Candy Chang is a Taiwanese American artist who is interested in the relationship between public space and personal well being. Combining urban planning, street art, and design, she sought more contemplative and inclusive ways to reflect and share with the people around her. Her interactive experiments in public space have examined issues from housing costs and the future of vacant buildings to personal aspirations and anxieties. After losing someone she loved, she created Before I Die on an abandoned house in her neighborhood to invite people to reflect on their lives and share their personal aspirations in public space. Since then, over 450 Before I Die walls have been created in over 60 countries and 30 languages by passionate people around the world, and her book about the project was recently published by St. Martin’s Press. Her existential confusion and experiences working with communities in Johannesburg, Helsinki, Nairobi, New York, Turku, Fairbanks, New Orleans, Medan, and Almaty have influenced her work and evolving questions.
She has lived many lives, as a designer for The New York Times, a field researcher for Nokia, a musician, a record label founder, a designer for community organizations, and a parking garage attendant. She received a Masters in Urban Planning from Columbia University and a BS in Architecture and a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Michigan. Her work has been exhibited in the Venice Biennale, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Southbank Centre, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. She is a TED Senior Fellow and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and has received grants, commissions, and residencies from Art Production Fund, European Capital of Culture, the Arts Council of New Orleans, the Alaska Design Forum, and the Black Rock Arts Foundation. After a decade in New York and Helsinki, she lives in New Orleans. She believes public spaces are as profound as we allow them to be and have a lot of potential to help us make sense of the beauty and tragedy of life with the people around us.
Toward Better Public Spaces: Transforming Our Cities Through Art and Design