Selected as January’s Sport Artist of the Year, Gu Gan was chosen for his continued contribution to the sport movement in China.

Honored in 2008 as the Academy’s Sport Artist of the Year, Gu Gan, is a Chinese painter and calligrapher. His works of art feature paintings and prints on handmade paper that can be appreciated for their presentations of historic Chinese art forms combined with contemporary innovations. To express his ideas clearly, Gu Gan uses painted shapes and symbols combined with Chinese characters to form his powerful visual language. While Western traditional philosophies separate seemingly opposite elements such as words and pictures, mind and body, thought and action, creativity and destruction, Eastern traditional philosophies see opposites as points cycling along a continuum without separation. To Gu Gan, writing calligraphy and painting pictures are no different. Invoking ancient signs and techniques from indigenous art, Gu Gan strives to bring the harmony with nature and society idealized by traditional Chinese philosophies into the urbanized everyday world of contemporary people.

His works of art include Heart Beats with the Five Rings; Be Faster, Higher, & Stronger; Enjoy Football; Disciples of Kung Fu in Shaolin Temple; and Connection between Chinese Calligraphy & Chinese Kung Fu.

Gan was one of the promoters of the “Modern Calligraphy” exhibit held in Beijing in 1985 and was one of the major forerunners of the Modernist Movement in China. He became chairman of the distinguished Modern Calligraphy and Painting Society in China and has given lectures at prestigious institutions around the world, including the University of Bonn and the Fine Art Institute in Hamburg, Germany. To honor the 2008 Olympics, Gan created “The Road to the Beijing Olympics 2008 Through Art” a series of 33 sport calligraphy paintings. One artwork depicting the five Olympic rings was created to commemorate the 2008 Olympic Games hosted by Beijing. Also in 2008, the United States Sports Academy honored Gu Gan as the Sport Artist of the Year.

“You love calligraphy and pursue her but you can never reach her. Nevertheless, the pursuit itself is the most wonderful process.” – Gu Gan, The Three Steps of Modern Calligraphy, p.3, 2005

Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of nearly 2,000 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission Sports University created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit