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  • Chris McMillan

For deaf entrepreneur, determination trumps disability


12th November 2020

For deaf entrepreneur, determination trumps disability

Living in a world of no sound, Hu Shiqun creates a world of colors.

Hu, 38, is the founder of a Shanghai street art studio that specializes in 3D wall and ground paintings. All seven of the painters at his studio have impaired hearing.

Communication with the clients is handled solely through typed words, but that hasn’t hindered the business, Hu told Shanghai Daily. The studio weathered the COVID-19 epidemic by word of mouth among clients.

Hu, who grew up in Anhui Province, lost his hearing when he was only a year old due to medication he was given. He said he started to learn Chinese calligraphy when he was 13 and became interested in art after seeing someone writing Chinese New Year’s couplets with a brush.

“Learning to paint without being able to hear is not different from the experience of other students, except that I communicated with my teacher in sign language and written words,” he said.

Hu praises Li Xiang, a teacher at a special education school in the Anhui city of Bengbu, who dug into his own pocket to buy books on classic calligraphy and Chinese painting for Hu and led him through practice.

“Most importantly, he was very strict with me, which helped me learn faster,” he said.

Hu’s skills led him to enrollment in a high school in the Anhui capital of Hefei. There he started to learn to paint watercolors.

“I had no money to buy textbooks and spent my time doing still-life painting on my own,” he said.

Hu went on to study advertising design at a college in Changsha, capital of Hunan Province, and found a job copying oil paintings.

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