“Ai-lin” Chang is an attorney-turned artist.
Though Ai-lin’s creative spirit always has inspired her and
others, she never in her wildest dreams would have supposed that she would
be the force behind Ailin Art.
She sought out her art a few years ago through serendipity – and
a difficult personal journey. But
that turning point was an epiphany for Ai-lin and would catapult her into
a world of new possibilities.
Chinese and family legacies have been a strong influence in her life.
Her grandfather headed the Bank of China and was a government
minister in pre-1949 China. Her
family lost everything when they left China, but not hope and courage.
Ai-lin was born in Taipei and arrived in New York City in 1968 at
age 7. Not knowing any
English, she quickly caught up with the language and the American dream.
Ai-lin had pulls from both the rational and creative sides. When she was
12, she had her work displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Ai-lin worked her way through Harvard University and Columbia Law
School. Though she
practiced law for a number of years on Wall Street, at the Office of the
Governor of New York and for a major biotech company, one of her mentors
encouraged Ai-lin always to have something of her own.
That “something” would be the expression of her strong artistic
time, she found that her artistic expression gave her balance and life.
Ai-lin returned to her art a few years ago as she struggled through
a life-shaping experience. When she could, she poured her thoughts and emotions into
creating her mixed media assemblages.
Art gave Ai-lin access to her inner voice. Art was instrumental in Ai-lin’s recovery.
It was the expression of Ai-lin’s sheer force of will.
It gave her hopes and dreams when all seemed lost.
creative process was a way for Ai-lin to work through very powerful
thoughts and emotions. Many
of the earlier works that emerged chronicle the inner struggles that Ai-lin
had grappled with. In The
Unknown, a figure is lone and alone as the storm beckons – with the
possibility of refuge, unknown. Daybreak
was the first breakthrough from the darkness.
Winter into Spring was a metaphor for the stage in Ai-lin’s
recovery when she wanted to gain strength and move into spring – but was
still stuck in winter. Other
dreamscapes express soothing and celebratory images that guided Ai-lin to
reclaim her health and spirit. The
artist’s more recent works mirror her renewed strength.
In After the Firestorm, all
treasures seem lost in a great firestorm.
But all is not lost as life and hope emerge from the storm.
Her work, Soaring, embraces the soaring freedom of flight. It is also perhaps a metaphor for the rebirth of
possibilities for Ai-lin – that she can soar again.
And in Gathering, it is
time to gather the strength of the human spirit for harvests to come.
assemblages emerged as part of a life-transforming experience – and my
own very personal journey to recovery.
But I believe that the thoughts and emotions evoked by my
assemblages will resonate in the hearts and minds of my contemporary
audience. We all have moments of difficulty, fear, self-doubt and
contemplation. We all have
moments of exclamation, celebration and renewal.”
the same time that Ai-lin sought refuge in her art, she found a unique way
to transfer the life force within, to her assemblage art.
Art became Ai-lin’s destiny.
As Ai-lin moves forward with new possibilities before her, her
assemblage art will surely evolve as well.
The artist lives in California’s Mediterranean, where the open
sky, California light, the great Pacific, and canyons of the Santa Monica
mountains have given her much inspiration.
Flirting with the unknown.
To the visceral call within.
has developed a distinct ethereal style of assemblage art.
The artist uses a play of mixed media – fiber, wood, metal, stone
and glass, and found objects – layered and juxtaposed to explore the
textural landscapes and dreamscapes of life.
The media chosen have texture—and convey the luster, richness,
vibrancy and etherealness of life. Each work has a sculptural quality and seems to breathe a
life of its own. Her colors
are strong and vivid, yet peaceful.
Ai-lin’s mixed media assemblages capture the complex range of
thoughts and emotions within us. In
Unraveling the Mysteries, a harlequin is beside a willow tree
amidst parting skies. The
partial unveiling of the harlequin’s organza head wrap symbolizes what
is beyond our powers to understand or explain.
In Winter Into Spring, the reticent stillness of the
snow-dusted spiral stairway segues into poignant urgings of the heart.
The heart wished to move forward into spring but was still stuck in
Found objects and materials appear in Ai-lin’s assemblages in
unexpected and imaginative ways. In
Gathering, an exotic sample frame corner becomes the cornice of a
portal. A pair of bulbous
drapery tassels is transformed into women emerging from the portal with
harvest-filled pots above their heads.
In If, the juxtaposition of floating sky-blue French
ribbons, eucalyptus bark and tiles with a wave-like pattern represents the
various elements of life in the artwork’s supposition of life beyond
this earth world.
Ai-lin’s own photographs are often set in the assemblages to
serve as a unifying narrative for each work.
In By the Light of the Moon, a pair of photographs of a tree
swaying in the shadows melded with intertwined willow branches and torn
bark paper become the subject tree swaying by the light of the moon.
In The Lost Kingdom, a duplicate pair of photographs of
cut-marble windows overlooking a distant hill and sky appear as windows
into time to a lost civilization or to what once was. In The Unknown, a duplicate pair of photos of stormy
skies sets the central ominous tone for the crouched lost figure.
The subject of each work extends beyond the borders of the textured
matting – connoting freedom and the fluidity of life.
It is an affirmation that we need not be boxed in.
Each assemblage is set within a shadow box where it dances with the
play of light within.
The artist works closely with the top-notch framing
professionals at Frames By You in Thousand Oaks, California (see www.framesbyyou.com)
to custom mat and frame each work. (Note:
Besides use of the shadow box for preservation and ease of
maintenance, the artist uses high-quality materials, including acid-free
paper and appropriate adhesives, to enhance the archival quality of the
Moreover, in the tradition of the ancient Chinese scholar-poets who
composed poetry right next to their brush paintings, each of Ai-lin’s
assemblages is accompanied by a poem written by the artist and reflective
of the work.
Ai-lin’s assemblage art is the
confluence of the creative freedom of collage, the medium’s visual and
tactile sensuality, a sculptural quality drawn from Ai-lin’s earlier
life drawings, and of course, the sense and sensibilities of the artist