Tzeng Yong-ning, the artist who blazed the path of ballpoint pen painting in Taiwan. It dates back to 2000 when he first employed ballpoint pens in his artworks. Initially, ballpoint pens were served as a contrasting painting tool to the brushes Tzeng used, which was meant to create some impact brought by tradition vs. modernity, and flexible brush vs. hard tipped pen, and expressed merely occasionally as embellishments to his Chinese ink painting. The stunning effects however were just so appealing. After having managed the usage of ballpoint pens quite assuredly, Tzeng started to ponder over the possibility of ballpoint pen painting. He thereby pivoted to another form of painting and has become inextricably linked with ballpoint pens from then on .
Fundamentally speaking, art creations are forms of physical labor. Ballpoint pen painting may therefore be deemed as a form of labor-intensive handiwork. Dependent entirely on handiwork, ballpoint pen painting, like a fabric came into being after some practical weaving process, is an accumulation of physical labor. Carrying the mentality of traditional artisan, Tzeng draws slowly in a repetitive mode, allowing his body to toil day after day. His body steps into the artwork in this intensive painting activity, his hands and the medium intertwined, further developing novelty thinking in this process of handiwork.
Rollerball pens also known as ballpoint pens achieve the purpose of writing by making use of the rolling ball tip to dispense ink. Tzeng fully utilizes this feature, follows the path of the rolling ball tips to create geometric forms in repetitive cycles, and tops them with textures and patterns made from multi-leveled networks of lines. Lines are the essential components that play the contouring and linking roles in creating the density variations in the weaving style of Tzeng’s paintings. The packed lines are rightly organized to form a sturdy, inseparable spatial composition. While setting off from natural forms as imitation of flowers, the geometric forms contain no specific reference and are therefore open and free from semantic content. The diverse changes in nature are both vigorous and capricious. Tzeng’s geometric forms grant the nature with some regularity in plastic form. The resplendent pictorial surface is crystal-like with remarkable composition—an incessant overlapping, replication and regeneration- extends outwardly from the circular rotations develops from the center.
Through pens, Tzeng came to connect with the traditional Lukang hometown handicraft as the delicate texture contains in his artworks has revived the handiwork involved in painting. Tzeng has carved out a new contemporary style of painting with his application of ballpoint pens. Truly, Tzeng has caught much attention due to his usage of ballpoint pens which nevertheless, has also constituted a labeling effect to his form of creation. Besides the intuitive drive for creative works, recently, Tzeng has spent much effort in pursuit of ‘material effects as an external boost for enriching the forms and contents of his artwork.
by Lin Han-Chun
quoted from Convolution – Switch / Reversal