My academic journey began in my home country where I pursued studies in finance and taxation, laying a foundational understanding of the business world. Seeking to broaden my horizons, I ventured to the United States with an initial focus on computer science.
This exploration into the realm of technology led me to discover a passion for creativity and design, culminating in a transition to graphic design. My dedication and exploration of the field were recognized with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Computer Arts.
Upon returning to my country, I embarked on a diverse professional path across various industries. This eclectic career trajectory has endowed me with a wealth of cross-disciplinary experience and knowledge, enriching my perspective and skill set.
In addressing this question, I must extend my sincerest gratitude to my graphic design mentor, Gwen Amos, from California State University, Sacramento (CSUS).
Under her guidance, I was not merely taught the fundamentals of graphic design; I was transformed into a creative thinker. Her influence profoundly shaped my approach to design, instilling in me the essence of creativity that has become the cornerstone of my work.
This is a one-person company and I do everything by myself. I know a little bit about recording, a little graphic design, multimedia design, a little programming and a little photography. I also enjoy writing poems and in addition to that, I devoted myself to practicing Chinese calligraphy.
These talents made me what I am today. Although I cover a wide range of fields, when I encounter something that I am not good at, I will know how to learn or cooperate with talents who are more professional than me.
I discovered a unique intersection between my country's traditional Chinese characters and the simplified Chinese characters used in mainland China within the realm of cursive calligraphy. This inspired me to propose a unification of texts from the Greater China cultural sphere through the medium of "traditional calligraphy and cursive writing."
To bring heightened attention to this concept, I strategically organized my first solo exhibition to coincide with the conclusion of the presidential election, leveraging the timing to amplify the issue's visibility in a tangible setting. Furthermore, I entered this project into competitions to spark a broader online dialogue and foster greater resonance with a wider audience.
In today's digital age, where computers and smartphones dominate, the art of handwriting is becoming increasingly rare. This shift is further accentuated by the government's "de-Sinicization" policies, leading to the removal of calligraphy from the compulsory curriculum in primary and secondary schools—a stark contrast to the past. Consequently, even among calligraphy aficionados, few venture into the realm of cursive script. Despite the widespread literacy in my country, a paradox emerges: a vast majority are 'cursive illiterate,' unable to read or write in this style.
This project confronts a significant challenge: employing cursive script, a form unfamiliar to most, as a medium of communication and an invitation for people to rediscover and learn this beautiful script. Moreover, the classical poems that form a substantial part of this work necessitate detailed explanations and translations for those accustomed only to contemporary Chinese. This is essential for conveying the intended message of the poster and bridging the gap between ancient art forms and modern audiences.
My country and Hong Kong are unique in the world for their use of traditional Chinese characters, a writing system that allows modern readers to access ancient classics with relative ease, unlike many other writing systems globally.
However, there's a subtle distinction between the two: in my country, Mandarin is the written language, whereas in Hong Kong, written texts often reflect Cantonese vernacular. This use of traditional Chinese not only distinguishes my country and Hong Kong but also celebrates the richness of their cultural heritage, making them stand out uniquely on the global stage.
It’s a tough question to answer. Within the global context of rivalry and collaboration between China and the United States, the creative sector serves as a frontline for each to showcase and disseminate their cultural values. Looking at the creative industry specifically, the mutual flourishing of diverse cultures worldwide has marked an unparalleled journey in recent decades.
Moving forward, the intercultural dialogue between China, the United States, and other nations will transcend military confrontations, emphasizing the power of cultural soft power in bridging divides.
1. Leonardo da Vinci - the Renaissance man.
2. Steve Jobs - Apple.
3. Bruce Lee - the Kung-fu master who brought Chinese martial art to the West.
4. Lin Yutang - a lot of his books has been translated into English to allow the western world to learn more about Chinese culture.
5. Anastasia – the main character of the “Ringing Cedar” series books. Her legendary story resonated greatly in Russia, prompting President Putin to sign the "Far East One Hectare Land Law." The book has also been translated into many languages, prompting readers of the book to reflect on the relationship between man and nature.
"CHIEN-TUNG CHEN Solo Exhibition – eastwalker" is scheduled to be launched at Taipei MRT Gallery in the winter of 2023, a life-time first …
(Read more at MUSE Creative Awards)
Chien-Tung Chen, founder of Quaaware Ltd, began his academic path in his home country, studying finance and taxation for a strong business foundation. Seeking broader horizons, he moved to the United States, starting with computer science before discovering a passion for creativity.
Read more about this interview with Ahmed bin Baz from Saudi Arabia, the Silver Winner of the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards.