Ikebana! An interview with Hsi Chen

Hsi Chen is an Ikebana artist based in Taipei, Taiwan. She is learning Ikebana, which is a form of Japanese flower arrangement. Originating from Tokyo, Japan, the SŌGETSU (草月流) school of Ikebana is known for its very modern and outstanding style. Before she became captivated by the world of flowers, she majored in fashion design and worked in the garment industry. Since she is a rookie in the art circle, she tries very hard to find her own way of expressing art in a busy life by doing flower arrangements and photographing them. Someday in the future, she hopes her artwork, which demonstrates the beauty of flowers merged into the digital / film world, can be seen by people from around the world. Instagram: @ch.hsi

KALTBLUT: How would you explain Ikebana in your own words?

Hsi: Ikebana for me is the way to escape from my anxious life. I think Ikebana is not only containing flower arrangement skills, but also a way that Ikebana artists could express their own personality, which is converted by flowers arranging to the viewer. No matter what kind of conception the artist want to express, you can decipher it in your mind, while you are looking at a piece of work. After that, trying to merge the feeling of the moment, that is how Ikebana works on me.

KALTBLUT: Where do you get inspiration from for the work you do?

Hsi: It was the first time I came in contact with Ikebana when I travelled to Kyoto. I decided to learn Ikebana when back in Taiwan and engage myself in the field of flowers in the future.  SŌGETSU is one of the styles in Ikebana schools, which features very liberal aesthetics. This freedom was the main reason for me choosing this style to major in. My works are inspired by daily life that expresses the feeling of an imperfect condition when dealing with “art”. In Japanese, this term is known as Wabi-Sabi. We all encounter different obstacles through the way we explore the meaningful ingredients in our life, especially in art. For me, I’m an average worker in a big garment corporation. I want to use my unique sense of expression that “You are not able to possess some objects, so you seek another way to achieve the same result.” Due to limited resources, I began to learn how to make outstanding art utilizing the lowest budget. After lots of seeking, I found that Ikebana is the best way for me to reveal my passion and patience.

KALTBLUT: Which flower do you most like to use and why?

Hsi: I like to try a different kind of plants so that my works could be more diverse. I cannot assert to which kind of flower I like to use the most. The important things I care in observers’ eyes are the balanced colour tone and making people feel visually comfortable gazing at them for a long time. In order to create a peaceful sight, I tend to choose flowers with mid-tone colours, such as pine-bark and warm-grey.

KALTBLUT: What was the most challenging piece you have worked on and why?

Hsi: At this stage, I create all works independently on my own. I don’t need to care about what other people think, so it’s a kind of amazing phase for me, very pure and innocent. What I want to break through now, is to find a chance collaborating with other artists. I think more inspirations will show up when talking or connecting with people in various fields. Furthermore, I can absorb different skills and transform them into tools that help me utilize Ikebana.

KALTBLUT: How would you describe your work process?

Hsi: It’s the most peaceful moment for me spending time with flowers, and I can face myself with honesty and also reduce impurity in my mind.

KALTBLUT: What is your dream regarding your art? What do you wanna do more?

Hsi: It’s a bit of a cliché to say I wanna be an artist, but I think everyone should be an artist in living their own life. I love Ikebana and flowers, so no matter which kind of routes I take, I would like to combine my art with my daily life.  In the future, I hope that Ikebana is not just the routine I do on the weekend. And I want to create a space to teach people who are interested in Ikebana in order to help them relax for a moment.