Walking into Kuan-hsin Kuo's Imagination

Written by Kuei, Wenya, Editor-in-Chief of UDN's Publishing Unit

July, 2006

The memory of that summer is like a dream.

My vision is drawn to some paintings that have a very unique composition and a curious blend of melancholy and joy. They affect my senses like a mysterious smell of flowers on the wind. I wonder who the artist is. In order to find the answer I walk slowly and look at the paintings several times. Yes, there is an answer. She must be a miraculous angel fanning a pair of crystal wings as she flies through a beguiling universe. She is as quiet as a cat and as fast as a sparrow. She creates a painting out of a sky of stars. Be patient and she will show you many fairytales and lead you into a world of beauty and dreams.

As a publisher of children's books for many years, my experience and intuition tell me that however time goes by the artist will always be searching for her beautiful fairy castles with her innocent eyes.

My friendship with Kuan-hsin Kuo began in 2001 when I fell in love with one of her paintings and decided to collect it. The painting is called "The Cat's Mysterious Meeting with a Seashell on the Beach". After meeting Kuan-hsin I invited her to illustrate three books for children. Later she joined Fifi Bookstore's art class as an art teacher for children. During the five years I have known her, we have moved from being strangers to becoming close friends.

Kuan-hsin is an adorable artist. She puts her whole heart into teaching and painting. She is always original and never follows the mainstream. Whenever we have time to meet, we never run out of things to talk about. Rarely have I met such a humble, peaceful, kind and generous person. I love to see her. It is as if the spring breeze follows her and you wish to follow in her footsteps to share in the world of her imagination.

The elements in Kuan-hsin's paintings are drawn not only from fairytales but also from Greek and Roman mythology. There are always details within details. Imagination plays an important role in creating narrative within her artwork. She is mesmerized by beautiful, curving lines, which she displays in the stems of flowers, the trunks of trees, the mist in the mountains, the waves in the ocean and in her depiction of trembling souls. Kuan-hsin cherishes the curving path of life with all its ups and downs and light always follows dark in her art.

It takes time to read Kuan-hsin's work:

* A curved snake on a column in a deep-sea looks at mermaids who are nursing some fish. The fish are sleeping in warmth and love. Is this a homeland of the mind?

* Cats sit in a cupboard, on a window, and stand by a table. What will happen to them in the night?

* Is it a muse or a devil appearing in the purple light? What is the man sitting on the table reading about?

* Are that table, chair, bowl, plate, banana and orange on that cloud part of a crazy party?

* The lion asks the angel: Can there be a balance of wisdom and power at the same time?

Kuan-hsin's paintings possess a force of beauty. This beauty is the beauty of a child. It is the beauty of an adult returning to the innocence of childhood. This beauty is formed in the memory of our dreams.