Monday, 2 April 2012

Chinese Parents Attitudes Towards Art

 Chinese Parents Attitudes Towards Art

Full Article:  Sheffield Telegraph

WHEN Sheffield design agency The Cafeteria were commissioned by Museums Sheffield to find someone to create artwork for their China: Journey to the East at Weston Park Museum they knew just the chap to call - a designer in Manchester called Jonny Wan. What they hadn’t guessed was that in addition to having Chinese heritage he fitted the bill in another respect - he was born in Sheffield and knew the museum well.

Wan grew up in the Sharrow area and his Hong Kong-born parents were in the fast food business, latterly running a takeaway in Fulwood.  

One reason that Wan welcomed the commission was that he would be able to impress his parents “As the child of an Asian family there is the perception you have never quite got a job and it’s great I have got to do things like this.” 

For him personally, it is something which represents both sides of his heritage. “It was weird growing up because outside the house my culture was English and inside it was Chinese and I guess I was straddling the line in between,” he says. China: Journey to the East continues at Weston Park until April 9.

BBC Commentary: Traditional avaricious FOB parents have discouraged their children from studying artistic subjects or entering artistic professions (with the exception of architecture perhaps), they want their children to have a 'real' job (i.e doctor, lawyer, dentist, accountant, engineer etc). In view of FOB parents holding negative attitudes towards art and culture, are our FOB parents responsible for stifling BBC cultural development? Or are they right? Do FOB parents help or hinder BBC culture?

35 comments:

  1. I have respect for anyone who wants to be an artist apart from the fact that he's BBC but also in this day and age with economic downturn etc.

    So its great for him hes actually making a living doing something he loves.

    My own FOB parents didnt really encourage me, I kind of had to find out for myself. In retrospect, i think FOBS only know what they know. ie making money.

    so you cant really expect them to know more, thats why they are FOBS. Its that typical older survival first mentality. And probably they only care that hes making money out of it, rather than doing something he loves or caring as much about the artistic content of the work itself IMO

    Re BBC culture, as someone put on this blog once,BBC generation just gets regenerated every so often by FOBS, then BBCS, then marrying BBCS where the chineseness dies out, then its onto next wave of FOBS. Its another topic but for the BBC married couples, do they see their children doing any different than what they did ie the usual middle class BBC career ?

    That would answer whether choosing a practical career is a Chinese thing or a FOB thing, because ALL the BBCs i know are in practical doctor, business, careers. Not 1 I know is an artist. actually 2 i know dabble, but they arent serious artists.

    Just a minor criticism on Jonny Wans artwork - its got that slight orientalist thing going. But thats what white people i like so thats why he got commissioned. Overally his graphic style is simple and effective, It does the job.

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    1. FOBs equate art with a life of poverty, therefore don't waste your time. Even when 'artistic' careers of sorts are pursued, its usually the very commercial market driven subjects - architecture, interior design etc.

      Even in music, if we take the Amy chua FOB model of parenting, they pursue piano and violin only. I actually still don't understand why they are obsessed with piano and violin, perhaps someone can enlighten me?

      Perhaps, only those parents from artistic backgrounds themselves would consider pushing their children into the arts. Other parents that allow their children to enter the artistic professions are probably weak parents.

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    2. Orientalism has to be taken in context, I think we can differentiate between positive orientalism and negative orientalism. For example, there is nothing wrong with wearing cheongsam or qipao, only if its used to represent negative stereotypes or misrepresent or to 'take the piss,' do I have a problem with it. I don't sense any negative stereotyping, misrepresentation or piss-taking in the artwork presented.

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    3. Re Obsession with piano and violin, didnt your mum get you to learn it? I had to learn violin I hated it and was extremely bad at it too so just as well My mum didnt ask me to follow through. but I think why FOBS like those instruments is possibly part of the hi-culture obsession.

      http://bbczeitgeist.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/chinese-classical-music.html

      Also its a good way of ingraining fundamental discipline, like maths, theres a certain accuracy and discipline involved with learning music and mastering classical songs.

      Re: Orientalism, I thought his art was only slightly orientalist, but like I said because he has a simple style, it works and does the job. If it was me, I wouldve made it more stylish,ie made the dragon more vicious, the food illustration more flashy, but requirements for commercial art tends to be more safe.

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    4. Why not cello? Why is it always piano and violin?

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    5. Because those two instruments are the ones traditionally associated with showing off their talented children to other FOB parents and typically associated with hi-culture.

