Nana Chen Interview

I've just read Wayne Yang's "Nana Chen Interview" over at his blog, Eight Diagrams. Nana Chen, current e-Marginalia contributor and former travel editor par excellence, offers up some telling responses to Yang's prying questions. She offers an uninhibited snapshot of her itinerant existence:
"I left Taiwan when I was six. From then on, there were very feel constants in my life. As children we had no TV for many years and we rarely saw our parents. Having so much time to ourselves, it was natural to be creative. I rebelled against school, so that gave me even more time to get bored. As a result, I started knitting when I was seven, cooking at eight, gave my brother a horrendous afro perm at 11, got my first camera from a garage sale at 13 - just some of the things I remember doing. On weekends, I'd take pictures of my cousins and my brother while they posed in fashion disasters that I created each week. That was so exciting for me. The same year I started taking pictures, some girls at school were exchanging notebooks they'Â’d decorate the covers of, so I decorated one and suddenly became very popular..."
Born in Taipei (and currently back in Taipei), Nana has lived in the Philippines, Chile, Argentina, and the United States. Across the wandering years she directed her creativity more and more towards photography, painting and writing of which she says, "I suppose writing was a sane and acceptable way to talk to myself." It's intriguing to read those words from her since I've long felt like Nana's photography and painting are a sort of internal conversation. They're dynamic and filled with life as if the subject is not frozen in time but merely framed for improved visibility. I remember a time when I'd written Nana an email describing what I saw gliding past my window while riding the Amtrak train from Manhattan north along the Hudson River, Champlain Canal and Lake Champlain to my destination in the Adirondacks. A couple of weeks later I received two paintings in the mail, illustrations of the moving picture I had described. Abstractions as fluid and beautiful as if she'd distilled the entire "film" passing the train window into two frames. I keep the images by my desk for emergencies, two vibrant conversations that I can tap into for on-demand-inspiration! Her photography too conveys life rather than capturing it. She tells Yang:
"When I pick up my camera, I tend to focus on subjects related to people and food. I'Â’m currently shooting for a book project on Chinese food culture; it's bringing me closer to the street vendors or restauranteurs whom I've built a relationship with over the years. It will also take me to Hong Kong to shoot the markets and other food scene. I'm quite looking forward to that. Only thing about shooting food is: it'Â’s torture to know that with every shot I take, the food cools down just a degree more."
Kinetic photography is the result, whether it's food beckoning to be eaten or the vision of a colorfully clad woman hustling past a crumbling adobe wall that arrests your attention and makes you wonder. Nana recently accepted a position as WorldBeat Taipei Columnist for the South China Morning Post. She'll be contributing photos and 500 to 550 word columns about "weird art from Taipei" sharing her fresh perspective on art, art events and artists. Keep your eyes peeled for her first article, and the second installment of her interview with Wayne Yang that'll hopefully be showing up soon at Eight Diagrams.