“The Golden Child”
About 6 months ago, I was presented with an amazing opportunity to design a Faberge Egg that would be publicly shown and auctioned for charity. I was so honored at the moment that I did not immediately realize the significance of such an amazing project. As I accepted the offer, I learned how I would be 1 of 250 of the world’s leading creative working on this project. At first it was a huge sense of pride and excitement to be mentioned with this group of individuals. Then reality set in and I began to feel the anxiety of competition. I would be set amongst the world’s greatest artists, and my egg needed to be able to stand on its own. Coming from a fashion background I felt that I was an underdog. The other artists involved were the world’s greatest painters and sculptors. As I began to brainstorm ideas, I convinced myself that I could not paint or sculpt my egg because this was not my immediate expertise. I also felt it would be somewhat disrespectful and egotistical of me to think that I could possible paint or sculpt an item as well as these amazing artists who have dedicated their lives into a specific craft. Feeling under armed for this battle, I began to challenge my own mind and abilities. I learned to realize that I’m not actually a clothing designer or just a photographer or just an interior designer – my specialty was concept design. In all my endeavors, whether clothing or cars – or a photograph or a retail store – I look at the entire scope of a project and I try to give something new meaning or infuse a new concept. My work is never just what it looks like on the surface but there are many layers and details underneath. Everything has a very methodical approach and reason for being there. I then began to feel confidence in my vision and myself. My egg needed to stand for my concepts, my inspirations, my vision, and me. If I stayed true to what I always believed in – this would be an opportunity to communicate my message on a big stage. With this understanding I felt that my work could be shared with the rest of these great minds. Something that everyone could appreciate and also allow others to gain a better understanding of my perspectives on life and art and people as a whole. The egg is titled “The Golden Child” – the nickname I was coined very early in my career. The name conjures up ideas of royalty and history and my Chinese cultural upbringing. It also signifies my abilities in bringing together the western and eastern worlds. This global fusion of culture and perspectives is an underlying concept that runs across all my work. So the first step to making my egg was quite natural. I hand gilded the entire egg in 24K German Double Gold Leaf. This gold stands for the golden child and stands for luxury, but also serves as the heart or yoke of the egg. It was a way to embrace luxury without showing off. This gold layer intended to be covered. Similar to my aesthetic in fashion design, I enjoy using the world’s best and most expensive materials in a way for the user to enjoy and not necessarily for showmanship. There is a humbleness and reservation to how this luxury is implemented. For the second phase of the egg I acquired a Chinese antique – a pair of amazing fine china vases that were sculpted by one of Chairman Mao Zedong’s master porcelain masters. Mr. Yang Guang Yuan is still alive today, and is also one of the masters who crafted the 7501 series porcelain set that is now considered one of the most important porcelain series in the history of China. Although he had not produced pieces in recent times – the art he created over his career are showcased in the Palace Museum in Beijing and the Jingdezhen Museum of Porcelain, he is currently considered one of the greatest living porcelain masters in the world. These vases were then transported to my NYC studio where they were smashed. At first thought this process may be perceived as disrespectful to Chinese culture and art. But I felt that this shock was necessary in communicating my message. The pieces are then refractured into smaller natural break mosaic pieces. It is important to note that not one piece is alike. Each individual piece has different break points, angles, and the curves of each piece are different depending on which part of the vase they come from. Each piece is then hand set onto the golden egg. The process was similar to recreating a jigsaw puzzle by matching all the correct angles and curve lines to fit perfectly onto the egg and to appear as the original break lines were put back together. However, the trick is that none of the pieces are actually in its original place – so an entirely new pattern and art work is created via a blueprint of mosaic pieces all set equidistant apart (approximately 3mm in between each piece). The results are quite beautiful; a new modernized aesthetic appears, seemingly tying together a culture of thousands of years of tradition meeting the future of a globalized modern society. From my perspective I did not destroy the original work. Instead through this process the old art is transformed into a new body for a new audience and new world that most likely would have never paid attention to it. Underlying this project was a message I wanted to communicate. Being raised traditionally Chinese, as a child, my parents would force me to learn about my culture and heritage. I was required to learn about traditional Chinese art, dress form, food, and music. Whether or not I liked it, my family felt it was important to know where I come from. I was taught to always respect the history and understand why things were made and what the purposes of these things were. In 2014, I feel that this respect of the past has been somewhat lost by society and mass commercialism. The youth now speaks about artists as they were local celebrities and art that I was taught to admire now are simply tools in commercialism (via tees, reprints, to anything that can generate a dollar). My frustration wasn’t the sale of items, but more about the lack of education. Few actually make an effort to learn about the history behind the art, why the art was significant, and what its purpose was in time and how it has affected us. Something as simple as a fine china vase that has been produced for thousands years the same way – does anyone know why? I hope that people will enjoy this egg and also dig a little deeper. I hope everyone asks “why?” and we can begin the natural desire to learn more about something while respecting its history. The world is becoming smaller and I think it’s becoming ever more important to understand our roots and celebrate our vastly different histories because it is due to these traditions and experiences that we are where we are today – an amazing world of one people sharing and enjoying each others cultures, synergies, and ideas.