Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More Social Media Unavailable

My 28 March 2010 blog entry "What One Cannot See on Flickr in China", I mentioned that I was frustrated by the fact that many of my Flickr images of my paintings and drawings were unavailable to view in China, so I couldn't show my relatives and friends of my endeavors.

While there, I discovered furthermore that many social media were to some degree unavailable. The most challenging one for me personally was the inaccessibility to Facebook. I felt truly isolated then. Below are the screenshots of those unavailable sites:

Facebook - (This link seems broken)

Blogger (Blogging tool based on Google technology)
- (Web page cannot be displayed)

My blogs on Blogger - (Web page cannot be displayed)

Wikipedia search results - (Web page cannot be displayed)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I'm a Winner of ArtSlant's Second 2010 Showcase

I was honored to be chosen as one of the Second 2010 Showcase winners by's juries.

artslant winner Matthew Felix Sun

The winning images will randomly cycle through the showcase window. Below is the screenshot when mine was on display.

Grandma - winner

And on my ArtSlant public profile, one can see in on the "Awards" tab

artslant award grandma

The jurors for this round of competition are:

Els Barents, Director, Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam
Snoozie Hexagon,
Elevator Gallery, London
Michelle Heinz, Director, Frederico Sève Gallery/latincollector, New York
Joey Piziali and Vanessa Blaikie, Co-Owners/Directors, Ping Pong Gallery, San Francisco
Carole A. Stakenas, Executive Director, LACE, Los Angeles

For details about this painting, please visit my Flickr image of "Grandma".

Please visit My ArtSlant profile as well.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Rethinking Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid"

little meraid

Last night, I attended the last performance of San Francisco Ballet’s “The Little Mermaid” of this season.

The Little Mermaid was choreographed by Hamburg Ballett Director and Chief Choreographer John Neumeier, which was a rethinking of of Hans Christian Andersen’s 1836 tale by the same name. It completely discarded the saccharine cobwebs deposited by Disney machine. Instead, it was a stark and even brutal take of the incomprehension between clueless outsiders and oblivious insiders, and the sorrow of unrequited love.

There was a new character - The Poet, who, like his creation the Little Mermaid, was hopelessly in love with his friend/Prince. The characters of the Prince and the Princes were a little opaque and less sympathetic than one expected, which seemed have robbed the pathos and nobility of Little Mermaid and The Poets's love. Their love for The Prince seemed more foolhardy. Perhaps this was precisely the truth of modern time.

There were fantastic performances from five principal dancers - Yuan Yuan Tan (Mermaid), Tiit Helimets (Prince), Sarah Van Patten (Princess), Damian Smith ( Poet) and Davit Karapetyan (Sea Witch). Tan has always been amazing in modern works and this otherworldly creature showcased her talent like no other roles. The moment she discovered her legs was astoundingly virtuoso and her devastation after the wedding and her failed attempt to kill the Prince rended one's heart. Helimets was every bit of a prince, but I was not sure about the golf club and golf ball he was made attached to. In a vague sense, it reminded me of the bow in Swan Lake. But the bow led to his discovery of the Swan Queen yet here, it served as a comic macho bravado and insensitivity. Another sign of modern time? The Princess was neither good nor bad, simply a pale creature. Despite the limitation of the role, Van Patten lend her grace to the stage. As the lovelorn Poet, Damian Smith created a character full of agony and sense of inferiority yet never lost his dignity. Karapetyan was appropriately monstrous and scary.

In the end, he and his creation (The Little Mermaid) found strength in each other and entered a higher plane of spirituality.

The music by Lera Auerbach was vividly colorful. During the intermission, for a brief moment, I thought the musicians in the pit was practicing for Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet.

Incidentally, the bronze statue of the little mermaid was removed from the shore in Copenhagen on March 25, 2010 heading to the Shanghai World Expo.

According to the program, this story of Andersen was very autobiographical. Therefore, this universal love of the Little Mermaid is the evidence of power of the transcendent creation.

Little Mermaid

This ballet was commissioned to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Andersen. The US premiere of it was highly anticipated and extremely well received. Let's hope that San Francisco Ballet will bring it back in the future seasons.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What One Cannot See on Flickr in China

I have been fretting over the fact that my family and relatives in China don't bother to see my portfolio on Flickr for a long while. It turned out that the majority of my Flickr images are blocked by the Chinese information "great wall"!

During my visit to China in the past two weeks, I realized the brutal reality. Below are the comparisons what one sees in China and in the USA:

















Still Life:
still life


Apocalypse Series:
apacolypse series




Live Drawing:
Page 1a:
life drawing 1a


Page 1b:
life drawing 1b


Page 2:
life drawing 2


The capriceness of the censoring is astounding.

Drill down further, one can see the "reason" behind censoring "Dissonance", but why "Red Flowers"? Expecting reason apparently was too much.


Red flowers

It was during my staying in China, that Google moved its Chinese business from mainland to Hong Kong.

There were many comments regarding Google's move. The gist of a very interesting comments was like this: on the information high speed train, a passenger (Google) disobeyed the rules and was kicked off the train. The rest passengers need to follow the regulations and close the curtains, refrain from viewing the landscape. Next stop: Pyongyang.

Many pro and con comments can be viewed at:, which is a fascinating read.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Up in the Air" and Milling about in the Airport

I just got off the long flight from Los Angeles to Seoul (Incheon to be more precise). It was a long flight. After a reasonably long and deep sleep, I had breakfast while watched movie "Up in the air". It was a rather brutal depiction of the life of an empty person. It was perfectly fitting to watch it on the plane. I didn't bother with earphone and watched the Chinese subtitle. Since I'm not a big fan of George Clooney, therefore I don't feel have missed anything.

Icheon International Airport is first rate, and it tried to be nice - there are exhibitions of artifacts of ancient Korea, paintings of old court life, etc. - nice diversions.






Yet, it is still a sad place during the early hours. I landed around 6 am local time. It is 9 am now, and the place still had the subdue atmosphere as if all the oxygen has been sucked out of the enclosed structure.

If there is an purgatory, it must looks like an airport, a large one.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

eclec·ti·cism at Worth Rider Gallery, Koreber Hall, University of California Berkeley

Yesterday, a group art exhibit - eclec·ti·cism opened in the Worth Rider Gallery in Kroeber Hall, University of California Berkeley.


This show was truly eclectic, showcasing art works by students in multiple disciplinary fields, from art, engineering and science. There were many fascinating works to savor. The most exciting aspect was realizing that these wonderful works were the creations of the young adults at the opening. Naturally, not all efforts achieved same impact. A video piece felt empty. A performance piece felt very dated, even though the artist was working hard to carry concrete building blocks around, stacking and unstacking endlessly, right in front of me.

Below are a sample of the works I liked:







And finally my favorite - a triptych by Ariel Ruby, which struck a very good balance of idea and execution: