The Hip-Pop SIGNBOARD CARVER • Craftsman hows How to Make • George Town • MALAYSIA

Master Lee is a wood carver. He creates Chinese signboards and modern art by mixing old traditions with modern methods.

 

The Hip-Pop SIGNBOARD CARVER • Craftsman Shows How to Make • George Town • MALAYSIA-16

“My name is Lee Chee Cheng. I’m a woodcarver. I love art. I can release some pressure. When you carve up the thing, then you feel very satisfied.”

The Hip-Pop SIGNBOARD CARVER • Craftsman Shows How to Make • George Town • MALAYSIA-11

Creating a signboard involves several steps. To start off, Mr. Lee chooses the wood and prepares it by spraying a coat of paint. After the wood, Master Lee prepares the Chinese calligraphy. He uses several modern tools to speed up the process but still about 90% has to be done by hand – working with the chisel and sandpaper. “We need fast. If you go slow, you can’t make money.”

 

The Hip-Pop SIGNBOARD CARVER • Craftsman Shows How to Make • George Town • MALAYSIA-4

Signboards are almost always painted in red or black color. That’s because with yellow or green boards, the Chinese letters won’t be visible when – later – they are filled with gold leaf. This particular board is a family signboard but Mr. Lee has also done some modern art collaborations, for example with the street artist, Ernest Zacharevic.

The Hip-Pop SIGNBOARD CARVER • Craftsman Shows How to Make • George Town • MALAYSIA-22

“A person who doesn’t understand carving, the might say, ‘This is olden day’, says Master Lee” ” There are still customers looking for this kind of art. I’m a mixture of olden day and modern day.”

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