Chapter 207 – Rising Fame
The over 30 million yuan in Wu Zailin’s account didn’t stay for long. After obtaining Chen Li’s account from Zhuge Yu, he transferred the money without keeping a penny.
When Chen Li received this money, he was having breakfast. His phone beeped with a message alert. Chen Li opened his phone and saw that over 30 million yuan had suddenly appeared in his account. Even Chen Li, who had little concept of money, was momentarily stunned.
“What’s wrong?” Wei Chen, seeing Chen Li freeze upon receiving the message, thought something had happened and asked with some concern.
Chen Li shook his head and handed the phone to Wei Chen to let him read the message.
Over 30 million yuan was not a small sum for Wei Chen either. So, when he saw that such a large amount of money had suddenly appeared in Chen Li’s account, he raised his eyebrows in surprise.
“This money?” Wei Chen asked.
After thinking for a while, Chen Li figured out who sent the money. “Yesterday, Senior Brother Wu Zailin came to see me and said a friend wanted to collect my painting, so I let him take one of my paintings.”
Wei Chen immediately understood the source of this money. He couldn’t help but reach out and ruffle Chen Li’s hair, sincerely saying, “Li Li, you’re amazing!”
Now, selling one painting brought in tens of millions. His wife was so good at making money; he felt a sense of pride.
Chen Li was pleased with Wei Chen’s praise, his eyebrows curved, feeling very happy.
In Chen Li’s eyes, this over 30 million wasn’t as important as a word of praise from Wei Chen.
After finishing breakfast, Chen Li and Wei Chen went their separate ways—Wei Chen to work and Chen Li to school.
When Chen Li arrived at school, he informed Zhuge Yu of his decision. In the afternoon, Zhuge Yu took Chen Li’s paintings and flew to Shanghai to begin preparations.
After that, Chen Li didn’t inquire about the operations of Zhuge Yu and Wu Zailin. He didn’t even know his current status in the art circle.
His daily life revolved around school and home, quite ordinary and routine.
However, Chen Li didn’t know that his name was slowly making waves in the art circle of China.
Shanghai, Free Spirit.
Before, a piece of ink painting by Chen Li hung here, becoming the most popular painting in this month’s exhibition. On regular days, only a few scattered people would visit the store, but today, before Chen Li’s ink painting, several people were already standing there.
If they were from the art circle, they would surely know who these people were and marvel at what kind of painting it was. How could it attract several big shots from the collecting and painting circles, standing in front of this painting for a long time without leaving?
“Xiao Wu, come here,” signaled an elegantly dressed old man to Wu Zailin, who was currently at the cash register.
Wu Zailin put down what he was doing, asked a staff in the store to handle the payment, and walked into the group of people.
“Xiao Wu, can you sell this painting?” the old man got straight to the point, not wasting any words. In fact, he hadn’t chatted with Wu Zailin for several days, but every time the answer was a refusal.
This time was no different. “Uncle Wang, you know the rules of our store. The paintings on display are not for sale.”
The answer was within the old man’s expectations. He sighed disappointingly and then looked at this ink painting again.
At this moment, another person looking at the painting spoke, “Xiao Wu, even if you don’t sell it, could you at least tell us who the creator of this painting is? We would like to see if we can get other works by this creator through other channels, to ease our regret for not being able to have this one.”
They had come to see this painting for several days because they liked it so much. If they knew who the creator was, they might be able to buy other works by the same creator to soothe their lingering regrets.
Wu Zailin decided he wouldn’t hide it anymore. He wanted to bring his junior brother’s name out and let more people know about him.
“This is my junior brother’s painting,” Wu Zailin said. “You’ve probably seen his previous works, the winner of the Dream Cup, ‘Light,’ was also painted by my junior brother.”
With this statement from Wu Zailin, everyone present was a little shocked.
They had considered countless possibilities in their minds, but they never thought that the winner of the Dream Cup’s gold prize, the bold and colorful oil painting ‘Light,’ and the ink painting with a distant artistic conception before them, were created by the same person.
However, in fact, these two paintings did come from the same artist.
“Xiao Wu, you’re not fooling us, are you?” someone expressed doubt.
Wu Zailin shook his head. “How could I deceive you? In fact, my junior brother’s oil painting was guided by my teacher, and his traditional Chinese painting was also under the guidance of Old Master Sun.”
The three words “Old Master Sun” hit like a thunderclap.
Old Master Sun was a famous master in traditional Chinese painting. His skill had reached the pinnacle. If Wu Zailin’s junior brother really learned from Old Master Sun, achieving this level would be understandable.
Great masters produce great disciples. That’s for sure.
Looking at their astonished expressions, Wu Zailin thought to himself, I haven’t told you yet that this painting was done by my junior brother Chen Li before he studied under Old Master Sun. I wonder what expression you’ll have when you find out.
“Xiao Wu, what’s your junior brother’s name, and when can we visit him?” said the old man who had called Wu Zailin over before.
“My junior brother’s name is Chen Li, but he doesn’t like meeting strangers. I apologize on his behalf,” Wu Zailin said.
After Wu Zailin’s words, the old man realized that his question had been somewhat abrupt. During the special press conference for the Dream Cup, Zhao Liyou, the president of the calligraphy and painting association, had mentioned that the author of “Light” had autism from a young age.
Naturally, people with autism don’t like to interact with strangers. The question he just asked was indeed somewhat offensive.
However, the old man couldn’t help but marvel in his heart. Truly, when one door closes, God opens another. The window God opened for Chen Li wasn’t an ordinary one; it was a panoramic skylight!
“I was being rude,” the old man said but firmly remembered Chen Li’s name in his heart. After going back, he planned to inquire about where Chen Li’s artworks were and collect a piece for himself. Whether for personal enjoyment or investment, collecting Chen Li’s paintings would be an excellent choice. He believed that Chen Li’s paintings would become more and more popular, with a bright future.
“Uncle Wang, don’t be disappointed. This time, I specifically had my teacher bring over a few of my junior brother’s works. We’ll display one each quarter. If Uncle Wang is interested, you can come and take a look then.”
“Xiao Wu, I think you’re being mean,” someone interjected. “Aren’t you letting us see but not touch? Don’t you know this is a kind of torment for us?”
Wu Zailin laughed. “I’m being wronged. This is already the biggest benefit I could obtain. If you’re not satisfied, I can withdraw it.”
The person who spoke quickly waved his hand. “No, please don’t. Even if we can’t collect Mr. Chen Li’s paintings, it’s still a pleasure to see them at your place.”
Others immediately chimed in, “Yes, that’s right.”
“Keep them, keep them. We’re counting on these paintings in your shop for the next few months. If you remove them, what will we do?”
In this casual conversation, Wu Zailin inadvertently revealed Chen Li’s name and the future plans for Free Spirit.
After that day, Chen Li’s name resounded in the Chinese art circle, and many people didn’t even understand what was happening. However, once they found out, they joined the frenzy.
This kind of effect was entirely attributed to the Dream Cup.
Initially, at the Dream Cup, the response to Chen Li’s work “Light” was immensely significant. Even now, almost half a year later, the resonance from “Light” was still reverberating. Every person who went to the National Art Museum to see “Light” would still be profoundly moved by the painting. Many individuals bound by darkness slowly emerged into the light after seeing “Light.”
The creator of “Light” had always been a hot topic in the art circle, and many people speculated about who the creator of “Light” might be.
And now, this creator had actually surfaced. Even though they didn’t know what this creator looked like, just the meaning represented by the two words “Chen Li” was enough to drive people crazy with envy and excitement.
The creator of “Light” was named Chen Li, and he was the disciple of Zhuge Yu. This had already been known to the public during the Dream Cup. But what shocked people was that this person named Chen Li was also a closed-door disciple of the national painting master, Old Master Sun!
Just these two identities were enough to make Chen Li’s name famous in the art circle. Furthermore, Chen Li was already the creator of a phenomenal work, “Light.”
Suddenly, Chen Li became the hottest figure in the art circle. Even without seeing him, just hearing his name couldn’t curb the excitement surrounding Chen Li in this circle.
In no time, Chen Li became renowned, and the value of his paintings soared instantly. Many people hoped to obtain Chen Li’s paintings.
Of course, amidst the overwhelming praise, there were also a few sour comments. Essentially, these comments argued that Chen Li had only one painting in the public eye at the moment, “Light,” and they didn’t know the quality of his other works. There was no need to hype him up so much!
Such comments slowly circulated in the art circle, but they were soon countered by Chen Li’s paintings displayed in Free Spirit.
That ink painting drove many people to madness. After the ink painting was taken down and replaced with one of Chen Li’s oil paintings, the progress in both technique and color compared to “Light” was substantial. The same awe-inspiring power remained. Anyone, regardless of their proficiency in painting, would be drawn in with just one glance at Chen Li’s painting, and their inner world would undergo a baptism.
Chen Li’s paintings were like having a soul, and the soul within the paintings always seemed to resonate with certain aspects of human nature, involuntarily immersing everyone who saw his paintings in the world they sought to convey.
An excellent painting could be considered a coincidence, perhaps luck. However, when two or three paintings were above the level of the first one, it could only mean that Chen Li genuinely had this ability. In the field of painting, he was truly a favored prodigy.
The individuals who had made sarcastic remarks were left red-faced and could only shrink back silently. However, privately, they also joined the ranks of those inquiring about Chen Li’s works.
Just one month later, one of Chen Li’s paintings had already been bid up to tens of millions, but apart from Free Spirit, where people could see Chen Li’s paintings, no one else had Chen Li’s painting in their hands.