Freda Lee-McCann: Chinese calligraphy with a Western spin

Full Frame

Freda Lee-McCannChinese-American artist Freda Lee-McCann discusses her artistic combination of traditional Chinese calligraphy with Western influence.

Whether it’s music, painting or sculpture – the arts are a universal language — transcending language and cultural barriers and bringing people together in a shared human experience.

Calligraphy – or the written word as art – has ancient roots, dating back to 600 B.C.

The work of Chinese-American artist Freda Lee-McCann is also deeply rooted in history and tradition. She combines her mastery of traditional Chinese brushwork with a more Western-style of watercolor painting.

“I’m trying to break the rules but yet, trying to maintain the traditional part of it so it’s kind of marrying the two cultures,” explains Freda.

Freda Lee-McCann: Chinese caligraphy with a Western spin

Chinese-American artist Freda Lee-McCann combines traditional Chinese calligraphy with Western watercolors.

The result is art that brings to life her worldview as an artist born in the United States but who grew up in China.

“I was interested in looking for my own voice,” says Freda. “And, since I am so much American, I’ve lived here almost all my life now, but there’s still part of me that’s very Chinese, and I find it emotionally necessary to maintain the Chinese part.”

In her hands the ancient art of calligraphy takes on a colorful new meaning. On this week’s Full Frame Close Up, we visit Freda in her studio in Virginia to witness her creative way of bringing East and West together.