My name is Akina Zhang. I was born in Beijing, China and immigrated to Vancouver, Canada with my parents when I was 14 years old. I completed elementary school and part of secondary school in Beijing, and then finished secondary school and earned bachelor degree in Vancouver. I graduated with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Design from Emily Carr University of Art+Design. Now I am in the third year of my Master of Fine Arts program in Jewelry & Metal Arts in Academy of Art University. During my undergraduate degree I was exposed to a lot of woodworking techniques, and combined with the theoretical knowledge of industrial design, my designs are usually more focused on structure, functionality, practicality and user experience. Under the constraints of ergonomics, the first purpose of successful industrial design is to serve human beings, not to freely express the creative-thoughts of designers. After a period of thinking after graduation, I chose to transfer to a major in Jewelry Design for my graduate degree.
To me, jewelry is not merely still or sparkling gemstones with no life. Instead, I view each piece as an active, animated entity from the pure creation and countless jobs of talented designers. How are they designed and crafted? Where does the concept come from? I believe that curiosity inspires everything and keeps in passionate about an industry. At the same time, I am also thinking: who am I? where am I from? What made me who I am today? I never thought that my life experience was special, but I have to admit that the experience of immigrating from China to Canada made me think about the collision and fusion of different cultures. Under the influence of traditional Chinese aesthetics, Chinese history is often used as a mirror in my works, which has also become one of the directions of my future works.
In the past two years of online learning in AAU, I have learned more about the possibilities and diversity of jewelry design and production. There are also more and more people combining traditional metalworking techniques and exploring new materials and aesthetics. The audience's high acceptance of materials and forms also stimulates the designer's creativity. This is a complementary process. I also look forward to constantly challenging old aesthetic standards while using new materials.