By William Jenkins, Content Editor for Legacy Arts magazine
An Interview with Artist Sean Chao
LA: What influenced you in your career path?
SC: Being an artist is a challenging career path, but I’m happiest when I’m creating art. My parents were very encouraging when I was young. Sculpting became natural for me to express myself after years of practice and education. I had different jobs after I graduated from school, but I continued making art and it eventually became my career.
LA: How does your culture and heritage influence your work?
SC: I grew up in Taipei, Taiwan. The Chinese culture is my family heritage. However, I was also influenced by Japanese and American pop culture growing up. Taipei is a densely populated city. Life was busy and very fast paced, even for a child. To recuperate and balance my sanity, I learned to pause and find joy and happiness in life, and then spent time to see the little details. Now I create art based on these kinds of experiences.
LA: What immediate reaction do you hear from people who view your art?
SC: People usually feel surprised about the scale and details. Many have seen photographs of my works but then are still surprised when they see the work in person.
LA: How would you like your art to influence others, perhaps students in particular but also the general public?
SC: The modern life is busy, confusing, and full of chaos. People forget how to enjoy the simple things in life. A moment of joy sneaks past us so quickly. We often ignore it because we are so distracted. In my work, I capture these little moments, and then translate them into a piece of diorama art. I hope it helps people to go through their hectic life and reminds us to live joyfully.
LA: What legacy do you want to leave for your family and community?
SC: There is a message in all my works, to live happily and enjoy the little things. I will keep making art and continue to influence people. Hopefully the positive energy is what I will leave for the world.
For more articles on legacy planning, click here to subscribe to Legacy Arts Magazine.
Originally from Taipei, Taiwan, Sean Chao now finds home in Los Angeles. In 2007, Chao graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, with a BFA in Illustration. He learned how to create in a variety of mediums, from drawing to painting to sculpture. He found that he liked making art with his hands. Chao creates his miniature sculptures in a small studio with Sculpey (a type of polymer clay), bass wood, balsa wood, paper, wire, and painstaking precision. He creates a delicate balance in his sculptures by showing enough detail to illicit amazement and yet enough imperfection to reveal that they’re lovingly handmade. Nature is a recurring theme in Chao’s work. He often depicts dense forests filled with plants, animals, and insects. He’s also portrayed ocean scenes and even space scenes. He creates a lot of movement in every scene so that each one feels like a moment frozen in time. Watching people view Chao’s artwork, you can’t help but notice their looks of awe as they pore over all the minute details and then their smiles as they walk away. So his intention with his artwork to offer a bit of joy to people seems to be working. Art that tries to change the world — even in a small way — may not be so simplistic after all. Visit seanchao.com for more.