I first met Huzi at his hybrid store/workshop/drinking hole across from Mesa/Manifesto on Julu Road. He was slumped on one of those wooden stools that barely exceed ground-level; so low that they're more qualified as squat supports than a proper seat. He wore a boxy Chinese jacket made with coarse material and matching trousers. The consummate Northerner, he was a friendly bargainer, a long-winded conversationalist, and an avid drinker -- he kept a stash of cheap liquor in the corner. His face wore a crooked smile and thick black glasses that showed off the quirky squint of his eyes.
Huzi : untitled detail (2008), ink drawing
When he offered me a business card I accepted, then waited while he produced it...literally. After making an ink illustration on a piece of scrap leather, he used clear nail polish to seal it. On it was his name in an outdated form of pinyin and the shop's phone number. No mention of an address or what I might call him about, though admittedly it's hard to forget someone with a leather calling card.
Huzi : leather calling card (2008) 7 x 4 cm
The last time I saw Huzi, he was huddled against the wall at a recent gallery reception, seemingly laughing at the jokes in his head.
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