《TAIPEI TIMES》 Craftsmen series features miniaturist
Miniaturist Hank Cheng displays his work Man’s Romantic at a news conference in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Chen Yu-hsun, Taipei Times
By Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporter
The General Association of Chinese Culture yesterday released the latest short film in its documentary series The Soul of the Craftsman （匠人魂）, featuring miniaturist Hank Cheng （鄭鴻展）.
Creating miniature models is “therapeutic,” Cheng told a news conference in Taipei, where the film premiered.
With his painstaking eye for detail, people who have seen photographs of his creations have often asked whether they are “real” or “fake,” he said.
When he was in junior-high school, Cheng was diagnosed with congenital amblyopia, or lazy eye, the association said.
He wanted to attend art school, and despite experiencing multiple setbacks in his schooling years, “the paintbrush in his hand never stopped,” it said.
With the support of his family, Cheng traveled to Japan to study illustration and became the first foreigner at his school in 50 years to win the president’s prize with his graduation project, it said.
Cheng began making miniature models in 2015 and has since completed more than 40 works, according to the documentary.
His models span from a scale of 1:6 to a scale of 1:2,500, it says.
In the film, Cheng says although he does not know how much longer his eyes would allow him to create miniatures, he intends to continue doing so until he loses his sight.
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store’s Xinyi Place A11 branch in Taipei is exhibiting a selection of Cheng’s works until Wednesday next week.
Produced by the association, The Soul of the Craftsman debuted in August 2017 in an effort to highlight local artisans from all walks of life.
The film on Cheng is the 23rd installment in the series.
Chen Chung-hsin （陳忠信）, a qipao maker in Taipei’s Dadaocheng （大稻埕） area, and Hsieh Sen-shan （謝森山）, an artist in Taoyuan who specializes in painting movie posters, are some of the artisans featured in the series.
The documentary shorts are typically three to five minutes long and can be found on the association’s Facebook page, YouTube channel and official Web site.
With the help of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, many of the videos in the series are also available with subtitles in English, Japanese, Malay, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, French and Spanish.