Photo by Mack Sullivan

Biography

Candy Chang is a Taiwanese-American artist whose work uncovers the psychological layers within communities. Merging the civic and the sacred, her practice includes installations, paintings, and videos generated from thousands of handwritten reflections from the public. Testimonies of desire, dread, sorrow, hope, and courage are surfaced in shared spaces that challenge norms of visibility and offer new modes of communion.

She is most known for Before I Die, which has been created in over 5,000 cities in over 75 countries. The Atlantic called it “one of the most creative community projects ever.” Trained in architecture, design, and urban planning, Chang began creating street art while running a record label and then applied these tactics to new forms of civic engagement. I Wish This Was was featured in the Venice Architecture Biennale and led to a Rockefeller Tulane University Urban Innovation Fellowship to develop Neighborland, a civic engagement tool used by over three million people. After struggling with grief, the focus of her work shifted to the state of our psyches. After the End, a communal ritual that reckons with loss, was a New York Times Critic’s Pick. She has also created secular spaces for confession, a monument of over 50,000 anxieties and hopes, and electrified shrines that introduce emotional barriers into the public sphere. Her work has been exhibited in the Venice Architecture Biennale, Smithsonian American Art Museum, SFMOMA, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Nelson-Atkins Museum, and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum. She often collaborates with James A. Reeves to merge public art with site-specific video installations. 

After a decade of creating participatory art, she has become the steward of hundreds of thousands of handwritten anxieties, hopes, pains, insights, and moments of grace in the early 21st century. Her parents immigrated from Taiwan, and Chinese calligraphy instilled her reverence for the handwritten word. She reproduces visitors’ responses in her paintings that connect the 10th-century landscapes of Juran and 15th-century calligraphy of Ikkyū Sōjun with the language of the early 21st century. In these times of increasing alienation, she believes these anonymous, handwritten confessions offer a profound portrait of our common humanity that can foster civic health and a sense of belonging in an increasingly fragmented world.

She is an Asian Cultural Council Fellow, TED Senior Fellow, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Urban Innovation Fellow, and was named one of the Top 100 Leaders in Public Interest Design. She is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, Black Rock Arts Foundation, and Hemera Foundation. She has lived in New York City, New Orleans, Helsinki, and the Mojave Desert, and completed artist residencies in Iceland, Portugal, England, Finland, and Greece. She currently lives in Columbus, Ohio.


Contact

Speaking inquiries: The Lavin Agency | Email
Art inquiries: Email
Stay in touch: Instagram | Email

Photo by Mack Sullivan
Photo by James Reeves

Press

“Before I Die is merely one of the most creative community projects ever.”
—The Atlantic

“Candy Chang’s work at the intersection of public art, community engagement, and urban design touches on every aspect of art’s role in society and contributes to meaningful placemaking in our communities.”
—Public Art Review

“Candy Chang’s art serves as a wake-up call in our fast-paced digital age… She transforms nondescript urban spaces into compelling works that inspire the often device-obsessed masses to engage with each other, and the world around them.”
—Ad Age

“Chang’s emotionally driven projects prove we may have more in common with our neighbors than we think.”
— Forbes

“Memorial art works are notoriously difficult to pull off. Yet Candy Chang and James A. Reeves, two New York artists who have created similar installations in the past, hit just the right tone with After the End… It provides a place for anyone suffering loss or battered by contemporary life to mourn, meditate and perhaps heal a little.”
—The New York Times

“The notion of turning neglected space into an active invitation to engage with your community and get to know your neighbors is a wonderful embodiment of enlightened urbanism. What’s more, it’s a reminder that not all meaningful social platforms are accessed through a screen.”
—Brain Pickings

See more press

Photo by James Shuster

Awards & Fellowships

Asian Cultural Council Fellowship (2024)

American School in London Innovator-in-Residence (2022)

National Endowment for the Arts Grant (2021)

EPIC Impact Society Artist Award (2021)

Archipelago Artist Residency, Korpo, Finland (2019)

Hemera Foundation Tending Space Fellowship (2018)

University of Michigan Bicentennial Alumni Award (2017)

NES Artist Residency, Skagaströnd, Iceland (2017)

Hangar Artist Residency, Lisbon, Portugal (2017)

National Endowment for the Arts Art Works Creativity Connects Grant (2016)

Tony Goldman Visionary Artist Award (2016)

Lakkos Artist Residency, Heraklion, Greece (2016)

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Humanities Award (2016)

Puffin Foundation Grant (2015)

Louisiana Cultural Economy Color Our World Award (2014)

Top 100 Leaders in Public Interest Design, Impact Design Hub (2013)

The Creativity 50, Advertising Age (2013)

The Good 100, GOOD Magazine (2013)

World Economic Forum Young Global Leader (2012)

Art Production Fund Artist-in-Residence, Las Vegas NV (2012)

