When we live in a social role as human beings, we cannot avoid facing the issue of “majority” and “minority”. This society needs simple and quick classification to keep everything under the “order,” but the most interesting thing is that this is ambiguously contradictory to the current values which emphasize the individual’s independence, and I’m still thinking about it. A London-based Taiwanese mixed-media artist, Chia-En Sun, is known for her “left-handed” art world. Like the unbalanced male proportion for global leading roles, the social model and artistic model based on the majority of the right-handed population also reflect many symptoms that are worthy of further exploration. As a creator who isn’t limited by any media, Chia-En’s art language extends to photography, stage design, soft sculpture, costume design, and digital animation. Through her artworks, we can illustrate a female figure nurtured by both the East and West, and by the abundance of experiences in creating (such as art, window display, costumes, etc.), we can see how she interrogates the multiple aspects of life. Meanwhile, the most important thing is that she reflects the future generation, which is becoming increasingly diverse, unconventional, and limitless. This is the form of art we are looking for.
How would you describe your world of visual art in three words?
Fantasy, conflict and balance.
Let’s move on to your iconic feature in art communities, “left-hander”. How does this gift bring you to open the pioneering vision in art?
I’m very happy that you described being left-handed as a gift. It reminds me of the book I read, “左撇子的隱形優勢” (provisional translation: “The hidden advantage of being left-handed”), written by Dr. Toshinori Kato. Although I have been left-handed for many years and it seems normal to me (as an able-bodied person), when I have to navigate a world dominated by right-handers, it can feel like a disability, requiring me to take more time to adapt to the life order dominated by right-handed intuition. This means spending more time adjusting and learning the counter-intuitive order.
So, I want to create experiences for right-handers to engage with the order that we, as left-handers, have built. When I was an MA student at CSM, I tested my hypotheses by creating props and exploring the reflection of ocular habituation and visual communication among stakeholders. This data would help me understand the relationship between the left brain, right brain, and their visual inertia.
Returning to my original goal of enhancing the consciousness of the left-handed community, I created a miniature house model for left-handers. It is in sync with my artwork “Wonderland,” which was inspired by the story of Alice falling into the rabbit hole and discovering Wonderland. This artwork also served as my final project for my BA. This left-handed world is reminiscent of the Pandora planet shown in the movie “Avatar” – a natural and organic island belonging to left-handers.
After spending a lifetime in the United Kingdom over the past few years, how has this country inspired you? And do these experiences influence your artistic journey?
Compared to Taiwan, the UK is a country that is open to all kinds of existences; everything and everyone is accepted. Under the premise of freedom, you can create for yourself as you like. The UK attracts artists from all over the world, and audiences here are easily moved by creators’ deepest thoughts and emotions, regardless of the art theme or media used.
This atmosphere contrasts sharply with the social environment in Taiwan. Without excessive limitations or constraints, the UK offers more space and support for freedom and creativity. Even while working at a coffee shop, staff members have the opportunity to meet interesting individuals and learn a great deal from them through casual conversations. During my time in London, I gradually broke free from the artistic boundaries imposed by my native background, opening up a new, unrestricted path to explore and express my creativity.
As an artist, we must constantly explore and connect with our roots. So, what supports your ongoing exploration in England and art?
For me, it’s my dreams and beliefs. My life’s value lies in doing what I want to do; if I can’t, I fear becoming just another pollutant on the earth. Therefore, I make every effort to search for the meaning of life.
What artistic issue do you care about the most at present? And how would you break the boundary or push forward towards it?
Following the second question you asked me, I hope to raise public consciousness to experience the new social order formed and constructed by left-handed people. I aim to utilize my expertise in visual arts to attract public attention and convey my concepts through mixed media. For example, I could create set designs for fashion editorials or movies to resonate with audiences, making their reactions the primary and most direct means of influencing change.
Last but not least, please share your next art adventure with readers.
I wish I could collaborate with British set designer and creative director Shona Heath, who commands my huge respect and admiration, to create the next masterpiece like the movie Poor Things. Additionally, there are thousands of talents I want to work with for my further adventures in this inspired country, the United Kingdom.
Born in 1985 in Taichung, Taiwan.
Currently lives and works in London, UK.
Phoebe Sun is a left-handed mixed-media artist currently residing in London. She specialises in soft sculpture installation art, stage design, and visual design. She is renowned for her dedication to exploring the potential advantages of left-handed awareness in industries predominantly dominated by right-handed individuals.
Through her quirky and unique viewpoint and mastery of various mediums, Phoebe Sun continues to challenge norms and pushing the boundaries of creativity.