The son of a Pudong farmer, Xu Jianrong has devoted his life to Chinese ink-wash paintings, calligraphy and promoting traditional arts.
Xu, who is 62 years old, is also an art professor and critics who has published almost 30 art books over the past 30 years.
"My parents grew crops in the countryside of Pudong and no one in my family had anything to do with art," he says. Xu currently has an art exhibition at the Pudong Library during the Pudong Culture and Arts Festival running through mid-November.
"I hope more people, especially young people, can enjoy the beauty of the ancient Chinese arts," Xu says.
When he was a small boy, Xu was enchanted by the colorful drawings in story books and on cigarette cases. These illustrations were his first art teachers, he jokes.
During the "cultural revolution" (1966-1976), Xu farmed in the rural Gaoqiao Town in Pudong, while still managing to paint and read extensively - poetry, arts, philosophy, history and fiction.
When the "cultural revolution" ended and schools reopened, he was among the first to take the National College Entrance Examination and enrolled in the physics department of Shanghai Normal University. The sciences were popular majors at the time.
However, he was still interested in art. "I realized I had no talent in physics," he says. "Why shouldn't I do what I loved to do?"