One word, one scene, drawing city memories

  Open the album “Word Painting Wuhan” and use your mobile phone to gently sweep the “Yellow Crane Tower”. With the unique Wuhan dialect, a yellow crane will dance on the book and spread its wings into the clouds. The landmark Chinese characters “live” under the AR technology were created by the team of Xu Zhengbing, a teacher of Wuhan Institute of Industry and Commerce. He drew the cultural landmarks and customs of Wuhan into Chinese characters, and brought the city’s memory to life. Not long ago, Xu Zhengbing’s team’s “word painting” project also received an angel round of financing of 5 million yuan led by Wuhan Science and Technology Angel Fund and Chuangxinghui Fund.
  This is not the first time Xu Zhengbing has started a business. As early as 2006, after graduating from Hubei University of Economics in art and design, he co-founded a film and television animation company, engaged in professional design and art training, and participated in “Blue Cat Naughty Three Thousand Behind the scenes of the cartoons such as “Questions”, “Bears” and “Art’s Fantasy Journey”.
  In 2009, Xu Zhengbing had one more identity-the teacher of the art design department of the Art and Design School of Wuhan Institute of Business, and began to travel between the school and the company. When he went out for a trip, Xu Zhengbing saw a postcard depicting the scenic spots of the ancient town by hand. The tourists liked it and sold it very well. The hand-painted style inspired Xu Zhengbing, but he felt that such a design was too homogenous, and he wondered whether he could design a set of hand-painted brands with strong regional symbols. At that time, he was in a trough of his career in his fourth year of entrepreneurship.
  Coincidentally, once a student turned in the work of filling patterns with Chinese characters strokes, which inspired Xu Zhengbing’s creative inspiration, hand-painting the city’s landmark Chinese characters, and depicting the city’s memory, does it not meet the original pursuit? With more than ten years of professional experience, Xu Zhengbing judged that the innovation of “character painting” will surely win market recognition.
  In November 2014, Xu Zhengbing incorporated the innovative design concept of “hand-painting” into the design classroom, and gave students an extra-curricular assignment: expressing Wuhan with hand-painted Chinese characters. Next, Xu Zhengbing raised his own funds and took a team of twelve students to use his spare time to start creating.
  The Yellow Crane Tower, Tan Hualin, Guiyuan Temple, Hubu Alley…The team members traveled through the three towns of Wuhan to observe the “sweeping street” of the 34 landmark buildings selected, including the history, current situation, and anecdotes of the streets, Then organize these contents into paintings and fill them into the outlined Chinese characters according to the glyphs. Eventually, the characters and scenes drawn by animation, Chinese painting, etc. became a valuable urban memory. These paintings were named “word painting Wuhan”.
  For more than two years, the calligraphy team has measured every inch of the street scene in Jiangcheng with footsteps, and will scatter the humanistic history scattered in the streets and alleys, and outline the Chinese characters in the pen. Xu Zhengbing, who was devoted to the creation of “Word Painting Wuhan”, was not understood at first. The long-term repetitive creation even caused the team members to question Xu Zhengbing.
  The students asked Xu Zhengbing what is the use of this, not only the students, but also the peers. In their view, the creation of the whole form of calligraphy and painting has limited aesthetic value. Although all parties have doubts, Xu Zhengbing still firmly believes in “word painting”: the work integrates into the humanities of the city, has the most real memory, and can touch people’s hearts.
  Xu Zhengbing said: “Urban memories need to discover innovation, each city has its own unique regional symbols, and the city of words and paintings is a city travel guide.”
  After four years, “word painting of Wuhan” was officially published in 2017, the first print 3,000 copies sold out as soon as they were listed. At the same time, “Character Painting Wuhan” was listed as one of the major innovations in Wuhan’s design industry in 2017. Subsequently, “Character Painting Shanghai” and “Character Painting Taiwan” were published one after another.
  In March 2018, the team of Guan Shanjue led by Xu Zhengbing officially entered the cultural noble community of Wuhan, Creative World, and launched the “Character Painting China” version 2.0 and the Chinese character library in July.
  Regardless of whether it is “character-painted Wuhan” or “character-painted China”, Xu Zhengbing adheres to the concept of “character-by-character, paint city memories” and appeals to everyone to pay attention to their cities and travel in their cities.