Hair as art

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By HANJUNHONG in Jilin andHOULIQIANG in Bei­jing Con­tact the writers at houliqiang@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

A hair stylist in North­east China has found a novel way of us­ing all that clipped hair— by mak­ing art of it.

A hair stylist in north­east­ern China has found a novel way of us­ing all that hair— by mak­ing art.

Wang Xiao­jiu started work­ing as a barber 16 years ago, but he didn’t hit upon his idea un­til late last year when he de­cided to write out 2015 and his nick­name, “Xiao­jiu” (Lit­tle Nine), with hair from the floor of his shop.

Pho­to­graphs of the art­work he up­loaded to WeChat, the so­cial me­dia app, re­ceived such a warm re­sponse from his friends that he made an­other pic­ture of amon­key to mark the Chi­nese Lu­nar New Year.

“From then on, I fell in love with the art,” Wang said at Xiaohe Bar­ber­shop in Jilin, in Jilin prov­ince. To demon­strate his point, he used a small card and a brush to form the Chi­nese char­ac­ters for China Daily on the floor.

Us­ing only hair, he has cre­ated por­traits of kung fu star Bruce Lee as well as fic­tional char­ac­ters such as Iron Man, the Mon­key King, Sakuragi Hanamichi and SailorMoon.

“It takes me two to three hours to fin­ish a por­trait,” he said. “The most dif­fi­cult part is the del­i­cate lines, which can only be done with a small brush. “You have to keep all the doors and win­dows closed to pre­vent a breeze from dis­turb­ing the hair.”

Many ad­mir­ers of his work are sur­prised to find­Wang has no for­mal art train­ing.

“I never learned how to paint, and I only used to like art when I was a boy,” he said. “My in­ter­est in mak­ing pic­tures out of hair started re­cently. I’ve only com­pleted about seven pic­tures.”

Other than the pho­to­graphs he up­loads, Wang keeps no record of his work. He destroys all his de­signs.

“Some friends have sug­gested that I should glue the hair down, but I just like them on the ground. I like my job, and mak­ing things out of hair makes me like my job even more,” he said.

“Ev­ery time be­fore I de­stroy a pic­ture, I get a lit­tle bit sad. But at the mo­ment of de­struc­tion, I be­gin to en­joy it.”

Wang, who one col­league said is con­sid­ered the best worker at Xiaohe Bar­ber­shop, said he will con­tinue to cre­ate art­work out of hair, but only as a hobby -- his real pas­sion is for cut­ting it.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Barber Wang Xiao­jiu with some of his por­traits, which he makes us­ing his cus­tomers’ hair, at Xiaohe Bar­ber­shop in the city of Jilin in Jilin prov­ince, North­east China.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY / DING LUYANG

One of Wang Xiao­jiu’s fa­vorite por­traits.

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