She has embraced American culture – but she still eats with chopsticks.
Cher Jiang, 35, originally from the Sichuan Province in China, has lived in Carthage for a year. In that time, she has already turned heads in the art community. This month, her work is on exhibit at the Post Memorial Art Reference Library in Joplin. She says her art, which features delicate and whimsical children?s book illustrations, has blossomed since her marriage to Carthaginian Dan Mathern and move to the United States.
Leslie Simpson, director of the Post Memorial, said the exhibit is a great chance to see unique and “stunning work from a fascinating lady.”
“I've never had anything like this on exhibit,” Simpson said. “Her pictures are just magical – They will make you smile.”
Some of Jiang's most recent art has recognizable scenes, such as buildings around the Carthage Square, local properties, trees at Silver Dollar City and there is one drawing that has the yellow fire hydrant from the front yard of her Carthage home.
“She is a very positive person,” Mathern said. “She can find inspiration in anything … Sometimes she draws all day, and all night.”
Jiang completed her master?s degree in art at Southwest Jiaotong University and worked for nine years illustrating children?s books in China. She published 20 books as well as 1,000 pictures in magazines and painted graphics for computer games. For an entire year's children's magazine publication in China, she drew the covers and some of the pictures inside.
Jiang also taught art at the university level in China. She was in Hong Kong when she met Mathern during an online chat. They couple will tell you, the match made sense.
“I'm very thankful for him,” Jiang said. “Coming here has given me the chance to see many, many ideas and to express my art, strengthen my English. And I've met many artists.”
Jiang said besides the joy of meeting local artists Lowell Davis and Kristin Hawkins, she had the opportunity to meet someone she has admired since childhood.
“One day our neighbor had things setting outside and people kept coming,” Jiang said. “I asked, why so many people visiting?”
“They were having a yard sale,” Mathern said. “I told her she could go over too.”
“I saw very interesting things,” Jiang continued her story with a laugh.
“She held up this Precious Moments cup all excited,” Mathern said. “I told her it was just normal stuff.”
“I said this isn't normal stuff – this is famous,” Jiang said, remembering her excitement. “Sam Butcher is very famous, but I didn't even know (Precious Moments) was here. I didn't even know what country.”
Page 2 of 2 - Through some local mingling, Jiang ended up meeting Sam Butcher at the Midwest Gathering of the Artists and showed him some of her art.
“I was so excited,” she said.
As a true artist wants to pursue the passion, Jiang hopes to continue her art through American children's books. To see her work, visit the Post Memorial Art Reference Library, 300 S. Main St., Joplin, through the month of January. Hours are: Monday and Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. For questions, call 417-782-7678.
Online viewing is available at www.postlibrary.org, find Cher Jiang on Facebook and her blog, at www.blogsina.com.