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An accidental style

By Zhao Ruixue and Ju Chuanjiang (China Daily)

09:23, May 15, 2012

Han Fang's Naughty Children series is popular among collectors. His works are characterized by an exaggerated style which makes his clay characters comic, almost grotesque. (Photo/China Daily)

Han Fang's clay creations are the results of serendipity. Zhao Ruixue and Ju Chuanjiang tell us more about this Shandong ceramic sculptor.

He had dropped a clay sculpture he had almost completed, and that accident changed his artistic direction forever. That marked the turning point for Han Fang, and gave him a signature style that would propel him into the limelight.

The Shandong artist's works are characterized by an exaggerated style which makes his clay characters comic, almost grotesque. For this reason, his works are often described as "caricature-style" clay sculptures.

They celebrate individual character and physical features, and his male figures boast large feet, hands and lips while his female figures are buxom images with plump breasts and barrel hips.

It was not always that way. Han, 40, says the crucial change came in 2003.

"I was working on the finishing touches to the head of a clay figure. I had almost completed it when it slipped and fell from my hands. It struck the ground and I thought it would be out of shape."

Han picked it up, and to his surprise, he saw that the facial features were still intact, but they had become exaggerated - and in a way that he liked very much. It was exactly what he had been looking for.

That little bit of serendipity changed his life.

In 2000, Han was still a businessman in Jinan, the Shandong capital. He was running an advertising agency with an annual turnover of about 300,000 yuan ($47,640). But he shifted his career path after a trip to Henan province in 2002 and saw the porcelain products on sale in Yuzhou.

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