We had the good fortune of connecting with Suyu Chen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Suyu, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Fortunately, most of the struggles I faced in school were just assignments and my own artwork. After my student days were over, I had to figure out a way to maintain the time as well as motivation to keep creating work. I teach at college, attend craft shows, participate in exhibitions, design for commissions – I tried to experience as much as I can like other artists. This also means that I am not able to spend as much consistent time as a school student in making art, so I often need to work for it on weekends as well as other spare time. For me, it is difficult to balance the life and consistent creativity. However, from the experiences of peers and other established artists, it’s normal to take several years to find a career path that suits you. So even though I am in a very uncertain state of life, I am still very positive and keep reminding myself to focus the things you love while being open-minded to different opportunities and challenges.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve been practiced arts since 2011 and worked in art jewelry field for over 6 years. I am proud of that I am still making jewelry and turned it into my profession. Three years ago, I started to teach jewelry in the college by chance. It was a big challenge for me because I am not a native English speaker, so even though I was confident in my profession, there was always some timidity at the beginning. I have spent a lot of time working on methods to demonstrate the techniques in the most straightforward and vivid term. At the same time, the atmosphere of university classes is always diverse, communicating with students from different backgrounds allows me to maintain a curious mind which is the most important part of being an artist. For creators who are non-native English speaker, according to my experience, I believe that language is not what stops you from expressing yourself.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I guess Rochester is famous for Kodak and trasher plate? I also love the flea markets in upstate New York, lots of antiques and vintage outfits!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My professors Len Urso and Juan Carlos Caballero-Perez during my MFA studies at Rochester Institute of Technology, I wouldn’t go that far without their advice and encouragement. And my boyfriend Jiageng Lin as well as my friend Haolan Zhou, who are professional photographers and took care of the photography of my work, gave my works the best visual presentation.
A Study of Snow (necklace on body), Photo: Haolan Zhou, Model: Anna Leung Artificial Orbit 4 (circle shape necklace on body), Photo: Haolanzhou, Model: Anna Leung Other images by Jiageng Lin