Calvin Lee Grand Opening music Lisa Dancing Light
Calvin Lee was born in San Francisco Chinatown on February 5, 1947. Calvin is a self taught artist and Chinese calligrapher. In 1989 he went to China with his parents to find each of the houses in which his mother and father were born and raised until they came to America in the 1930’s. While in China, Calvin bought a calligraphy set of brushes and ink. For the next ten years he dabbled with calligraphy, once in a while giving away his work as birthday or Christmas presents. In November of 2000, Calvin brought some photographs and four pieces of his calligraphy to a shop in Carbondale, Colorado to be framed. The framer was also an artist and art gallery owner, who immediately recognized the artistic quality of the calligraphy. Six months later, Calvin was asked to create a mountain scene and so started to paint in watercolor and oil. Calvin has been represented by the Creator Mundi Gallery in Cherry Creek, the Lucas Gallery in Telluride, the Artist Mercantile in Glenwood Springs, the Flying Crane in Frisco, the Aspen Leaf Fine Art Gallery in Carbondale, the Metaphor Gallery in Aspen and the Neil Loeb Gallery in Park City. And most recently was one of the juried artists at the En Plein Art Festival in Aspen.
Calligraphy is the highest art form in China. Calligraphy has its origins as far back as 4000 B.C. It started out as a means of communication and record keeping. The calligraphy was carved into bronze or stone, making for rigid and stilt-like characters. The invention of paper, brushes and ink allowed calligraphers to become expressive artists. The excellence of a piece of calligraphy is judged by whether or not it has chi. The word chi means vitality or spirit. A fine piece of calligraphy must emanate rhythmic vitality and resonance of spirit. This is done by skillful manipulation of the brush, and in Calvin Lee’s work, by making the brush dance across the paper. The rich blackness of the burnt pine soot ink, the dancing brush strokes and space consciousness of Calvin’s work creates stunning compositions which resonate spirit and vitality.
Some of Calvin’s work are single characters like Kokoro, which means heart, and Loong Maa, which means dragon. The character in Kokoro appears to beat like a heart on the paper. In Loong Maa, the viewer sees both a dragon and, if familiar with the Chinese character for dragon, the strokes for the character for dragon.
Other works of Calvin consist of multiple characters and are Chinese translations of his original poetry. In the work entitled “in age grownups weep, in play children leap”, Calvin has taken an excerpt from his poem “in play children leap” and translated it into Chinese characters. Lee then created a work of calligraphy in which it appears that the characters are leaping. In his work Serving Donuts In Another Universe, the circle in the piece represents both the universe and a donut and the calligraphy in the work is done in a mad grass , other worldly style, which have the appearance of exploding supernova.
Calvin’s mountain scenes are works depicting sacred mountains like Mount Fuji and scenes of struggle and pilgrimage. Lee draws his inspiration from having climbed all of the mountains in Colorado over 14,000 feet above sea level and mountains in Wyoming, Washington, Japan, Nepal, Mongolia, and South America.
Also in Calvin’s portfolio are nudes, portraits, still lifes and landscapes. Calvin often incorporates calligraphic strokes in his art work.
And Calvin continues to create works of social and political commentary.
Lisa Dancing-Light is a performance artist, singer-pianist and composer with four recordings to her credit. POINT OF BALANCE features Grammy winner Ernie Watts on the title cut, SOPHIA SONGS, LIGHT YEARS and her latest single release THE SONG OF LOVE being hailed as “An Anthem for Humanity.” Her music celebrates the spiritual journey of self-discovery and the sacred beauty of the Rocky Mountains she calls home.
Lisa’s musical journey began in Kansas City in a home filled with the sounds of Cole Porter and George Gershwin. “My parents loved music and my mother played in a dance band in the 30’s.” Lisa began her study of piano at the age of eight and four years later was invited to attend Kansas City’s famed Conservatory of Music. By high school she was on her way to becoming a teacher and graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Music Education.
Her childhood memories of family vacations in Colorado called her back. She returned in 1970 beginning a lifelong love connection with nature and to the mountains that sing to her. Lisa has been a featured artist in many environmental concerts including the World Balance Symposium, Sierra Club Benefits, Steps to Awareness Festival and Women’s Congress for Future Generations and she has opened for jazz pianist Peter Kater and shared the stage with Grammy Award winner Ernie Watts.
“The Picture of Dorian Gray” was written by Oscar Wilde. In the book, Dorian Gray is the subject of a portrait in oil by Basil Hallward, an artist who is infatuated by Dorian’s beauty. Through Basil, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, and he soon is enthralled by the aristocrat’s hedonistic worldview that beauty and sensual fulfilment are the only things worth pursuing in life. Fearful that his beauty will fade, Dorian sells his soul to ensure that the picture, rather than he, will age and fade. Dorian pursues a libertine life of amoral experiences, including murder, while staying young and beautiful. Meanwhile his portrait ages and records every sin.