Albert Chi Hwang was born in 1979 in Oakland, California, the son of immigrants from Taiwan. An only child, he began drawing extensively from a very early age. Drawing has always allowed Hwang an escape from the boredom of solitude and has enabled him to convey his thought patterns more directly than any other medium. He considers drawing the “underlying thread” of all the visual arts.
Another activity that has played a profound role in Hwang’s work is playing the piano, which he began when he was nine. The benefits of music appreciation aside, playing the piano has given him a stronger grasp of the formal elements in his art through many years of studying music theory. Playing music has given his painting technique a stronger sense of rhythm and tempo. By making a mental note of the cadence between “strokes” (especially on larger abstract works), he is better able to gauge the parts of a picture in relation to the whole without having to continually stand back, which often slows momentum. Furthermore, through the discipline of practicing an instrument every day, he is keenly aware of the virtues of refining technique through repetition. In painting, this has yielded a certain craftsmanship to his work.
Growing up bilingual (Mandarin and English) has led to a certain duality that pervades his work. As a minority in America, he finds that his own race and ethnicity is something that is impossible to ignore and thus plays a significant role in forming his sense of self. Much of his work reflects his personal struggle of creating a balance between two very different cultures.
Hwang views his parents as playing different but defining roles in his work. His mother is a devout Christian who spends much of her time in the study of her religion, and her strong faith has made a lasting impression on his own concepts of creation and all that is metaphysical. Though Hwang considers himself an agnostic, he feels that there is a certain existential element that imposes itself upon his work through his own feelings of hope and despair. Hwang’s father is a mathematician who is more logical-minded with an inclination toward scientific principles. In an attempt to reconcile his own differences between intuition and intellect, two extremes which both parents in some way exemplify, Hwang often chooses themes based on the relationship between opposites (Circle and Square, Male and Female).
Hwang currently lives and paints in San Francisco, California where he enjoys running, reading, movies, and playing with his dog.
To view Albert’s art go to his website at: