Interior art and jewelry designer Jiang Qionger describes herself as a world artist after dividing her time between her native Shanghai and Paris for nearly a decade.
Her chunky, alternative-style signature necklaces can be bought in stores along the Bund and in Xintiandi. They feature designs born from her everyday observations, such as when strolling around Shanghai's busy sidewalks, or quieter moments spent at bohemian French caf??s.
Showing a strong penchant for basic materials, Jiang is the daughter of the man who designed both the Shanghai Museum and the Shanghai Fine Arts Museum, as well as taking charge of extensive renovations on the Bund. Her exhibits meanwhile have left footprints at galleries around the world.
In China, she has led numerous workshops at the Suzhou River Gallery and Moghanshan Road. Selected as one of nine artists to design a diamond for Forevermark's Previous Collection, the 33-year-old's latest project aims to bring back the values of traditional Chinese craftsmanship through a series of high-end interior designs.
Shanghai Star Weekend reporter Nina Kong spoke with Jiang about her work.
Q: So my first question is: Why Paris?
A: In my last year of university, I traveled to Europe alone and there was just something about France that deeply touched me.
Being in France is inspirational, and it also allows you to explore other European cities. It provides access to a whole new world of artistic expression.
Q: How does working in France compare to working as a Chinese artist with French influences in Shanghai?
A: In France, people consider me French, whereas in China, people think of me as Chinese. I am like a fish in (not out of) water.
Creatively, the Chinese cultural influence is in my blood. I've been doing ink and brush painting as well as Chinese calligraphy ever since I was a young child.
But the freedom of European culture also runs through my veins.
Influences from both worlds come together naturally when I design. This helps me relate to Chinese audiences, who appreciate my deeply-rooted Chinese culture, but who are at the same time impressed with how well-integrated I am into French culture. Likewise in France, I bring Chinese culture to them. I'm happy to have this cross-cultural artistic identity in both places.
Q: How do both cultures shape your designs?
A: My influences are all spiritual. So to be honest, I don't really decipher the two. They kind of just mesh together for me so it's hard to attribute particular designs to my French background or to Chinese culture.
Q: Given the differences between the two styles, is your work meant to show that they can co-exist?
A: I think designs reflect the designer's personality more than anything else.
In Chinese, we have a saying, hua ru qi ren. It means the drawing is a reflection of the artist. When it comes to jewelry and interior design, designers - Shanghainese or French - will always have differing styles because their reflections will vary. But yes, it can definitely all co-exist, as it does in my work.