Laboring over art

Updated: 2011-06-06 09:32

(China Daily)

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Laboring over art
Ma Jinshan wants to give one of his new paintings to his boss to thank him for supporting his artwork. [Photo/Xinhua] 

A pipeline maintenance worker in Qingdao, Shandong province, is preparing his personal exhibition

Ma Jinshan, a migrant worker from Northwest China's Gansu province, prepared an exhibition of his artwork on a recent day. Different from other painting exhibitions, Ma's exhibition will be held in a construction site where he works in Qingdao, Shandong province.

In 2010, the 42-year-old Ma Jinshan joined a construction team as a pipeline maintenance worker and began working at a building site in Qingdao. After finishing his day's toil, he found he liked to make drawings on walls or the ground. His boss discovered his talent and, shortly afterward, Ma was allowed to begin painting at the construction site. He established a studio in his dormitory room, which contains about 10 square meters of space. His fellow workers now often volunteer to serve as his models.

Ma Jinshan's paintings have been greatly inspired by his passion. During half a year in Qingdao, he finished about 100 paintings, many of which have become gifts presented by his fellow workers to their families.

Ma Jinshan's love and passion for painting can be traced back to his childhood. Because of his family's poverty, Ma did not receive professional training in painting and only learned his art by making copies from picture books. In his 20s, he became familiar with traditional Chinese painting and began to study it. Most of his works then consisted of figure paintings and landscape paintings. He recently became interested in revolutionary themes.

Ma said he thinks having the experiences of a migrant worker has allowed him to take many of the ideas he has used in his art directly from life. But he has drawn on other sources of inspiration. At times, even TV series have supplied the ideas for his paintings. Regardless of his exhausting work and hard life, Ma said he forgets his hardships completely when he touches a paintbrush. Sometimes he manages to spend five or six hours concentrating on paintings and forgetting himself.

Ma Jinshan concedes that he does not possess the best painter's technique. Even so, he will never give up his love for the art. As long as his fellow workers like his paintings, he will persist.

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