Ozzie Su: To touch people's heart, you must first know how to tell a story

"My handwriting is super beautiful." A sudden statement like this evoked laughter and mockery from everyone. After all, not many people would claim to have beautiful handwriting when meeting people for the first time.


Wearing a pair of black-rim glasses and a signature beard, Ozzie Su, the Principal of ZA SHARE, grinned and almost defiantly picked up the ball-point pen from his desk, hoping to prove his point with action. Unsatisfied with the first line he jotted down, he re-wrote the same line, this time seriously. Sure enough, the handwriting is beautiful.

Speaking of his excellent penmanship, he began to reveal his past of being exceptional at writing love letters. Although he was obese as a child, thanks to his fine handwriting, from fourth grade onwards, he would pass secret notes to girls he liked in class and always got what he hoped for.


He began to let us in on the secret of love letters: "Writing a love letter is like telling a story; you can't just say 'I like you very much' at the get-go. It needs to be elaborated and well-constructed prior before it is able to move people. It's just like curating, where one conveys serious issues in an interesting and communicative manner. This is actually how the concept of ZA SHARE exhibitions originated." 


It turns out that curating is just like writing love letters —tell a good story with words to strike a chord with people's heartstrings.

Though he no longer writes love letters, he still has a habit of using his favorite pens to write down to-do lists or sparks of genius. He will also give handwritten cards to important people. Whether it's a thank-you card or an invitation, Ozzie Su will carefully ponder every word and write it down by hand.


For him, the act of writing by hand serves profound and valuable significance. "I think it's about empathy. If I receive a handwritten card, I will not throw it away easily." He has carefully preserved all the important letters he received from the past because he cherishes them very much. Occasionally, he would take them out for a read, which always reminds him of how he felt when he received them.

He recalled the letter from his father during his military service in Cheng-Kung Hill. "That was the very first letter my father ever wrote to me. I was very happy but felt very shy."


Like typical Asian father and son, Ozzie Su and his father rarely expressed their mutual love face to face. Perhaps his father was concerned about the hardships Ozzie Su might encounter during his service, he expressed his never-before-said emotions carefully and thoroughly through writing.


It was a four-page letter. Every word in this meticulously written letter is packed with a father's overflowing love and care for his son. "My father has never talked to me that much. After reading it with tear-filled eyes, I realized how deeply my father always cared for me."

After his own son was born, Ozzie Su cherished his relationship with father even more, which further opened up his deep concern for education.


He founded ZA SHARE four years ago, hoping to break the fixed mindset and practice his vision of education with fun. He even make "learning to write" a fun thing to do. He once covered his study with blank paper, he and his son both stripped off of clothing to write and paint with their bodies.


"I want to writing to be versatile and multidimensional, where the body and all kinds of objects can be used as tools. This is the concept of ZA SHARE: Stimulate the imagination through various ways of exploring."

"Text is no longer just text, it reflects culture."Ozzie Su believes, as ystudio's emphasis of "weight of the text," that writing is not only to communicate but also to convey the thoughts and emotions of the person writing at that very moment. This feeling of the delicate is also reflected in his attention to pens. "I pay great attention to the weight and fluency of a pen as the tip of the pen touches the paper.


"ystudio's Resin Series features a brass inner tube in the pen body, making the weight just right and provides a sense of stability when writing. He often gifts people with pens, hoping that in an era when fewer people write by hand, he can continue to convey the value of texts and urge people to feel the details and warmth of life through a timeless brass pen.

When the first-ever exhibition of "ZA SHARE Youth" drew to a close, Ozzie Su felt that it was a bit crazy but also fun. He also admitted that there is still a huge distance to cover before reaching his ideals. "But it's one try. If you don't do it, how will you ever know the results?"


The courage to pursue one's beliefs is the spirit behind ZA SHARE and also ystudio's persistence in writing. Don't think about the future; just try your best at present. If you bravely pursue your values, you'll find the most interesting parts of life itself.

PROFILE

A slightly chubby middle-age man with a good sense of humor, who started and failed six businesses but still insist to dream. People call him "Principle Sweet Potato" because he founded a "naughty" schoolZA SHAREwhich is a grassroots movement for the innovation of education and culture in Taiwan.

 

He is a fanatic learner who frequently call people together to practice all kinds of innovations outside of the system. He believes that art can be use to solve social problems by maximizing social influence furthermore pushing changes. For many years, SU have been devoting himself to culture, economy and innovations in education. He is also a specialist in social design, brand marketing and curating in multi-disciplinary.