Updated: 2011-11-04 11:48
By Brian Salter (China Daily European Weekly)
Expat artist taps into technology to capture special memories of monuments
Her pictures can be found as far afield as the United States and Canada, Europe, the Middle East, South Africa and Southeast Asia. Now artist Angi (real name Agnes Nadkarni) is starting to carve out a name for herself in China, having recently been the featured artist of the month at the HongYi Gallery in the Sanlitun area of Beijing.
Born of Hungarian and German parents, she has lived in Germany, Hungary, Dubai and China, the latter for a total of nearly five years - first in Shanghai and more recently in Beijing.
"Some of my Chinese friends had difficulty pronouncing 'Agnes', and as more and more of them started to call me Angi the name somehow stuck, to the point where I now introduce myself as that," she explains.
"I can remember when I was about 4 years old, sitting at home by the open window, waiting for my mother to return from the shops. I used to amuse myself by drawing people dancing and ice skating," Nadkarni says. "I must have drawn hundreds of such pictures - always people, never buildings, which don't have the flexible curves that people have."
Following her studies in both Budapest and the Nrnberg College of Graphic Design, where she specialized in illustration work, her early paid work involved book illustrations, artwork for websites and creating advertising materials for companies such as Volkswagen. But her life changed in dramatic fashion when her husband, who works for German company Siemens, was posted to work in Shanghai in 1999.
"I spent a wonderful three years there," Nadkarni recalls, "and loved the buzz of the city; the fashion - Shanghai women pay such attention to detail with their outfits and can look stunning and very feminine.
"There is also the juxtaposition of old and new, even the mix of ages - in the discos, for instance, you would see teenagers and old people sharing the same dance floor. Fantastic!
"We all had such an amazing adventure that I felt I had to write about it, not least for my children Swen and Anita, so they would not forget their experiences there."
Swen's Adventures in China was Nadkarni's first book, for which she also drew a number of illustrations of Shanghai street scenes. It was published in Germany and a bilingual German-English version is currently in production for use in language lessons in German schools.
"It was my very first experience of living and working among Chinese people whom I found to be warm, open minded and friendly to foreigners," she continues, "and I just knew I would want to return again and again."
But fate had other plans for her. On their return to Germany, Nadkarni signed up for some advanced computer graphics courses, in order to explore many of the new techniques that were being introduced by the software companies.