Hua Chen was born in 1952 in Shanghai, China. He is best known for capturing the timeless beauty of music and the female form in his signature, ethereal style. Chen attended the Anhui Teacher’s University in Anhui, China from 1973-1976 where he earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art. He continued his education at the Central Institute of the Fine Arts in Beijing, China, where he earned a master of fine arts degree in sketching, watercolor, and oil painting.
Growing up in such a westernized portion of China, Chen was exposed to an array of American and European culture that he might not have seen elsewhere. His father was a very famous sculptor in China, and his work is still on view today. Chen also grew up at the time of the Cultural Revolution in China (1966-1976), which was initiated by Mao Zedong, removing all forms of capitalist possessions from Chinese culture. For Chen, this meant less exposure to the arts of Europe and America. It was a strange time for the young artist because, growing up with a parent sculptor, he had been raised to appreciate the western arts and was frustrated that so much was being destroyed.
Chen began to paint from what inspired him. He explains that painting is just like life. Like a child on the beach, trying to squeeze a handful of sand, you must relax. He says that if you squeeze too tightly, the sand will fall to the ground. Chen realizes he must relax and let his imagination create.
Chen goes in very early in the morning and begins his day quietly, staring at his blank canvases. He likes to spend time letting his imagination wander, finding inspiration in the endless possibilities for each work. His happiest moments are when the canvas is still blank, finding out what he wants to put there.
Chen paints in a delicate style, covering the spectrum of female figures and temperaments without being overly provocative. His figures are ethereal, subtle, and ageless, floating within layers of calming pastels.
He paints the colors of his memories. The Chinese countryside, the fields and towns, and all the places he’s traveled make their way into his art. Chen also collects children’s art because he appreciates its honesty and innocence. What they see is very naïve and he admires this perspective.
Elements of Asian culture are still found in his paintings but Chen is deeply inspired by artists like Degas, de Kooning, and many abstract artists. Although he doesn’t always feel like he can relate to these creators, he finds inspiration in their work. He also remembers farming in the countryside during the height of the Cultural Revolution, after he was forbidden to attend school. These emotions and memories are what drive his art.
Chen left China for the United States in the late 1990s where his art career continued to flourish. For more than 10 years, he’s enjoyed working with Park West, sharing his experiences and art with millions of international collectors. He believes that, for an artist, it’s important to know that someone can understand your paintings. He’s received numerous emails from collectors that explain what his paintings mean to them – that certain women in his work remind them of women in their lives – and that is incredibly special to him. He has said that he likes working with Park West so much because of the wonderful relationship he can establish with his collectors.
He gained recognition among critics and collectors and was included in the national directory, “Artists of Chinese Origin in North America.” He has earned several titles and awards including Chairman of Anhui Oil Painting Research Association in China and is a member of the Artists Association of China.
Chen was honored to be an artist of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team and to create official artwork for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Sparked by the movement of Olympic gymnasts, Chen thought the movement of each athlete and the way they performed their routines was the most representative of the splendor of the Olympic Games. He has exhibited his work in one-man shows in Japan, China, Hawaii and the continental United States, and his work is among the permanent collection of the National Art Museum of China.
Selected Awards include: 3rd Prize, National Exhibition of Fine Arts, China in 1980; and 3rd Prize, National Exhibition of Fine Arts, China in 1985.
Selected Exhibitions: China Art Museum – Permanent Collection; Art Forum Gallery – Honolulu, Hawaii; Metropolitan Art Gallery – Maui, Hawaii; Fuji Gallery – Tokyo, Osaka, Kawasaki, and Yokohama, Japan; Honolulu Art Gallery, Honolulu, Hawaii; and Art Expo in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.