For Ichen Wu Jiang, Chinese painting and calligraphy is the way to her heart. She has been teaching this subject for 19 years and says she has found her true passion in life in her work.
The fine arts and interior design major founded Ichen Art Academy in 1997. Her studio is the first comprehensive art institute dedicated to Chinese-Western art education in the Bay Area of San Francisco.
“I really like to share my passion of art to other students. Throughout the years, I get to see my students grow up and go to college, often to art colleges,” Jiang said. “I am very happy we make a difference in their lives.”
Jiang initially began her work as an interior designer in Florida, but soon realized it wasn’t the best fit for her artistic nature.
“I loved it, but you have to treat customers according to their taste, which may not be yours. You have to adapt to what they like,” said Jiang. “I am an artist person and I like to like my work.”
Jiang started teaching in her home studio with just two students. Today, the academy has expanded to two locations in California, one in Fremont and the other in Pleasanton.
The students range in age from toddler to adult, with all levels of experience. Students can choose classes such as
children’s art exploration, children’s creative art, watercolor and oil painting.
“Teaching is like sharing with other people. I love my job,” Jiang said. “I think the most fortunate thing you can do is something with your life you really love. I feel really lucky to have that.”