(1927 – 2011) he was known as Henry Tai Chuen Sheh in english or grandpa Sheh, but to me he was known more candidly as YehYeh. this is the man i owe the majority of my creativity to; i inherited it from him. before retiring and immigrating to Canada, he was an accomplished graphic designer in Hong Kong. my mom tells me that he would browse the grocery aisles and point out all of the logos he designed. i haven’t seen any pictures that he has taken, though i’m sure he had a fairly good eye. he was known to own several cameras, one of them a Canonet QL17 which i’ve had for a while now. had it serviced a few years ago, and works like a charm.
later in his life he was a man of few words, but definitely still had an appreciated eye. one of my favorite memories of my YehYeh was four years ago at his 80th birthday. as we were leaving the restaurant after dinner, he pipped up and started commenting on how much he like my coat. he hadn’t said much during dinner, but made sure everyone knew how nice my coat was. made me laugh.
a few years after i graduated, i was back in Toronto to visit. we were all visiting, my YehYeh came walking out from the hallway with a bag in hand. he sat down at the table and my dad motioned for me to join them. out of the bag he pulled a small stone container. he slid the lid open, and with pride and a big smile took out a Chinese stone seal. i was stunned. my YehYeh had taken the time and the effort to carve a family seal out for me! he made sure to show me how to properly set the seal in the red ink and how to make the best seal. i have cherished the seal ever since. it only comes out for very limited editions.
i took a short trip to Toronto this week to attend his funeral. he looked good, at peace. buried with his poor-boy hat, his cane and in a tweed double-breasted blazer. he always wore the poor-boy hat, made him look like Chinese mafia especially with his cane and a long pea-coat.
these pictures are from the last time i visited with him, my MaMa’s 80th birthday.
i’ll see you on the flip-side YehYeh. we’ll create something fantastic together.