      Cello is something they would graduate to after having proven yourself on the violin like yo yo ma or unless you are like wang jian whose dad was a cellist, whilst piano is more showy in a FOB way ie showing cuteness of their child and well practiced obedience and violin is the best way to show virtuoso discipline .

      And the day a FOB parent says to another my son is a better tapdancer than your son, is the day British Chinese will have cultural progress IMO

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    6. Since you guys are going on about Chinese-ness... what actually confined to ur definition of that? Han Chinese or post-modern Chinese,QIPAO/Cheongsam is the cultural clothing derived from Manchus.

      I personally think people shd draw from whatver their artistic desires flow from. art is a very sophisitcated form of expression. each artist is unique.

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    7. To me there's the difference between an artist who happens to be BBC and a BBC who is consciously going out of his way to express his Chinese pride. Though both categories can overlap, here are the distinctions:

      The first :In the example of Jonny Wan, he's just doing it for corporations, who dont really look for anything wild , just standard Chinese stuff, and to his credit, IMO he did a decent job.

      The second - a BBC who consciously expresses his Chinese pride, is taking an element of Chinese artistic influence - history, pop art, and presenting it in a new way, Its arguable whether this could be done by a non-Chinese artist, but if that same progression is made by a BBC that is someone that has done something unique and progressive for Chinese people/society/culture.

      Jonny Wan cannot be considered the second at least with the work he has presented, because whilst they are great to look at and he has artistic flair, he hasnt presented any work ie innovative ideas that is progressively developing and furthering Chinese culture, except embellishing existing graphical concents with his own unique style

      That we live in a modern age, we can argue that everythings been done and theres nothing to progress. Again if you are an artist with a unique eye, that wont be a problem. Also if you are a proud Chinese and unique artist, then cultural progression also wont also be a problem. And with the logistics of strong promotion of your work in place, you should be, by all rights, a success in both areas.

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    8. amy chua is not representative of "FOB" parents raising children... u know there are different parenting styles WITHIN the mainland... She is descended from Chinese Filippinos. V different between other "FOB"s from different Chinese backgrounds. a Chinese malay is different from a Chinese filippino. A Chinese Singaporean is different from a Chinese mainlander from Shanghai, Dongbei, Sichuan etc.

      And I find FOB a very derogatory term. Just as you guys find "Chink". Please do something about the way you refer to my people. Thank you.

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    9. Re FOBS and Amy Chua, view this thread

      http://bbczeitgeist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/wonderland-chinese-tiger-mothers.html

      As explained on the above thread also, FOB is not derogatory, its shorthand for what us western Chinese call non-western Born Chinese. Until someone thinks of a better terminology, that's what we will go by.

      And if you are too lazy to read that thread, I'll say it again here: some BBCs consider themselves are FOBABEE, which means they identify more with FOB culture than British culture.

      And 'Chink' is derogatory towards all Chinese, in case you didnt know.

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  2. The fact he feels the need to 'impress his parents,' I would argue his parents secretly have very little respect for him or his chosen career. They're hardly going to say to their friends, 'Oh my son is a artist, we are so proud of him.'

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  3. Now you hate ART too?

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  4. if you did a survey of British FOB parents how many do you think would have heard of Damien Hirst?

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    1. i think most people don't know damien hirst or Ai wei wei and what they are really about, unless they are into art in a deep way, it doesn't mean you have to like it but understand what they are to trying to do whether successfully or failing or just pretending, which i don't think is the case because there is deep research behind what they do, but you need to know the subject matter and art history, to realise it.

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    2. FOB parents typically take no interest in art and culture whatsoever, not only can they not name any modern artists, but they don't go to art galleries, they don't go to museums etc, nor do they support their own ethnic artists, not even their own children, this is FOB parents attitudes to art.

      What do you think of the BEA artists? From what I've seen they typically make art pieces around the themes of Chinese food, immigration and confused identity. "Oh I'm confused! I'll make an art piece about being confused!" They then marry a white person, yet right, that'll solve their identity problem, I must say.

      In fact, the entire BEA art scene is full of inter racially married, inter racially adopted, gays etc. all the most well known British Chinese artists are FOBs - Anthony Key, Cai Yuan etc. BBCs simply don't challenge. Can anyone name one BBC artist of note?

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    3. Re:BEA and any of those mercenaric hapa artists is a joke.

      I cant name one BBC artist in any media format of note, but its interesting to note whilst only now BBCs are slightly stepping out of the shadows of FOBS, as far as mentality is concerned, all that you said above is the same as their FOB parents when it comes to attitudes towards art. Ie not go to art galleries, museums, support own ethnic artists.

