Born in Meizhou (SichuanProvince) with the style name Zi Zhan and sobriquet Dongpo Jiushi, Su Shi was a famous writer, calligrapher and painter. Su, who once took office like Jiayou Jinshi, fully demonstrated his preeminent talent for poetry, prose, calligraphy and painting. With his father Su Xun and his younger brother Su Zhe, the Three Sus were quite famous in literary circles.
Adopting the style of Wen Tong, Su was adept at depicting bamboo. He was among the earliest to advocate the scholar painting and later founded Huzhou School. Some of Su"s most representative paintings were Withered Trees and Grotesque Rocks, Bamboo and Rock,etc. Among the Four Great Masters of the Song Dynasty with Huang Tingjian, Mi Fu and Cai Xiang, Su was also an expert in running script and regular script. Having absorbed advantages from calligraphers such as Yan Zhenqing, Liu Gongquan, Chu Suiliang, Xu Hao, Li Beihai, and Yang Ningshi, Su made innovations on the basis of his deep understanding of calligraphy rather than his predecessors. He developed his own way of wielding a brush, and emphasized reforming writing tools.
Su was an all-rounder with uncommon talents in poetry, ci, prose and painting. His prose was comparable to the high level of Ouyang Xiu"s work, and the two were called Ou-Su. Su-Huang refers to the two top poets of that period -- Su Shi and Huang Tingjian. Su"s poem was teemed with exaggerated metaphors. A small group of them represented the sufferings of the people, scolding governors" dissipation and debauchery. His poems exerted great influence on literature of later generations. As to ci, Su Shi and Xin Qiji were called Su-Xin for their ci were both of powerful and freestyle. They brought new atmosphere to the circle of ci and broke the monopoly of restrained style. Another of his contribution to ci was that he liberated ci from music. From then on, ci became an independent lyric. In a word, Su Shi advocated the artistic creation from the bottom of one"s heart.