Asian Dragon Art
Masterpieces of Chinese Paintings 700-1900
In 2013 I was fortunate to visit the iconic exhibition at the V&A in London ‘Masterpieces of Chinese Paintings 700-1900.’ This exhibition had some of the most remarkable examples of Chinese painting from 1200 years of tradition.
At this exhibition, the artwork ‘Nine Dragons’ struck me as an absolute wonder. An artist called Chen Rong created in 1244 this masterpiece that was lent to the V&A Museum by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
‘Nine Dragons’ is considered the oldest and finest dragon scroll in South Asian Art. The design expresses these mythical creatures in different conjectures and attitudes amidst clouds, water and mountains and represents the dynamic forces of nature in Daoism.
The art of drawing South Asian Dragons and Chinoiserie at the Brighton Royal Pavilion
Back at my art studio I threw myself to the task , inspired by the show at the V&A , to create my own interpretation of the dragons’ scroll. The results shown below are two new prints each with five dragons plus an art print titled ‘Chinoiseriez’ that shows six blue dragons flying defiantly and joyfully over the Brighton Royal Pavilion. The design for these prints are a reflection on two linked historic art styles: The South Asian classic art of the 14th century, in particular, the work by the artist Cheng Rong and, the European Chinoiserie art from the 18th. century.
My training and work experience as an architect has shaped my art expression. The use of ink as a medium to produce architectural technical drawings started my interest in calligraphic art.
The line in architecture often has a defined thickness. The use of special brushes, pens and calligraphy nibs opens the artistic expression to a dimension in movement whereby rotation and variation of pressure the marks produced are distinct and personal.
Below I show photographs of my drawings at different stages and explain my creative process. I first start with an initial concept drawing full of movement that in a second stage is consolidated into simple drawing. The final design is a larger drawing full of small details.
The seaside Regency architecture of the Brighton Royal Pavilion
My print ‘Chinoiseriez’ shows the Brighton Royal Pavilion. This building was the former royal residence of the Prince Regent and is currently a wonderful museum.
It is located in Brighton in the South East coast of England. It s construction begun in 1787 and was built in three stages as a seaside retreat for George, Prince of Wales, who became the Prince Regent in 1811, and King George IV in 1820.
The architectural complexity of the this building can easily be grasped by reading the below extract from Historic England that describes the East Facade: ‘ EXTERIOR: East Front: composed of 5 distinct parts, symmetrically arranged around the 7-bay colonnade of the rotunda; 3 French doors, each with pointed, trilobed heads and glazing bars of original design, open into the saloon; these window heads, inspired by Mughal architecture, are repeated throughout the fabric; columns in Bath stone have an octagonal socle, leafy base, octagonal shaft, and flaring, leaf capitals which terminate above the diamond crenellated parapet in octagonal pinnacles. The design of these columns repeated throughout the fabric, applied in many instances to pilasters. Between the tops of each pair of the rotunda columns is a screen of pierced quatrefoils arranged in intersecting S-curves which are formed from the lines of the horseshoe arches; above the centre bay of the colonnade in the parapet are the arms of the King and an inscription: “HRH George IV MDCCLXXXIV”. ‘
Classic 13th century Southern Chinese dragons
Dragons in Asian culture means prosperity. They are the ultimate benefactors. Often appearing in the most intricate and elevated form or arts. Below you can see from ‘The Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China and South Asia’ from the British Museum a set of magnificent Ming dynasty dragon tiles, comprised of beautiful, large, high-relief tiles, made in sets to form a series of friezes showing blue-and-yellow dragons among lotuses.
Chinoiserie Art Print. Life triptych
In the summer of 2020 as part of a new commission I carried out further research into occidental representation of Asian art and motifs. This studies have led me to the creation of a new triptych group of prints that I have subsequently named ‘Chinoiseriez Life triptych’.
Together, these prints create a celebration of joy. The design travels through calligraphic art; the seaside Regency architecture of the Brighton Royal Pavilion, Chinoiserie architectural Victorian ornamentation and classic 13th. century Southern Chinese dragons.
These are the tittles of the three prints:
‘Chinoiseriez Life Enchantment.’ In this print twin dragons fly over festive Brighton Pavilion that is dressed for the occasions with golden draperies and flags.
‘Chinoiseriez Life Joy.’ This print shows an old and bearded dragon with a mischievous attitude whilst pinches with its claws a golden finial of a minaret.
‘Chinoiseriez Life Delight.’ This last print shows a dragon with a crown featuring the feathers from the emblem of the Prince of Wales.
In the summer of 2020 I revisited my 2012 original ‘Chinoiseriez’ print. It was the result of a private commission that requested the use of royal green and gold hues. This revised design adds notes of early 20th century Asian inspired decorative arts motifs and continues the them of historic collage which includes elements of Regency architecture of Indo-Saracenic style, Chinoiserie interiors, classic calligraphic South Asian art.
Chinoiseriez Art launch. May 2021.
In 2012 I completed my print ‘Chinoiseriez’ and presented it for the first time at the Brighton May Open House Festival. It became a contagious exhibition that extended to old a new friends. As a fun piece I created a range of clothes that followed the theme.
Dragon Art Print Gallery.
My family of dragon prints has grown to a nice size of art prints. I issue as limited edition art prints. Please find below my collection and if you have any query please do not hesitate to contact me using the contact form from my web.
Dragon print Brighton Pavilion Life Triptych£142.00 – £912.00
Dragon Artist Chinoiseriez£40.00 – £180.00
Dragon print Brighton Pavilion Crimson and Blue Samson Triptych£142.00 – £912.00
Dragon Picture Brighton Pavilion Orient Nights Zou£182.00 – £292.00
Dragons Picture Brighton Pavilion Orient Nights You£182.00 – £292.00
Dragons Art Brighton Pavilion Crystal Blue£40.00 – £310.00
Chinoiseriez Life Joy£40.00 – £310.00
Chinoiseriez Life Delight£40.00 – £310.00
Chinoiseriez Life Enchantment£40.00 – £220.00
Brighton Royal Pavilion Chinoiseriez Arco£40.00 – £180.00
Dragons Roll Alej Ro£192.00
Dragons Roll Chen Rong£192.00
Turner Contemporary, glazed gallery, Chinoiseriez Dragon£40.00
London Dragons over Thames River by Westminster£40.00 – £310.00