Mon, Jul 02, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Pingtung artist paints houses with people’s dreams

By Chiu Chih-jou and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Artist Lin Yu-wei poses by one of his murals in Pingtung County’s Jhutian Township on Thursday.

Photo: Chiu Chih-jou, Taipei Times

People wandering around Futian Village (福田) in Pingtung County’s Jhutian Township (竹田) might notice the murals on the homes, each of which has a different theme.

The artist, 20-year-old Lin Yu-wei (林育緯), said he was given the opportunity by Futian Village Warden Fu Min-hsiung (傅民雄).

“I have always had a penchant for drawing,” Lin said, adding that at school, he would often doodle in his textbooks while his classmates were busily scribbling notes.

Lin speaks fluently, but has trouble reading, said his mother, who declined to be named.

“While it was difficult for him to grasp the meaning of the text, he could easily tell you a story from a drawing,” she said.

That caused him great difficulty at school, where he was often bullied by classmates and considered a thorn in the side by teachers, she said.

She said she was once called to the school, where one of the teachers told her: “Your son is nothing but a troublemaker.”

“That was never how I saw him,” she said, adding that as a single mother raising two children, she was busy earning enough money to keep the family afloat.

As long as her children’s behavior was not criminal, she left them free to do as they pleased, she said.

However, his experiences at school took a toll on Lin’s self-confidence and he became increasingly reclusive and withdrawn, she said.

His homeroom teacher noticed this trend and after talking to him learned that his attitude was not due to recalcitrance or laziness, but because of wrong learning methods, Lin’s mother said.

Lin visited a tattoo parlor when he was in junior-high school, which incidentally became his introduction to the world of tattooing and design, he said, adding that the tattoo artist, after seeing his interest in drawing, offered to buy his designs.

Lin said he walked into the parlor to have the name of his deceased father tattooed on his back.

“I have always believed that he never left and is with me always,” he said.

Lin’s family freed up a warehouse for him to turn into a workshop, so that he could turn all his attention to artistic creation. That drew the attention of Fu, who discovered his talent and encouraged him to use it to for the benefit of the community.

After discussing with neighborhood residents, Lin painted their walls with their most beloved memories and motives.

“One of the neighbors likes images of fish and birds, and another missed their hometown in Kinmen,” Lin said, adding he painted his own house with carps and lotus flowers, for his mother and father, respectively.

Pointing to his tattoos, Lin said that, aside from the name of his father on his back, they are all of his own creation.

The words “Never give up” on his chest are a reminder to himself, he said.

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