Born in Taiwan, Cindy Chao studied in New York before returning to Taipei in 2004. She founded CINDY CHAO, The Art Jewel the same year and, since then, the brand has garnered a reputation for turning out intricately crafted one-of-a-kind pieces, seen in acclaimed shows like Biennale des Antiquaires and Masterpiece London. Below we asked her about her aims, inspirations and hobbies.
The best and most important lesson I learned recently was when I broke my leg while travelling abroad and needed to wear a plaster cast for more than three months. It was such a frustration, because I could not dedicate myself fully to my creative process, and as it stopped me walking fast and free. Just going from my office to the elevator was a journey.
Nevertheless, I learned to slow down a bit both in my professional and personal life as I needed to grow more patient with myself. Additionally, I realised that health is the foundation on which success is built.
So my main personal goal for 2019, now that I have fully recovered, is keeping fit and staying healthy. This is also the lesson I have shared with my team. Since July, my company has launched yoga sessions twice a week to offer my employees a retreat from work pressure. When time permits, I join them to enjoy a moment of physical and spiritual tranquillity.
My professional goal for 2019 relates to the 15th anniversary of my brand CINDY CHAO, The Art Jewel. This milestone reflects my determination to build the brand, and my team’s ability to do so. I am glad we have been invited to participate at TEFAF Maastricht in March 2019, one of the world’s leading art fairs.
My aspiration is to continue to promote the concept of jewellery art through this highly recognised platform to a wider audience of collectors and connoisseurs.
In terms of new places I am travelling to in 2019, I have never been to Maastricht before – it’s a very historic city and I’m excited to be there for TEFAF.
My newest big idea, in design terms for my brand, relates to my 2018 Black Label Masterpiece VII “Flower Bud Brooch”, which we unveiled at the Masterpiece London Art Fair last year.
Last year I learned to slow down a bit both in my professional and personal life as I needed to grow more patient with myself
Capturing the moment of birth of a new life through a blossoming bud, the piece features cabochon emeralds of various sizes and shades of green that are enclosed, yet growing from within a diamond-drifted titanium floret. The setting method gives the piece a dynamic touch that, for me, is beyond three-dimensional. I am looking forward to extending this approach to my new collection for 2019.
The person who most influences me in design art is Joel Arthur Rosenthal, who has always been inspirational for me. The way he employs diverse, unconventional materials in his pieces has opened up new possibilities for jewellery design. As a jeweller, I find his approach both experimental and avant-garde. While his artwork may not have been widely understood immediately, today he is regarded as the pioneer of jewellery art.
My favourite guilty pleasures in life are steak, cheese and red wine. These are enjoyable on their own, but when paired together transcend each other and create a sensation on my palate that is of great comfort.
My happy place, where I feel most relaxed and at ease, is my homeland of Taiwan, even though I have travelled around the world for two decades. In my spare time I enjoy simply staying at home in Taipei – for me this is a very unusual luxury, now that most of my time is invested in my work.
My favourite tech aid is my iPad. For me it is incredible that such a device can be so thin and lightweight while containing all the applications that one may need for everyday life.
My style essential would be an item from Hermès. I actually prefer not to let myself be defined by external material. But with brands such as Hermès the essence of craftsmanship that is emphasised in many of its products resonates with me and my brand vision – wonderful things take time to accomplish!