Book ends

Artist Hong Zhu An.
Artist Hong Zhu An.PHOTO: ODE TO ART
300 Poetry Of Tang Shi, Song Ci and Yuan Qu.
300 Poetry Of Tang Shi, Song Ci and Yuan Qu.PHOTO: ST FILE
Chinese Ancient Medicine Of Choice (Chinese Edition).
Chinese Ancient Medicine Of Choice (Chinese Edition).PHOTO: AMAZON
Chinese Calligraphy (The Culture & Civilization Of China).
Chinese Calligraphy (The Culture & Civilization Of China). PHOTO: ST FILE

Who: Artist Hong Zhu An, 60.

He won the UOB Painting of the Year Grand Award in 1994 and has since had his works collected by art institutions such as the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Princeton University Museum in New York and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

The Cultural Medallion recipient paints in acrylic and ink and is proficient in Chinese and Western art.

He is married to a 46-year-old housewife and they have a two-year-old daughter.

What are you reading now?

I am reading the Chinese edition of 300 Poetry Of Tang Shi, Song Ci And Yuan Qu.

I like how the different poets have different writing styles. Each poem from the 300 poets turned out so differently. I like to read this book whenever I have time, such as just before going to bed.

I am also reading Chinese Ancient Medicine Of Choice, which is in Chinese.

I have developed a habit of reading academic books.

When I was studying at the Shanghai Art and Craft Institute, I read many history books.

Nowadays, I read all genres of books. I also read magazines, journals and articles to find out how younger artists think and how they critique art.

I try to keep myself up to date with trends. I do read for leisure. Reading allows me to take a break from painting.

What books would you save from a burning house?

I am not proficient in English so I would likely save an English dictionary because without it, I may not understand when others speak to me in English.

Besides that, I would likely save Chinese Calligraphy (The Culture & Civilization Of China). I like the various stories in it and how it helps me understand the arts.

If I could save more than one book, I would save all the books my mentor, Mr Wang Zidou (a famous art scholar), gave me.

He gave me countless books, some of which he authored, and influenced me greatly.

Besides teaching me skills as an artist, he also taught me how to distinguish between good and bad artworks and most of all, how to appreciate art.

•300 Poetry Of Tang Shi, Song Ci and Yuan Qu ($16.50, 2011, Jilin Publishing Group); Chinese Ancient Medicine Of Choice (Chinese Edition) ($141.20, 2007, Traditional Chinese Medicine Press); and Chinese Calligraphy (The Culture & Civilization Of China) ($64, 2008, Yale University Press) are available from Amazon.com.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 09, 2015, with the headline 'Bookends'. Print Edition | Subscribe