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Behind the outrageous green dogs

SOME people fervently love Zhou Chunya's works and the green German Shepherd dogs he creates on canvas and in sculpture, while some feel sick to their stomach to see the unnatural colors.

He also paints scarlet mountains, red-and-black interlocked human bodies and ruby-red peaches.

Love him or hate him, the works are memorable and among the most expensive on the contemporary art scene.

He started with a series of green dogs with red tongues, red bellies and genitals, the lines are harsh and feeling is fierce.

He used his beloved German Shepherd as a model (the dog was later poisoned).

He uses unlikely colors - red to cover delicate Chinese peaches painted in traditional style and crimson to coat the rocks of a classical landscape.

Swinging between tradition and defiance, Zhou enjoys the process and the tensions.

"I have always preferred bright colors and enjoyed visual stimulation, this is in my nature," Zhou says.

Born in Chongqing in 1955, Zhou entered an art school at 15 "because I wanted to eat meat."

The school fed the students well.

After graduating from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, he and other Sichuan artists joined the New Wave art movement in the early 1980s.

They experimented with personal expression, as opposed to traditional realism, and sometimes used Western techniques.

Whether they're rocks, peaches, blossoms or dogs, the works of dark expression are infused with fierce feelings and powerful colors - contrasting with the traditional expectations about rendering such subjects.

Zhou says he lets his mind flow "unbridled" and through his extraordinary brushwork, lines and strong sense of colors, he delivers powerful, energetic work. At the same time he shows cultural sensitivity that reflects the impact of traditional values on contemporary art.

"I don't want a pure life, sometimes contradictions are interesting," he says. "I prefer the feeling of being on the road, encountering my pains one after another."


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