About Xiong Liang
Xiong Liang (熊亮) is a painter, author and illustrator, and a pioneering Chinese picture books author. Born in 1975 in Jiaxing, Zhejiang, he started to study traditional Chinese ink painting as a child, and later applied this technique to his works of contemporary art.
He has published over twenty books, including The Little Stone Lion, The Toy Rabbit, The Story of the Year, The Beijing Opera Cats, The Solar Terms, Monsoon Monster, The New Year Monster, and Tales of Darkness.
Xiong Liang’s visual art emphasizes lines and darkness, and draws many of its essential qualities from traditional Chinese art. The characters and sceneries in his works are evocative, poetic, and full of life. His creative output is multidisciplinary, and includes adult graphic novels, children’s books, novels, plays, and contemporary ink paintings. He uses illustration, and the combination of these various creative forms, to make his work deeply meaningful and thought-provoking. Every one of his books is an attempt at overcoming former limitations, and exploring new creative possibilities.
Xiong Liang’s works have previously been exhibited at the British Museum, and featured at many international book fairs. He has also participated in public discussions with such masters of contemporary illustration as Anthony Browne, among others. His works have been translated into many languages, and have notably earned Xiong Liang a nomination for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Awards. He is one of the Chinese picture book artists to have received the widest worldwide acclaim.
Meridian时差 is currently representing Xiong Liang for the sales of his original paintings and illustration works.
▼ “Flowers of Day and Night” Series
This series includes two sets of paintings: “Flowers of Night” were painted between 2007 and 2009, while “Flowers of Day” were created between 2014 and 2015. Although these paintings may look like flowers, they are in fact abstract renditions of circulation and life.
From one set to the other, visible changes have taken place.
The writing of stories and plays, and the publication of picture books, have all provided me with channels for self-expression; painting, on the other hand, is for me an occasion to achieve silence and enjoy the language of unrestrained solitude. In this day and age, being able to remain silent is in fact a sign of freedom.
To paint is to reach a razor-like form of accuracy: only on the right day or within the right timeframe, and under the right circumstances, when my head is absolutely empty, may I achieve this type of paintings.
Simultaneously, I remain sensitive to what I paint. Is the painting too intense? Is it too quiet? Is it too accurate? Is is beautiful? Such are the questions I must rid myself of, to return to a state of purity, and start again — as if on a balance beam.
Painting is only painting. It is unfettered by literature, philosophy or feelings. Sometimes, such or such a painting may appear intense, because the lines and the ink may require straightforwardness or even coarseness in the structure they form; but if emotion there is, it only acts as an impetus. What is left is nothing but the painting itself.
— Xiong Liang
Flowers of Day ►
Flowers of Night ►
▼ Tales of Darkness
Tales of Darkness (《寻暗集》) is a collection of ghost stories written and illustrated by Xiong Liang, adapted from three traditional folk plays: “Mulian Saving His Mother”; “The Ghost Mother”; and “The Tale of the Black Basin.” Each of these stories is deeply steeped in Buddhist folklore, and masterfully rendered in Xiong Liang’s trademark ink painting style.
In this book, the reader is led through a journey of nearly eighty pages into the heart of Xiong Liang’s “dark aesthetics,” following the thread of tales full of absurdity, madness, and uncanny metaphors. As for Yang Linqing’s innovative book design, it offers three different reading experiences, each more soul-stirring than the other — drawing the explorer ever deeper along these paths of darkness, and vividly bringing to life three fascinating tales of the netherworld.
Tales of Darkness –
Original illustrations ►
▼ The Solar Terms
Xiong Liang was invited by Meridian to participate in the making of Fairy Tales of the World, an original picture books collection.
Xiong Liang’s contribution, as the author representing China, was The Solar Terms — always the most popular story in the collection. In 2016, The Solar Terms will be featured at international book fairs in India and Norway.
The Solar Terms depicts the twenty-four seasons (known as “solar terms”) of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, and with them, the transformations that the earth undergoes throughout the year. To do so, Xiong Liang made use of the exquisitely graceful lines and subdued colours typical of traditional Chinese ink painting. Each of these wonderful paintings is suffused with the spirit of “Man and Heaven as One,” the ancient philosophy according to which man is an integral part of nature. By representing the earth under a human form, The Solar Terms is a refreshing way of revisiting ideas of great importance in the China of old, and of expressing anew their profound wisdom and poetry.
Six out of Xiong Liang’s twenty-four original paintings for this series are on offer, to be acquired as collection pieces.
The Solar Terms –
Original illustrations ►
▼ Monsoon Monster
“I never complain about things I cannot change,” says Monsoon Monster.
In the place where Monsoon Monster lives, it rains all year long. Monsoon Monster’s clothes are forever soaked through and through. As for Monsoon Monster’s friends, well… And yet, Monsoon Monster’s life is such a cheerful one!
When life isn’t exactly as you would like it to be, why not think of Monsoon Monster?
This is a book filled to the brim with the sound of heavy rain.
Monsoon Monster –
Original illustrations ►
▼ The Vajra Master
Welcome to the class of Pr. Vajrapani, deep in the mountains! You won’t just learn ordinary things here: you will learn about life.
The professor asks: “What is the goal of learning?” To which the Four Elements, the caterpillar and the leaf each reply in turn.
But their replies are too many to be counted…
This is a course of life study. What is your reply?