JJ Chen, VDXX

Bio
JJ is a Taiwanese animated film director who was born in Paris and raised in Brussels, Belgium, where he spent most of his lifetime -27 years- with his Taiwanese parents.

He studied and graduated in Brussels from one of the most famous national art university called ENSAV (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels) La Cambre, in animation movies directing.

Due to his upbringing, he speaks in French at a native level, fluent in English, and can speak relatively fluently chinese, although his reading and writing are more limited..

Raised in a western country, but curious about his own cultural roots, he discovered step by step the beauty of the chinese traditional arts during his animation studies days, and since then, had merged those 2 arts on several occasions in animated chinese paintings. His painting style is definitely chinese inspired (he emphasises the importance of composition within a vast blank space), although with a more modern approach, by adding in his paintings a more contemporary dynamism he learned as an animator.

After getting his Master degree in animation film directing, he came to Taiwan for more than 9 years now, and has been working on various fields such as directing animated music videos (such as the MV for DJ Code, Asia River, which won the AMP Award 2012 of best music video, and was screened at the international animation film festival of Brussels : Anima) and advertisements, working on storyboard and postproduction (FX, compositing, and editing) for a Taiwanese animated TV series and an animated feature film in 2012, and was director of animation from end of 2013 to August 2015 on a mobile phone game called Last City, now available on the Apple store.

On the side, he has also participated into the 39 hours of Tainan and the 48h of Taipei for the past 4 years, having taking part in the production of 6 shorts movies, at various levels of the process (scripts, storyboard, acting, directing, special effects, animation, editing…).

Thanks to all these accumulated experiences, he has now extended expertise on visual storytelling, and has done several workshops at various universities about this topic (Asia University in Taichung ; Becoming community, NTUA and Fujen University in Taipei ; Hsi Chien University in Kaohsiung).

The past 3 years, he gradually switched career towards another passion of his : Photography.
His background in animation (observing life in all its tiniest details in order to recreate it, and capturing movement) is a fundamental base for his photography, where he excels at capturing the spirit of the moment. It is also the reason why he much prefers to focus on street or event photography rather than still portraits.

After having been in Taiwan for a couple of years, and thanks to his good friend Tobie, JJ gradually got interested in indigenous cultures on the island, and is actively seeking to document events with them whenever he can.

His series of photographs here were taken during the 2015 Sur’Aw Indigenous Fashion Show, set in the mountains of Miaoli, in a National park. It was the last of a series of 5 annual fashion show, organized by two Atayal artists, Yuma, PHD in the research of traditional indigenous costumes, and Baunay, a photographer also specializing in traditional indigenous costumes. The organizers invited several designers not only from Taiwan, but also from Japan, Korea, and Russia, to be inspired by Taiwanese indigenous costumes and give it a modern touch.

The goal was to organize an event that blends tradition and modernity, so that young people who went to town to find work could all gather back again for a worthy project in their own birthplace, and get back in touch with their traditions while doing something resolutely modern.

Jean-Jacques Chen
chen.jien.chun@gmail.com

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