I want to be an artist!!

      This is not the answer announced by an innocent kindergarten kid. It’s the most serious and earth-
shattering decision I made in my life – a decision which tears all the efforts I have done apart and may
turn my life upside down in the future. I, Kai-Min Hsiung, was twenty-six years old, an ordinary university
student who had graduated from one of the top business schools in Taiwan, and worked as an accountant
in different industries. Most of my classmates were preparing to embrace the beginning of their brilliant
future at that time. They served in famous companies, owned cars, got married, had stable incomes every
month, and lived as normal people that the society expected them to be. Am I crazy? Probably. However, all
artists are somewhat unreasonable, right? Sometimes I take this viewpoint to comfort myself. Even though,
the question of whether I have made the right decision or not still haunts me during these tiring nights.
I don’t have the answer. Fortunately or unfortunately, I am sure about one thing, that is, I have never
stopped my footsteps toward this definite goal – becoming an artist, although my well-trained conservative
accounting ways of thinking keep telling me that it’s better to give up an investment if all the present
and foreseeable expenses and possible losses are over the real gross revenues after careful evaluation.

      How can I do that?

      I was born in a middle class family. My parents both work in the post office. My father is very liberal.
He always encourages and assists my young sister and me to develop different interests. He doesn't care
very much about our schoolwork. In his opinion, a healthy personality is raised from a variety of values and
is superior to everything. It’s much different from the eastern parents’ traditional point of view about the
children’s education that nothing is more important than the grade. Therefore, my sister and I both had
happy childhoods. We all like drawing so my mother always prepared pens and papers for us. Our works
always won us the admiration from them and were put on the walls in the living room until the new ones
replaced them. This experience has a significant influence on both of us. It enriched our interests in art.
Now my sister is a painter and studying for her MFA degree in painting. Besides, we both have learned for
play the piano for more than ten years. I have sung in choruses for eight years and became the conductor
of the chorus in the university. These various experiences deeply cultivate and form my basic sense and
taste of art.

      However, I didn’t explore art further after graduating from the elementary school. I treated it as one
of my hobbies for a long time. It became a good way to release the pressure and balance my life. Afterward,
I faced the first important selection about my prospects – to determine which department to attend in the
university. As an eighteen-year-old boy, I didn’t know much about the world, the future, or even myself.
Finally I chose to go to the accounting department because it would be easy to find a job and make money
after graduation. I got good grades when leaving the university but had a strange feeling that accounting
wasn't really interesting to me. However, I didn’t put this feeling on my mind and went to the military
directly because I was required to. It was the first time I knew the suffering of being forced to do something
I don't like at all. During this period I began to draw computer graphics to smooth over my tension.

      In addition, while attending the university, I found a very strange phenomenon about my right hand. I
can't hold a pen stable while trying to write even a word. If I would like to do it, all the muscles of the
right arm tighten, my fingers twist, and my hand trembles. It really brought me a lot of frustrations and
inconvenience because I can’t take notes well and answer the examinations on time. Unfortunately studying
accounting requires lots of paper works. Maybe this bad experience had planted the seed of fear about
accounting in my subconscious. I didn’t realize that it was a special nervous-system-related disease called
Occupational Cramps until I was a senior. The doctor told me that there is no method to cure this disease
completely but hopefully it only happens when writing. Therefore, the only way to solve this problem is to
use the other hand to write. I have practiced hard for years. Now people think I’m left-handed if they don't
ask me. It also gave me a great opportunity to train my right brain.

      When I finished the suffering of army life, I started to ponder seriously on what I want to do with my
life at the age of 23. I spent three months studying 3D animation to relax and to see if it could be an
alternative to accounting. However, I gave up because I didn’t like it much. At that time, my kind and liberal
father gave an unbelievable suggestion to his perplexed son: why not taking a look at the world? Therefore,
while my father paid the money and I played the role as a guide, we went to Europe for a one-and-a-half
month budget tour. It was a fantastic trip and it really opened my eyes. In addition, I met two excellent
Taiwanese designers who were also on their own journey in Florence, Italy. This encounter was the overture
of my excitingart adventure. Nevertheless, I knew nothing about it at that time.

      After the trip, I started my job-hunting seriously. It was not hard. Soon I found an accounting position
in a well-known securities company. However, knowing that I have the ability to do it well, I didn’t have any
passion for this job. I could even imagine easily what I would be after thirty years – becoming a department
manager, living a routine life, and having a little fame and respect. There’s nothing more. That’s horrible.
I had a strange but strong feeling that this kind of career would definitely destroy me. I didn’t want to
consume tens of years only for the money. Therefore, it was not a happy period. 

      After resigning from my second job as an accountant, I realized that I couldn’t stay in the accounting
world anymore. A series of frustrations forced me to listen to my true internal voice – why not give it a
try inasmuch as I still had the passion for art? I was really excited to have enough courage to change my
direction finally. However, how could I get a start? The content of the art world is vast, but what I had at
that time was only the enthusiasm. Therefore, I had reached a simple conclusion – I needed a degree
in art. It could not only provide me the opportunity to study the knowledge about art but also could convince
people of my professional ability. Everything became easier with a clear goal. I focused on studying abroad
because these schools welcome people with different backgrounds more than the domestic colleges do.
Besides, the most important thing was to create works to build the portfolio. Luckily, one of the designers
whom I knew in Italy was willing to teach me graphic design one-on-one. However, the more I had studied
about how to make a good design, the more constrained I felt. This realization paralyzed my future in design.
At that moment, I heard that there were some fine art classes in the Taipei Fine Art Museum. Not until then
did I really find my path in my life, after searching for four years.



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