AFT catches up with Chih Hui Chuang whose works include oil painting, contemporary wood carving, composite media and ceramic sculpture creations.
油畫 當代木雕 複合媒材 陶塑創作
“My paintings are inspired from the world, an ode to the heart, a reflection of the disorder of our sad world, but I believe there’s still hope and it lies in the goodness of grateful hearts,” says Chuang.
AFT: Tell us about your environment, what was it like where you grew up?
The ocean was my childhood companion, and the blue sky held my soul. I grew up in the Penghu Islands in Taiwan. The people here are simple and kind. They live by the sea and live a simple life. In the summer, the sun is so warm. In the winter, there’s a vicissitude of wind gusts. I like to run and jump and let my body take flight against the wind.
AFT: What do you think influenced your artistic eye?
It is in my nature to be attracted to things new, to novelty. In our country, art education is our cultural heritage, we take pride in learning the skills of creators of the past. When I was exposed to the Western Renaissance in high school, I realised then that art has no boundaries, that we are no longer painting for the Gods and the rich, and that I was able to invoke my own emotions, express my inner feelings and create art.
AFT: Which pieces of works did you submitted to the International Surrealism NOW exhibition and why?
These three pieces of work were exhibited in a world tour exhibition a few years ago. I stayed near a Hong Kong train station and for 60 days, I observed and created works on site. People seem to live their lives in a hurry, I watched a large number of passengers who entered and exited the subway station every day, they were coming and going just like innumerable cans being canned on an assembly line in a factory. I meditated and realised how precious it was to be able to think independently and live our lives the way we design; not copying success models of others or constantly pursuing material satisfaction. As an artist, it is my hope for people to find the purest versions of themselves instead of living like others, explore infinite possibilities of oneself, and explore and understand this world and this universe.這件參展作品，是我前幾年進行世界巡迴展，停留在香港站60天，￼從日常中觀察並在當地創作的。我深深感受到這裡人們生活￼節奏匆忙，大量的乘客￼進進出出地鐵站，￼我想像著日日從火車上上下下的人￼￼們，就像￼一間大工廠的生產線上，無量被複製的罐頭般。 我沈思著，人能獨立思考並活出自己的樣貌很珍貴；而不是一昧複製別人成功的模式，並無限上綱的不斷追求物質與金錢￼。我希望，人人能找回最純粹￼的自￼我，而不是活得像別人，能￼￼挖掘￼￼￼自身無限的可能性，並去探索和了解這個世界丶這個宇宙。
AFT: Did you paint during COVID19? What did you do to pass time?
Creation is a daily routine of my life. So I didn’t stop creating at all even during the pandemic. All the things that happen in the world, add up to enriching my creations and reflect my thoughts at the time.創作是我生活的日常，即便是在疫期，我從不停止創作。￼￼￼￼世上所有發生的事情，堆疊出我藝術創作的養分，記錄著我生命存在的想法。
AFT: What is the one thing you strive to do with your art? Have you been successful?
你為藝術最努力做的一件事是什麼？成功了沒有？Art to me is a concept and a responsibility that I work very hard and honestly to create. Art helps me understand myself. It helps me understand how the world operates.￼ I can only pray that those who view my work will be able to appreciate my work, understand me and value me as a person beyond my possessions. Whether or not I’ve been successful at achieving this, what’s more important is that I continue to be in the process of creating art and I am still alive.
AFT: Is there any work that you have not finished or can’t complete? What happens then?
I think that life in itself is an unfinished creation, so my work is not yet finished but one day it will be complete.
AFT: Is health and fitness important to you as an artist? Would you care to share about your daily routine?
Having the right mood is very important for me. I try to remain in a calm state as far as possible – it is easier to understand when doing things. When I get up in the morning, I tend to flowers and trees, irrigate the garden, wash and feed my chicken, collect eggs, enjoy my my daily Buddhist ritual, have breakfast, and start my day of creation.心情很重要，我盡可能把自己的心放在平靜的狀態，做起事情來比較容易理解。 早上起來看看花草樹木，幫他們灌溉丶幫他們洗滌，餵食我養的幾隻蛋￼￼雞丶撿雞蛋，每天禮佛￼，用早餐，開始創作的一天。
AFT: Finally, what’s your ultimate favourite thing to do?
Be with my family, be able to talk about what I know, and share my creation with everyone.跟家人在一起丶聊聊我知道的事情，把創作分享給大家。
Team AFT thanks Santiago Ribeiro, Chih Hui Chuang and Yami Su-Min Yang for making this interview a reality. We also thank Eve Wong for her assistance in preparing the English – Chinese translations.
Visit the artist’s official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/chc888/
Learn more about the International SURREALISM NOW exhibition: https://www.facebook.com/internationalsurrealismnow.org/