Pursuing creativity

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Han Chang's Hennessy cognac tour in France in February. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Han Chang began studying architect before switching to jewelry designer.

When he was a freshman at Hebei University of Engineering, with a major in architecture, Han decided to follow his creative side. He always has a passion for painting since he was a child. He spent most of his spare time receiving professional training to paint. After he finished his first year at university, Han dropped out of the school and prepared to apply for art schools. Both his parents-his father works as a civil servant and his mother is a physician-were not supportive of their son's decision. However, Han was determined. He was enrolled to the Central Academy of Fine Arts where he studied from 2009 to 2013 and obtained a bachelor's degree.

Han Chang's latest series made of silver and copper alloy gold. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"There are things common between architect and jewelry designer. They both produce sophisticated designs and they design with high precision and exact measurements to exceed your expectations," says Han, 35."One of the differences between the two jobs is that an architect works with his team and a jewelry designer usually works alone, which also allows me to be creative and private."

During his study, Han met a group of veteran Chinese artisans, who showed Han the art of filigree inlaying, an intricate form of metalwork. It instantly intrigued the upcoming artist.

"As a contemporary artist, I am eager to learn more about traditional Chinese handicraft. It's like an old language, beautiful and mysterious, which can be seen by today's audience," says Han.

Han Chang works at his studio in Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

He also worked with a master of carving technology for about a year. The master not only taught Han about carving but also taught him to produce his own tools.

"He told me that he spent the first three years learning to produce various tools of carving technology during his apprenticeship," recalls Han. "It is incredibly intricate. A little too much strength can ruin an entire piece." In 2021, the artist became the winner of the "ingenuity of the hand" award founded in 2019 by China and France cultural exchange organization Yishu 8 and the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation's Golden Phoenix fund to help support handicraft art. Last year, 14 artists were nominated in the competition and four stood out, including Han.

"Through his work, Han has displayed his talent and his personality. He has an attitude about his design, which makes him promising," says Feng Mai, a professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, who recommended Han and his works for the Yishu 8 award.

As the award winner, Han won the opportunity to spend three months in Paris as part of an artist-in-residence program of Cité internationale des arts (an artists' residency founded in 1965 and which encourages cross-cultural dialogue and provides a place where artists can meet with the public and other professionals) from January to March, working with artists and scholars, as well as holding his exhibition. He visited museums, such as Musée Rodin, the Louvre, Musée Galliera and galleries.

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