Maryland Institute College of Art Samson Feldman Artist-in-Residence (2012)

TED Senior Fellowship (2011)

Rockefeller Foundation Tulane University Urban Innovation Fellowship (2011)

Black Rock Arts Foundation Grant (2011)

Alaska Design Forum Artist-in-Residence (2011)

Oprah Magazine “Live Your Best Life” Local Hero (2011)

Top 11 Visual Artists in New Orleans, NOLA Defender (2011)

Creative Capital of Culture Artist-in-Residence, Turku Finland (2010)

Fast Company Emerging Master of Design (2010)

TED Global Fellowship (2009)

Center for Urban Pedagogy Making Policy Public Fellowship (2008)

Sappi Ideas That Matter Grant (2008)

Global Studio Johannesburg Fellowship (2007)

Columbia University Award for Outstanding Contribution to Leadership in Urban Planning Education (2007)

Earth Institute Nairobi Studio Fellowship (2006)

Spatial Information Design Lab New Orleans Fellowship (2006)

Global Studio Vancouver Fellowship (2006)

Selected Talks

4GN Design Congress, Bogota, Columbia

American Planning Association National Conference, Atlanta, Georgia

Canadian Institute of Urban Planners Conference, Vancouver, Canada 

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Center for Architecture, New York, New York

City of San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas

Creativity World Forum Conference, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Dallas Women’s Foundation, Dallas, Texas

Detour: Design Renegade Conference, Hong Kong

Detroit Regional Chamber Policy Conference, Detroit, Michigan

Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Global Health Summit, New Orleans, Louisiana

Google, Macau, China; Dublin, Ireland

Green Building Alliance, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, San Francisco, California

Inhotim Contemporary Art Museum, Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil

International Design Association, Kohler, Wisconsin

International Interior Design Association, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Jung Society, New Orleans, Louisiana

Metropolitan Planning Council, Chicago, Illinois

New Mexico Municipal League, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Newcomb Art Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana

Psych Congress, San Diego, California

Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta, Georgia

School of Visual Arts, New York, New York

Summer Public Art School, Turku, Finland

TED Conference, Long Beach, California

TED Global Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland

TYPO Berlin, Berlin, Germany

University of Michigan Stamps School of Art and Design, Ann Arbor, Michigan

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

Visión Diseño Conference, Querétaro, Mexico

Vivid Sydney Festival, Sydney, Australia

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Watermark Conference for Women, Santa Clara, California; Boston, Massachusetts; Austin, Texas

We The City Conference, Vancouver, Canada 

WESTAF Public Art Symposium, Honolulu, Hawaii

White Arkitekter, Gothenburg, Sweden

Women Motion Picture & Television Fund, Beverly Hills, California

Women’s Leadership Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada

World Education Congress, Las Vegas, Nevada

Youth Art Camp, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Photo by Marla Aufmuth



Inspiration

Books

The Varieties of Religious Experience
William James

Stories of Your Life / Exhalation
Ted Chiang

Just Kids
Patti Smith

White Noise
Don DeLillo

The Middle Passage
James Hollis

Understanding Comics
Scott McCloud

The Fifth Child
Doris Lessing

RE/Search
J.G. Ballard

The Story of Philosophy
Will Durant

Devil in the White City
Erik Larson

The Machine at the End of the Mechanical Age
K.G. Pontus Hulten, ed. Museum of Modern Art

Children of Men
P.D. James

The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces
William Whyte

The Little Prince
Antoine Saint-Exupery

The I Ching
(Book of Changes)

Film

In the Mood for Love
Wong Kar Wai

Blade Runner
Ridley Scott

8 1/2
Federico Fellini

Mulholland Drive
David Lynch

Ex Machina
Alex Garland

Lost in Translation
Sofia Coppola

The City of Lost Children
Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Marc Caro

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring
Kim Ki-duk

Apocalypse Now
Francis Ford Coppola

New York: A Documentary Film
Ric Burns

The Century of the Self
Adam Curtis

Before Sunrise / Before Sunset / Before Midnight
Richard Linklater

First Reformed
Paul Schrader

Everything Everywhere All at Once
Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

Cosmos
Carl Sagan

Songs

Sister Part 1
Cliff Martinez

In Church
M83

The Voice of Love
Angelo Badalamenti

Moya
Godspeed You! Black Emperor

A Trop Répéter Bien
Alice Dona

Hallogallo
NEU!

Be Brave
Tropic of Cancer

Crawl of Cthulu
Ectomorph

I Will Return
Springwater

Voila
Francoise Hardy

#3
Aphex Twin

Dirty D
Füxa

Far from the Atmosphere IV
Chihei Hatakeyama

Cosmic Dancer
T. Rex

Angor Wat Theme Finale
Michael Galasso



This site was designed by Candy Chang and built by James Reeves using Wordpress. The fonts are Aktiv Grotesk by Dalton Maag, and Proxima Nova by Mark Simonson.