Elizabeth Briel, Travel Artist


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China

Everything’s Bigger in China

These days, the gigantic monuments and boulevards and ambitions of Beijing make the news every week. "Isn't it amazing what a totalitarian government can do?" rave conservative Western pundits. "The Chinese government decides to do something" – build a dam, knock down …

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Leaving For A While

 A gallery entrance in Beijing's 798 arts district Next weekend, I'm leaving Beijing for a while. For nearly two months I'll be filming as I retrace the route I took when researching paper in Southeast Asia, and finalize the last steps of the handmade version of my book. …

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Chinese Propaganda Grows on Trees

As China's influence grows, so does the desire to assert its power. Recent discord with Japan over the uninhabited-yet-strategic Senkaku Islands (in Chinese, Diaoyu Islands) became an excuse for nationalism at home – and abroad: a Chinese entrepreneur placed an ad in the New York Times, …

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Alien Vehicle Mystifies Hipsters in Beijing

Or, the streetside scene at Tavalin Bagels in Sanlitun, Beijing You too can buy an "E-Egg" electric 'car' for under US$1,500 at Beijing Riders' online shop

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The Past Is Another Country

I look for raw art materials everywhere: in art stores and galleries, and even markets. Since moving to Beijing, I've been experimenting with a local specialty: tofu skin from wet markets. It's a cream-colored blank canvas for ideas. I'm an artist who lives where …

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Once Upon a Time

There's nothing like a good story. Even if you can only understand a word or two of it. For example, we ran into this guy during Chinese New Year. His fake queue and fancy outfit attracted our attention. "Twenty kuai …

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Dirty hands make great art

You wouldn't think of an outdoor market as a good place to buy art supplies, but for contemporary artists, anything is game – from elephant poo to diamonds. In China, even a trip to the market can be an inspiration. …

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the Winter Blues

Cyanotype experiment on tofu skin, 2012 Recent trials on ephemeral materials, printed on short and chilly northern days. They prove you don't need warm summer sun to make them. But I miss days as long as nights, damp skin on …

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School Days

Everywhere you go, you'll find that we're all more similar than different. Meeting these students at the Thangka Painting Academy in Shangri-la was a reminder that their experiences are taking them on the uncertain path I once chose. They're not …

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Searching for Treasure in Shangri-la

When I moved to China this year, I had a few goals. One was to find treasure. Or more precisely, the people who make it. The Scholars' Four Treasures (paper, ink, inkstones, and paintbrushes) are a foundation of China's arts …

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