A Wandering Storyteller Who Lives for Now

“Not from the past, not for the future”.

The idea of “seizing the moments” has been my mantra since I was young. I am always eager to discover new ways of life at different corners of the world as time flies.

I define myself as interdisciplinary considering my diverse education background and working experiences.

I have a global education, being born in Hangzhou, China and going to school in Beijing, Taipei, Los Angeles and London. Traveling from the east coast of China to the west coast of USA, I feel it necessary to share with the world my findings of beauty and love. Art is the tool and medium I have selected to tell my story. As a storyteller who never stops steps, I live for now.

Originally, I wanted to be a TV journalist because of the active role they play in the world of mass media, at Communication University of China. In fact, my love of storytelling all so led me to study Film at Shih Hsin University, Taipei. Thanks to the training I had in directing and filming, I developed the skill of photography and no-linear editing, which taught me the powerful perspective of time and space through visual language, however, I soon realized that I was not satisfied sitting in front of a computer and looking through all the digital materials. I would like to be a part of the community of interesting art people who have shaper insights make the ordinary stuff interesting. So, after taking an internship at National Centre of Performing Arts in China, I applied to the MA of Art Business program at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Los Angeles. A Master’s of Art Business has opened many new doors to my career in the arts.

In 2017 Fall, I studied modern and contemporary Asian art history and did an independent studies on the worldwide influences of modern Japanese art at Sotheby’s London campus. With my developing understanding to visual arts, I can now learn to appreciate a new avenue of storytelling with curatorial work. I might even be a curator one day.

As a potential curator, I am always looking for the opportunities to bridge the past and the future, mundane and art, majority and minority through curatorial activities.

I hope to make my home city Hangzhou as the starting point. Hangzhou is my everlasting inspiration. It has held a thousand mysteries for me since I was born. Is it true that the 50-meter-tall pagoda fell down, only because a pale scholar wanted to rescue his wife from the basement? The mostly visited grave in the lakeside, why does it belong to a beautiful and miserable prostitute? The Hua Family Lake where I spent my childhood, is it the masterpiece of an angry but kind-hearted dragon? I am obsessed with these fantastic myths from ancient time. Hangzhou is also the so-called secular heaven in Chinese culture and famous for its breathtaking beauty.

However, I find that people living in my hometown have long become accustomed to the city’s 2000-year history and culture heritages. They cannot be touched anymore by the beautiful nature of the city. I would like to awaken local residents by rediscovering the beauty in ordinary lives, exchanging the roles of a citizen and a tourist. Therefore, art, especially visual cultures, becomes the best approach to deciphering its local stories. Nevertheless, art business in Hangzhou has witnessed a relatively slow development compared with its economic success as a regional capital and a tourist city. Influential galleries, art museums and performing arts center are still hard to find today. Although Hangzhou is home to the China Academy of Art, it is still far from the real centre of contemporary Chinese art. As a result, I believe it is my opportunity to bring a new art business to Hangzhou, and fill the niche between residents’ and local artists’ increasing demands of art engagement and the city’s poor art activities.

In fact, this is not my first attempt to tell the stories about Hangzhou.In my original 30-min documentary Tian Zhu (Buddhism Paradise), I discover the lifestyle of Buddhists in modern society based in Hangzhou. This time, with the new language of curating, I want the arts speak for themselves.

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Tianqi Miamy Chen

Tianqi Miamy Chen

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MA of Art Business Candidate,2018 Sotheby's Institute of Art, Los Angeles Claremont Graduate University