      Re comment someone made earlier about postmodern state of BBCS as taoism. ie nonsense humour and nothingness, I actually have no problem with this but when its expressed as a state of mind of self obsessed hipster twentie-somethings is making out that shallowness is highthinking when it most cases its an excuse for lack of effort.

      For me true art comes from acknowledging the frailties of modernism and destroying it to create a new art, rather than dismissing it as nonsense, because if thats the case, its not offering anything new and as a statement on art is not even valid except to criticize the nature of art itself.

      Also postmodernism is nothing new. Its around with every generation in their 20s, so rather than BBC art being postmodern id say its more a 20something hipster state of mind than anything thats specifically BBC.

      Im also aware that post modern art is never as memorable as the original works that they are mocking as this article says

      'postmodern critics fail to see that just being ironic, different, and having impact isn't enough to make something art. It is enough to make it social commentary, but not necessarily anything more unless you think irony itself if beautiful.'

      http://www.integralworld.net/martin-smith.html

      Im open to criticism on this one. Would like visual examples too.

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  5. Funny thing affluent mainland FOBS are big appreciators of art, recently, but as wait for it... investment purposes LOL.

    http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20120127000016&cid=1202

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  6. On another article, someone was telling me about a BBC girl who made some T-shirts into takeaway box design as a statement on the tao of postmodern BBC-dom, which sounded interesting

    Because art is so looked down on in Chinese culture, because of our survivalist nature creating BBC art could be pioneering. Jonny Wan isnt to me doing anything 'arty' hes basically illustrating menus and dragon pics in a pop-arty way IMO.

    Maybe BBC art in its state of postmodernism has come head to head with modern western culture ie nothingness.

    However I still think the issues in this blog IMO would make great thoughtprovoking art. As usual the more confucian-minded would either be indifferent to it or annoyed by it, but if its executed well, could be very creative.

    If some BBC artist has the talent and intelligence to tackle these issues in the extreme way that they deserve, Id be very interested to see it.

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  7. art related heres bubbzbeautys brothers youtube comedy channel

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAYFfJ8E9z4&feature=relmfu

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    1. That's not art, that's called embarrassing.

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    2. Yeah I know, just wanted to throw that in there under 'BBC culture' desperate that we are...

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  8. Greatest Art Intellectual4 April 2012 at 01:19

    I think Edison Chen is a greatest photographer of broccoli

    LOL

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  9. There's a perfectly valid and respectable reason for FOB parents to instil a "non artist" ideology in their kids - security. Traditionally most who come here aren't exactly of the wealthy and privileged, and in order to make it in this world you have to be USEFUL. Furthmore, as a minority, your role in society is further emphasised depending on what you do - as with all countries, white ones do actually scorn the "artists, poets and hippy types" in, saying they are useless scroungers and destined for a life in poverty. Namely because, for the most part, they are right.

    So if you were a minority leeching off the state, you've just presented yourself as an easy target. Whereas if you were a doctor, well... no-one's going to want to vilify and deport the man who just saved their kid's life, are they?

    Even amongst the rich, pursuing a career in the arts is strewn with obstacles and uncertainty - ask any ethnic Chinese people who have tried to be actors/fashion designers/media - these industries are strewn with inherent racist attitudes.

    Indeed, having a kid pursue the above as a rich parent is one way to lose everything you've worked so hard for. Only those who can sell a product, an idea (and that is rare in the art world) successfully can grow from it. The countless others will just be a leech on society, and family.

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    1. FOB parents don't care what the British white public think of them though, their parental motives are more to do with showing off their offspring to their Chinese friends, as we know that's what chinese parents do, they love to compare their children, oh why can't you be a good son/daughter like Mrs Cheungs daughter who is a doctor etc.

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    2. @AnonymousApr 5, 2012 04:52 PM

      What happens when the child has achieved security and then wants to pursue Art as a hobby? Do FOB parents ever think of more than security? When is security enough? Is there a limit to the amount of houses you can buy?

      Does any FOB appreciate the meaning of art and how it can be interpreted? Do most BBCS for that matter? For those BBCS entering a racist industry do they even question the nature of the industry that they are entering and they will eventually be used for racist purposes or will they just be using it to attain' security'.

      I think theres a whole problem with Chinese mentality and art, and thats why in an age where China is the next superpower its still having a hard time getting selling modern soft power culture films because it doesnt have the intellectual grounding in humanities of the west.

      A culture that doesnt have a grounding in humanities will die. There is room for both.

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    3. @BBCz that Chinese comparison trait amongst Chinese is big obstacle towards artistic development and from a broader angle, Chinese/FOB/BBC ever developing themselves as artists.

      Because of this 'I have you dont have nature' is deeply embedded in the Chinese gene, security will never have an end. Its almost like we are put on this earth to compare ourselves to others, be suspicious of each other, then die handing riches down to the next gen having learnt nothing about life except how hard it is to earn a crust.

      That to me is tragic. A culture/people that bases itself solely on excessive material security as way of self worth to me can only be described as being deeply insecure.

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  10. If you are serious about art it chooses you not the other way round. which is why many want to escape their family and dream on. This is one of the many reasons why BBCs of an artistee temperament or of a rebellious nature want nothing or little to do with their FOB parents which hold on to old traditional values, ironic that FOBs also leave their parents. They may or may not regret it .

    And of course there are tacky sell outs dress-up as high art and after a quick buck which abound in a certain site that named after steamed food.
    Finally IF there is a great BBC artist it is likely it won't be known now, but maybe 50-100 years time, I done my fair bit of research, haven't seen anything by BBCs that strikes me very deeply, but it doesn't mean it ain't interesting nor indicative of something developing.

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    1. BBCS arent typically interested in art because theyve adopted the materialistic nature of FOBS.in this day and age is definately possible so you dont need to abandon cultural roots rather than look at cultural traditions/heritage in a different way.

      Dimsum orientalism is shit obviously because its for a white/hi culture interacially married chinese audience that only gives a crap about white people think but i cant see why BBCS should do something now not 50-100 years if they are inventive enough.

      I wrote an article on culture and technology that hasnt been published yet but that chinese are so engrossed in technology we dont take the arts seriously enough and when we do its as a commodity. it could well be a sign of the modern/postmodern times but to me it would be a shame that art is given up on as a form cultural expression when everything else media related has sold out too.

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    2. what i mean 50-100 yrs time, IF a BBC is a "great" talented artist now, it still will take that time to get its kudos, unless it is backed up by some focused adverting agency like the YBAs did in the 90s, which seem crass and politically shallow now post damien Hirst, and in light of recent global events. Concerning technology, art isn't all abt painting anymore, but could embrace the techno of the moment in conceptually creative ways, the way artists have done in the past with print, oils and video, the difficult bit is saying something. If you subscribe to the postmodern version of art, it is dead long time ago, that were are at an age when we can only imitate the past. look forward in reading your culture/tech essay. I won't diss it, just discussion.

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    3. Okay I get you about the time factor, wasnt sure what you meant. I agree that BBC artists arent promoted enough. Actually come to think of it promotion is a huge thing with art, and all kinds of media, even if an artist it has to be promoted, sponsorship, is the artist saying what the company sponsoring it etc.

      Yeah I know its discussion, I'll try and get it rewritten as it was based on steve jobs and technology so ipad was released so its a bit out of date.

      But yeah, saying something is the challenge. As ever just be hopeful and believe in yourself even when noone else does. Being an artist is a lonely journey. Re FOBS and BBC artists, if more FOBS ( and here im talking Wing Yip level patronage ) recognised value in British Chinese / BBBC cultural progress rather than in more 'security' things arguably wont have been as bad ( our BBC representation etc ) as they are now.

      What this article sums up to me, at least the undertone, is a serious lack of misguidance on behalf of FOB mentality one that BBCs have had to either sellout by taking up FOB values, or becoming white ( ie selling out) but never innovating, because the Chinese cycle that is being perpetuated as we can see from the comments above and many other articles, just doesnt seem to allow it, as far as I can see.Shame.

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  11. Also ive never seen a female BBC who is in an art-related career with an ethnic Chinese husband/partner. That in itself may speak volumes in that if Chinese wont support art, then others will.

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    1. goldie old chicken8 April 2012 at 03:51

      what do you make of this? artististic talent or sell out?

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2126691/No-shy-body-says-BGTs-naked-violist.html

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  12. Seeing asians in the art world reminds me of a conversation I had with an ABC who worked as an architect. He griped that all his clients invariably asked him to design asian elements into their buildings. Nevermind the fact that it really wasnt his area of study.

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  13. I had fun choosing this particular painting online that now hangs in my downtown office, from Wahooart.com, who sells canvas prints of art masterpieces. While the original is treasured in some art museum in England, my print http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/Opra/BRUE-8LHS4U, of this painting by Edward Burne-Jones is very much appreciated by my staff and clients. The print quality is really excellent.

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