In its simplified form the characters for 阴阳 — “yin/yang” can fit quite nicely together. With certain effort one of them can be written on black paper in white ink, making it a very graphical representation of the duality principle they embody.
shufagraphy #10 ANGER
The common phrase for “being angry” is 生氣 and it was quite a surprise for me to discover that graphically upper part of 氣 “energy/air/anger“ coincides with horizontal elements of 生 “to give birth/to start”.
shufagraphy #9 MALE GHOST
Wouldn’t you agree that 男 “male” and 鬼 “ghost/devil” seemingly share their top part? So, why not combine them into one: “sinister male” if you turn it one way or “male ghost” if you turn it the other. Hmmm, isn’t it a bit toxic?
shufagraphy #8 WAR
The left part of the simplified character 战 from a certain angle looks like a tank, especially if wheels are added. And what about the right part? Well, I don’t know, who is on the right part…
shufagraphy #7 COMPASSION
同 “same” + 情 “feeling” means “compassion”. Does the 同 with its sorrowful mouth make a pitiful face, feeling for someone else troubles or is it a hypocritical trickster just pretending to feel sorry?
shufagraphy #6 RAIN
雨 is “rain” and with just one splash the right part of 雨 becomes R and the rest just kind of drops in the right places.
shufagraphy #5 WORD
言 is more of a “spoken word” than just a word, but I’d say the mix of 言 and “word” creates a word recognizable in both languages.
shufagraphy #4 FREEDOM
The pair of characters used to translate the concept of “freedom” actually has more precise connotations in Chinese: 自由 can be interpreted as 由 “acting on behalf/setting forth/being the origin” in 自 “oneself”, e.g. one is free when one’s decisions and actions are coming from oneself. But 自 “self” can be our biggest prison or limiting factor, hence I added the bars. All other connotations I leave to the liberty of the viewer.
shufagraphy #3 HAVE MONEY
The concept of “to have” in Chinese is expressed with the character 有. In Cantonese, there is also 冇 which means “not to have”. I placed 金 — “gold/money” into either 有 or 冇 and only the viewer can say if that means “having money” or “not having money”. Duality has always played an important role in the Chinese worldview.
shufagraphy #2 AGREEMENT
The word «agreement» in Chinese is a combination of 同 “sameness” + 意 “idea”. The square element of 同 is called “mouth” and I painted it as a mouth open in a macabre grin with a few teeth. I think you’d agree that sometimes we agree to agree with a painful smile.