Zeng Jianyong excels in using ink and wash to reenact the beautiful yet distant childhood memories.
In adding the black neckerchief on the boy in Friend Series, Zeng endowed the youngster with a "hope-of-our- future" status. The artist made excellent use of the unique attributes of Su Mo (overnight ink) with multiple applications, accentuating the blackness of the neckerchief. The boy's round, big eyes are bright and clear; his tilted head and puzzled look suggest childlike innocence. The faint, pink capillaries on the cheeks imply his vulnerability to worldly influences.
When demonstrating the subject of 'cartoon', Zheng incorporates the elements of children, pets and plants -symbols of innocence and purity - in order to describe the 'commonness' of the social groups. Parents always try to regulate their children's behaviour; at the meantime, the children imitate such behavaiour but do it to their companions. The artist intentionally arranges a little dog that is cautiously peeping from behind the curtain. The action of hiding behind his 'master' further emphasises the relationships of 'dependence', or 'control'. Friends are our best company growing up; therefore they will always be our sweet memories. Nevertheless, the artist mixes the complex factor with elements of simplicity and purity in his expression, elucidating the social reality in an intriguing context.