Interview with Tang-Wei Hsu
My name is Tang-Wei Hsu. I am 39-years-old and I currently reside in Sunnyside, Queens with my wife and three kids. I was born and raised in Taiwan where I began my career as an artist. I moved to New York when I received an artist abroad subsidy from the Asian Cultural Council. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in architecture at the Shih Chien University and an MFA in visual arts at the Tainan National University of Arts.
Could you please introduce yourself and tell us how you started in the arts? and your first experience in art making?
Hello, my name is Tang-Wei Hsu. I am a Taiwanese international artist. Ever since I was young, I liked to create art, but I didn't start to pursue an art career until after I graduated from college. I first began a career as an architect, however, during my first project I felt like I wanted to do more. I didn't want to work in an office designing only what I was told to, so I quit my job and pursued my dreams as a full-time artist. Ever since then I have been traveling around the world creating and selling art. I have been a part of numerous solo and group exhibitions in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and the U.S.
How would you describe yourself and your artwork?
Contemporary art with a mix of animation and graphic design is how I would categorize my artwork. By combining my Asian culture with my architectural training, I create abstract sculptures, paintings, and drawings. I would also describe myself as a shy person but I use art as an outlet to express everything I am thinking or feeling.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My artistic ideas emerged from my cultural heritage and childhood experiences. Growing up, anime and Japanese comics like Pokémon were a big part of my childhood which is where I get most of my inspiration from. I also grew up in the countryside, so my ideas and imagination flowed endlessly.
What emotions do you hope the viewers experience when looking at your art?
I want viewers to dive deeper than the surface of a piece. I want them to feel nostalgic and intrigued by what they are seeing. One of the best compliments I received was when someone told me they can stare at my art for hours because at every glance they find something new to look at.
When do you know that an artwork is finished ?
Once I think I finished the artwork, I hang it up and leave it there for a couple of months. Throughout those months I glance at it and usually add more details if I think it needs them. Once I can't think of anything else to add, or if it feels right to me, then I know its finished.
What has been the most exciting moment in your art career so far?
I was invited to a group show in China where I finished a mural in five days without an excited sketch or any help. The mural ran up an down the scaffolding. Three floors of tall, white walls became my canvas. It was the most exciting experience, especially after I saw the finished wall.
How long does it take to produce one work?
One piece can take anywhere from four months to a year to complete. It’s not an easy process, especially with public art projects, it’s a group effort. I have to create a plan and a proposal to get my idea approved and then transition my designs into a computer, which then go into a factory so we start to build the shape.
What exciting projects are you working on right now?
I am currently working on a public art project in Taiwan. It is located in a public recreation center with an olympic size swimming pool. It's made of stainless steel and auto-paint. The sculpture will resemble the moment a diver splashes into the water.