From math to doo­dles

Com­mer­cial artist har­nesses in­sight, imag­i­na­tion and in­spi­ra­tion

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ART YEE for China Daily

When Gao You­jun grad­u­ated from the School of Math­e­mat­ics at Shang­hai Jiao Tong Uni­ver­sity in 1989, he de­cided to pur­sue his dream of draw­ing by com­plet­ing a ma­jor in de­sign at the Academy of Arts & De­sign, Ts­inghua Uni­ver­sity.

After that, he en­tered the pros­per­ous ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try, when al­most ev­ery ad­vertiser was fairly en­thu­si­as­tic and elo­quent.

Gao’s style was al­ways de­lib­er­ate and he pre­sented his free­hand sto­ries — which are lively and in­tu­itive, and more than just beau­ti­ful words — in a soft voice. It was dur­ing th­ese years that he be­gan to en­joy draw­ing in his spare time us­ing his pen-name, Tango, which is now more rec­og­nized than that of Gao.

A good ad­vert is e r re­quires a creative mind. Luck­ily, his al­ter-ego Tango helps Gao har­ness ex­tra­or­di­nary in­sight, imag­i­na­tion and end­less in­spi­ra­tion.

At the end of 2010, Tango up­loaded an ex­tremely whim­si­cal doo­dle, “How Does An Ele­phant Pick His Nose”, on Chi­nese so­cial me­dia Weibo. After this ini­tial up­load, Tango con­tin­ued to up­load one draw­ing each day for more than three years.

It is Tango’s dream to draw non-business comics with which he can help oth­ers and him­self. He hopes such draw­ings can act as an es­cape for ur­ban­ites that suf­fer from the pres­sure of life and work, al­low­ing them to feel the beauty of the world.

The works, col­lec­tively known as “A Doo­dle A Day”, most of­ten ex­em­plify his funny and in­spir­ing ideas, but some­times in­clude barely sat­is­fac­tory works, which he strug­gled to cre­ate for fans wait­ing un­til late at night. Start­ing from an un­known and lonely ad­vertiser who drew only for him­self, Tango has be­come a comic celebrity on Weibo who shares his laugh­ter and en­ergy with the world.

Thus far, he has com­pleted more than 1,200 draw­ings, thanks to his per­sis­tent work to en­ter­tain oth­ers and him­self. Last year, his first comic book, “Sleep­less”, was pub­lished, con­tain­ing a se­lec­tion of his comic draw­ings from the past three years.

Tango’s doo­dles have a sim­ple, flu­ent and funny style. His hu­mor is ob­vi­ous even with­out words and think­ing. Ev­ery­thing he draws has its own ex­pres­sion. Even air has a shape and a piece of bread can be a pro­tag­o­nist.

“We should seek the joy and sur­prise in our daily life,” he said. “No mat­ter how small we are and how frus­trat­ing life is, we shall en­deavor to feel ‘alive’.”

A hu­man be­ing’s ex­is­tence is a lonely ex­is­tence. I am not alone at all, yet I am lonely. I make the im­pos­si­ble pos­si­ble in my dreams. Draw­ing snap­shots and frag­ments of mem­ory, and post­ing them on­line, I find oth­ers with a sim­i­lar spirit and mind. I fi­nally re­al­ize I am not the only one who feels lonely, but lone­li­ness is one of the birth­marks of hu­man­ity. A doo­dle a day, time ex­plains how it gains. Un­remit­ting ef­forts make the mean­ing­less mean­ing­ful in the end.”


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