English in Chinese Script 篆体英文
Invented by Shen Pei
Recently, Ambassador Qing Gang came to Minnesota to visit Center for Chinese Service. He watched me write down my own invention “Seal Script English”. He was very intrigued and said to me “You should file a patent for it.” When news of this was published in the papers, it had a great effect. Some were supportive. Others were curious and asked “You are a professional dancer. How did you get involved in inventing your own calligraphy?”
Well, in fact if we look at my reasonings from the beginning, it actually does have to do with my dance profession.
Since I began studying calligraphy in 2007, a lot of my American friends liked what they saw. They often looked at the calligraphy from head to toe and said “If you could think of a way for us to understand it while looking at it, that would be great.” While I said that I’ll try and thought to myself that it would be impossible, in reality, their passionate expectations were buried deep in my subconscious.
One time, at a talk about dance innovations, I said “We should look for the converging point of Chinese and Western culture at the source of human culture” and that “Nothing is set in stone. It all comes together from a lot of different parts. When we arrange different parts together using new rules, we can often create unexpected new things.” As I was saying these, a lightbulb suddenly turned on in my head.
Does the same rule apply when it comes to the fusion of Chinese and Western calligraphy? Aren’t Chinese characters also made using many different shaped symbols as elements! Could I use the ancient Seal Script’s structure as a starting point and simply replace those symbols with Romanized letters?
Who could’ve known the flood gates this one simple idea would open! I would think about various different combinations of letters every day. Often times I would think of a word at night and rush out of bed to write it down. I worked on this for the better half of a year and finally showcased my newly invented Seal Script English Calligraphy during “Wishes for the Sky”. (A funny story during this time is that when I brought my calligraphy to get framed, the shopkeeper said to me “You know, I specialize in Seal Script. How come I can’t recognize a single seal script you wrote?”) It was so well received. Everyone said “This original invention is so interesting!” Regardless of Chinese or American, they all liked it. It has been showcased multiple times now, but I am still perfecting it. I liked the raw feeling of Seal Scripts at first. Now I add that creative process to it. What joy!
Click here to see a PPT and learn more.