By Stephanie Fischer
John Chang was born and raised in Shanghai, China. He spent his time studying piano with his mother before he took up the art of painting. Inspired by his uncle, who was a well-known painter and cartoon artist, Chang was encouraged to start small and take one step at a time towards his goals.
Influenced by artists like Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol, Chang actively works to share his creative experiences in his connection with his life and work in both the United States and China. Through his artwork, Chang hopes visitors can make their own interpretations visually and emotionally to understand his unique vision and sensibility to the public space.
While viewing Chang’s work, visitors can read into the emotions of his life. With an original intent to follow the footsteps of his mother and become a musician, he had turned to drawing instead. During the Cultural Revolution in China, Chang realized that music was no longer an option due to financial and social aspects, and instead he found his artistic voice through drawing.
“My voice, shaped and molded by my upbringing in China, [and] also forged new layers upon living in and familiarizing myself with American culture. My work visualizes the in-between feeling of belonging to both cultures and yet somehow either through a focus on change and transition”, says Chang reflecting on his cultural identity.
As a diasporic artist currently living in Los Angeles, California, Chang believes that his cultural identity, that lies with his experiences living with his family in China, holds a deep sense of change.
He states, “The nature of change as a way of being and living is at the forefront of my work.”
In February, Chang exhibited at 621 Gallery with a number of calligraphic strokes blended with expressive brushworks and drips. The art of abstraction in his work allows Chang to explore Chinese characters in a way that’s personal and connective to and balancing vital energy.
Chang expressed that he is fortunate for the opportunity to exhibit his new works at 621 Gallery because he is able to raise awareness of contemporary Chinese Art.
“In an effort to foster and fuel discussion, dialogue and understanding, this new body of work of contemporary Chinese, Chinese American will bring together an international array of my study examines issues ranging from cultural and geographical changes, to personal narratives, to questions of cultural and political and economic control”, says Chang.
With a goal of becoming a successful international artist, Chang allowed the process of earning his MFA to push him out of his comfort zone and give him the confidence he needed to take a jump into the art world. He also expresses that he is still learning the powerful tool of how to market himself and navigate social media to continue to connect with other artists across the world. He allows himself to remain teachable in this ever-changing society.
To learn more about John Chang and his work visit, http://www.johnychang.com/.