Trunks For The Memories
As the work progressed, Li’s appealing photos of Wang Yue at work and OF her work soon began to spread virally on SINA Weibo, China’s leading online social networking service. A huge boost occurred when well-known actress and “Weibo Queen” re-posted some of the images from Li’s Weibo page, dubbing them “the world of the tree hole paintings.”
At this point China’s mainstream media picked up the story and Wang Yue soon found herself and her artwork on local and national television, followed by illustrated mentions in mainstream media venues worldwide. Meanwhile, crowds began to assemble back in Shijiazhuang when Wang Yue would set up her “studio” at a yet-unpainted candidate tree.
Although the vast majority of comments on Wang Yue’s paintings have been of the complimentary type, there were occasional rumblings of concern for the status of the painted trees. Most permanent paints contain harsh chemical dyes, penetrating oils and even heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. When a local reporter posed the question directly, Wang Yue and Li Yue referred her to the Shijiangzhuang Bureau of Landscape and Forestry… as the pair had previously specified they would be using non-toxic paints, the Bureau confirmed to the reporter that neither the paints nor the paintings will cause any harm to the subject trees.
Alas, Wang Yue’s admirable attention to the welfare of Shijiazhuang’s trees has a downside in that her exquisite artworks are water-based, not oil-based, and are therefore impermanent. In fact, stated Wang Yue, they may begin to deteriorate almost immediately after completion at a rate dependent upon local weather conditions and levels of air pollution. As no preservative efforts are planned beyond the end date of the project in mid-March, the paintings eventually be completely washed away by the area’s usual summer rains.
(image via: Jinghua)
Wang Yue is philosophical about the fate of her artwork, however, stating “However long they might last, so long as they have once been there, their beauty, though short-lived, will last forever.”