Fiona Tan’s daily life is the concept of her artwork

Fiona Tan at her artist studio in Monte Carlo

When I first met Fiona, I was fascinated by her hands. She not only used them graciously when talking but they seemed to me extremely powerful. Later I found out that after graduating from Parsons the New School for Design in 2006, she focused her attention in the fields of energy, healing and well-being. She studied alternative medicine and became a certified integrative nutrition coach, a Hado instructor, crystal healer and Reiki master – no surprise that her hands spread such dominance.

The daughter of the Piaget family who was born in Brazil, lived in Switzerland, Monaco, Paris and New York, Fiona is a multifaceted artist using  “the Mirror Art Technique”. Her mixed origins are reflected in her artworks: A crossover between eastern and western philosophies and visuals. Fiona believes that art should reflect the world’s needs and advancements. She combines nature and technology to bring forth the cycle of life.

IRMA: How do you start your day and how do you start an idea or concept of an artwork, is there a similarity?

FIONA TAN: I like to start my day with mediation, either in sitting mediation or walking mediation while watching the sunrise. I do feel that by taking a moment to be connected to myself and nature helps me be more creative and productive. Then I generally make a green juice and some green tea. Depending at what time I do my workout I will have a nice breakfast before or after. After that I am ready to start my day and attend to all emails, meetings, creative endeavors.

In a way the same process goes for starting and idea/concept for an artwork: through harmony and nature. The most important part is inspiration and guidance. I need to be connected and centered in order to do so. I go to meditation and walking meditation to clear my head. The less I look for answers and just let myself be in harmony and peace, the quicker the inspiration arises. It might sound strange but ideas come to me from a moment of pure stillness, no noise. My mind needs to be clear. I don’t need exterior stimulus, I just need interior calm. Ideas will come at their own speed when I need them, not when I want them if it makes sense. I don’t demand ideas. I just let myself be open to receive them. Then it’s time for me to nourish them, just like I nourish my body, I need to nourish my mind and spirit. Just like branches from a tree, things slowly get to connect and grow in my ajna, third eye. The visuals I get are made of both visual elements and feelings, sensations, sometimes accompanied by words, geographical locations or symbols. Then it’s my job to create a roadmap, research into the subject, understand pieces of the puzzles I get so that I can recreate it and physically find those elements in the real world.

IRMA: You work in layers, what does layering mean to you , do you have an exact plan on how you come up with an idea and go till the final artwork?

FIONA TAN: I love layers. I believe that life is, just as in a physics reaction, different elements come in play  and collide in an environment prone for a certain outcome. Those elements I see them as pieces of a puzzle, independent layers, that come together to create something more beautiful, unique and amazing that couldn’t happen if those parts didn’t merge in an appropriate moment and setting.

When it comes to creation, it is similar to life to me. You find different elements at different time, they start to conect and they bring you somewhere. The more you are open for the experience and are aware of those pieces coming together, the faster and more intense the process. Elements for my creation are delivered to me in moments, opportunities, travels. When I feel I have done enough research into the holistic meaning behind a project and have traveled enough  with my mind and body to acquire them, that I feel peace with all the elements, I can start the deconstruction and reconstruction process. In doing so I bring back the cycle of life in the creation process as well as make harmony out of chaos. With the years I have learned that I need to listen to both sides of my brain, as well as my intuition. When I process working with layers I become like wired to what need to become of it and just manage to align elements in space, I know what I need and what is missing. I really need to be in the void zone so to speak, that is where my creation starts. I have an idea of what will come together yet at the same time the result is always more then I could expect; just as those physics reactions, moments of pure bliss, that I recreate, when everything comes together that is the pure moment of magic and beauty.

IRMA: What is your best place in the world, and what does this place do for you?

FIONA TAN: I love being by the water, water calms me and replenishes me. At the same time I have a real affinity with Japan, especially the cherry blossom season. Whenever I am in Japan at that period of the year, I feel blossoming happening within me, pure joy and peace. I am always in awe with their beauty, however many times I see them, it’s always like I see them for the first time.

IRMA: How did you become an artist?

FIONA TAN: I think I have always been an artist. I have always liked to put things together and create something new. Same goes for bringing different thoughts and visions into physical form. It is much easier to see that now that I am more mature and been doing it for some time. When I first applied to art school, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life other then something I loved and hopefully in the creative field if I found a way to make my creations unique to myself and my philosophy. It took a few years to really have everything come together and understand more precisely what I was going after and needed to create. So after I graduated from Parsons the New School for Design in New York in 2006, I took a few years to continue my introspection. I just knew at that time that this is what I wanted to do bringing to life creations the way I saw the world. Since childhood I was gifted with healing abilities.  I always been a fan of multifaceted and purposeful creations. I believe that clearing stressors and bringing more peace, harmony and happiness to people is very important as it’s part of a holistic experience in my philosophy. Stress is the number one cause of illness in our society. I believe that life should be experienced with abundance, love and happiness. I have been thankful to get opportunities to share those creations and I continue to do that ever since.

Jasmin Khezri and Fiona Tan during an artist talk at the Mandarin Oriental Munich

IRMA: Which points in your life make you feel artistic and which benefits do you see in that?

FIONA TAN: Travel, meditation, exploration through the mind and in the physical realm, exercise, music, art, beauty, all make me feel artistic. It’s the appreciation of them that makes me feel happy. The more elements bring me to a state of joy and peace and some kind of inner harmony, the more I feel light, energized and therefore artistic. I believe you need to nurture and stimulate you appropriately. When I am not feeling great and happy, I look to nourish myself even more so that I can find balance again. Everyone is different and it’s by following what feels right to you and meet your needs that you can nourish and connect to your inner self.

IRMA: What are your plans in the future, and what does time mean to you?

FIONA TAN: I am a dreamer and I want to create more and bigger experiences. I love sharing experiences and creating spaces for people to feel peace, happiness, ecstasy and beauty. I am working on a few projects this year that are very immersive and use video components which is something that is quite new to me. I am also working on a few lifestyle products. The plan is to continue to create, collaborate in many ways while challenging myself.


through 12 May 2018 at the Mandarin Oriental, Munich