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Artist creates a paper trail to the imagination

By Wang Qian | China Daily | Updated: 2022-07-20 10:40
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Paper is transformed into marine creatures and installation artworks in the skilled hands of Wen Qiwen.[Photo provided to China Daily]

From hobby to career

Fascinated by painting since childhood, Wen grew up in Guangzhou. At around the age of 9, she asked her mother to help her apply for a painting class at a children's activity center, because she wanted to work with pigments.

"At that time, my parents were both civil servants, who didn't know how to make a living through art. They kept telling me that it would be a road marked with difficulties. In their opinion, finding a good husband was a woman's route to happiness," Wen recalls, smiling.

When studying visual communication for her bachelor's degree at South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou in 2008, Wen first found her interest in paper at a book design class.

"The teacher asked us to collect various kinds of paper, which opened my mind about the material. Before the class, I took it as the most common thing in daily life, but the class work expanded my expectation on the medium's potential," Wen says, adding that she then began to use paper in her designs.

After graduating from the university in 2009, she found a job in design and insisted on keeping up her hobby of making paper art after work. In the following four years, she changed jobs on three occasions, from designer to artist assistant.

"The experience made me realize that there are various ways of living and we can think outside the box. As a result, I decided to take a gap year to devote more time to my paper art," Wen says.

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