strokes of Traditional characters (Wang speaks of the "energy of the lines"). This emotion is largely absent with the current Simplified characters. Ironically, anyone from China born after 1960 or so cannot completely read what he wrote.

    Old Chinese proverb: It's easy to be negative about anything. Especially when you don't know what your talking about.
  • Reply 20 of 26
    prokipprokip Posts: 145member
    Brilliant... just brilliant !!!
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