Artist-in-Residence Wang Chen Gives Advice to Student Artists in Lecture

Chloe Golebiewski, Staff Writer

Wang Chen is MCLA’s artist-in-residence for the next nine months, and recently gave a lecture describing their art and to give advice to aspiring artists. (Photo by Johnluke Kunce)

Wang Chen, MCLA’s artist-in-residence for the next nine months, held a lecture in Murdock 218 on Thursday, October 13th to talk about some of their work and give advice to aspiring artists.

Chen, whose preferred mediums are drawing, animation, 3D game design, costume design, sculpture, and photography, says that they love to combine multiple mediums into one artwork, to “create compositions beyond my control, in a different way than using just one medium.”

Chen talked about their artwork that was a “moving painting,” played on a 15-minute loop, called “The Rabbit Hole.” This piece included a live performance of sculpture, animation, and photography, as well as five original costumes designed and made by Chen. This piece was made to represent and celebrate gender and sexuality. According to Chen, the process of this piece began by sketching the design, forming and painting clay into the desired scene, and then finally photographing and animating the scene, adding the costumes in.

In Chen’s next piece, “The Sin Park” (never published), they used a “euphoria process” to create the carnival-like setting. After that, they went back to the drawing, and in polishing it, created a new version. The new version, another “moving painting,” contained five new original animal-like costumes, drawing, animation, and sound.

While spending time during the pandemic in Roswell, New Mexico, Chen pushed their limits.

“The drawings I made during this time were bizarre to me,” Chen said, as they were very alien-like and inspired by the UFO Festival (held in Roswell). The goal for this project was to have the painting be “3D, yet flat,” using stop motion to create it. The piece that emerged from the project was titled “In the Woods” and held the aesthetics of aliens and jungles. “The ideal requirement for this work isn’t to be on large screens or monitors, but rather to be projected,” they told the room.

After that, Chen began turning physical sculptures, sizes ranging from handheld to very large, into digital ones. They will soon have an upcoming exhibit in Gallery 51 (located in North Adams). The next step for them is to work with “video painting,” so that “the viewer can feel like they’re included in the work of art.”
Chen provided advice for the young artists in the room: “I didn’t do what I was supposed to do while I was in school [when it came to art]. So, try everything you can, and don’t limit yourself to anything.”

Ellie Gubbins ‘24 told the Beacon, “Wang Chen’s inclusion of multiple medias layered on top of each other make for a unique and immersive experience for the viewer. I really enjoyed their use of this and how it all came together for the final products.”

Ashton Peixoto ‘23 said, “I thought it was really informative on the aspects of contemporary art, and was interesting to hear the artist’s perspective of the process. I also really like the idea of MCLA providing residencies for artists as a whole.”

Chen is currently teaching an Intro to Design class here at MCLA and is more than willing to help any students [interested in the forms of art that Chen creates] with their artworks.

Be sure to check out Wang Chen’s website for photos and videos of all published works, and more:
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