My wife Lucia and I were born in Taiwan during Japanese colonization and war in the 1940’s. It was the so-called “Cultural Desert” – a time when arts and culture were scarce and suppressed by martial law. As a young boy, I remember memorizing every worn page of the fifty art books that a local dentist had smuggled in from Japan. At 14 years old, I decided to be an artist and to go to Paris to become a great painter. I consumed all the fine art, literature and music that I could get in that impoverished time, and fed my soul with their beauty. I made my friends among those creative minds who had left us all a legacy of their masterpieces. Though everyone in Taiwan was extremely poor materially at that time, I felt that the arts made me very rich. In fact, I was always very happy as I nurtured myself with these masterpieces and with the joy that came from my own painting and writing. I believe that immersing myself in even the little bit of art that was available to us at that time, made me into a passionate, intelligent, creative man with a great love for our Humanity and our world.
In 1963, I obtained a scholarship from the French government and went to study in France. I earned a Master degree in French Contemporary Literature and a Doctoral degree on the History of Modern Art at La Sorbonne (University of Paris) while spending seven years at l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Cultural study and artistic creation kept me in balance. In 1969, upon seeing the American astronauts land on the moon, I felt that we, as humankind, were entering into a new era, an Age of Love. I felt that the cultural ecology of the whole world was shifting from divergence to convergence, and that the whole world was becoming “one.” And this “oneness,” this world family has been blessed by the Arts. Our world culture is enriched by the creations of artists of all races, from all continents, of all times and space, in all media. I then established my view of “Five-Dimensional World Culture” (with Soul as the fifth dimension), and also initiated my art style of “Neo-Iconography” to represent this new “Global Village” we live in. Such a new art style/school inspired me to paint many series of paintings, such as “Art For Humanity,” “The Spirit of Liberty,” “Post – Van Gogh,” “East-West,” “Venus,” “Cardplayers,” “Napoleon,” “Princess Diana,” “Jade Mountain,” “9/11” etc.
Out of my love for Taiwan, I participated in the democratization movement of Taiwanese abroad and helped to found the World Federation of Taiwanese Associations and became its Secretary-General for 6 years. By doing so, I was blacklisted by the KMT regime in Taiwan, and I could not return to my homeland for 21 years. I moved from France to the USA in 1975 and only returned to Taiwan in 1984 after more than two decades of separation from my family. Since then, I fly back and forth between New York and Taipei constantly. In Taiwan, I conducted several nationwide art tours, including a three-year exhibition of my “Sacred Jade Mountain, Love and Peace” campaign, dedicated to the spiritual renewal of the Taiwanese people.
With a mixture of Asian, European, and American influences, I grew very conscious of being a “World Citizen”– an increasing phenomenon among our cultures today. This kind of conscious awakening in the individual paves a way for a Global Culture based on Love, Peace and Tolerance for all. I am honored to be frequently invited to attend international conferences, exhibit my art, lecture on my philosophy, and conduct cultural diplomacy for the East and the West.
In 1996, together with my beloved wife Lucia, we opened a non-profit organization in SoHo, NYC called the T.F. Chen Cultural Center to promote a “Global New Renaissance in Love” and East-West Cultural Exchange. In 1998, I was invited to lecture and exhibit at the prestigious State of the World Forum and became a member of “Our Common Enterprise” in the Cultural Section, to initiate cultural and art programs in the world.
In 2001, I was honored as the first artist-painter to receive a Global Tolerance Award (through the Friends of the United Nations) and was designated a Cultural Ambassador for Tolerance and Peace. In 2005, the Taiwanese-American Foundation honored me with the Humanities Achievement Award (also known as the “Taiwanese Nobel Prize”), for my lifelong service to uplifting the Taiwanese people, as well as in advocating Cultural Harmony for all.
I am now 70 years old. My beloved wife Lucia and I have dedicated our lives to promoting Art and Culture. We have always viewed the Arts as a powerful vehicle towards enriching our individual souls, shaping our good character, and advancing this Global Culture of Peace.
We invite you to join us in adding your SOULWARE to our new Age of Love! Your contribution and involvement in the “Arts for Humanity World Tour,” will help to make a better world.