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Since graduating with an industrial design degree from the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, Zhipeng Tan has focused on the ancient technique of lost-wax casting. Through this foundry process, rich in heritage and tradition, Tan explores his interest in organic forms. Often inspired by his environmental surroundings, such as water and plants, he explores anthropomorphic themes, as well. Though trained as an industrial designer, he has become an accomplished self-taught sculptor, eagerly exploring the elastic and permeable boundaries between art and design and finding a harmonious fusion of sculpture and furniture, provocative objects of both beauty and utility.

In spite of his rigorous training in computer modeling, Tan develops all of his concepts exclusively with hand drawing, preferring the direct connection to his work that sketching provides. As he likes to say, “Every line in the artwork is touched by me.” Most of his work is hand-sculpted in clay, and the final work is achieved through casting, hammering, welding and polishing. He has chosen brass as his preferred medium in part because of its connection to historical tradition, but most especially because of its warm color, rich luster and versatility.

Though from his early work, one may sense the influence of Joan Miró, Henry Moore and Constantin Brancusi, and in his more recent pieces there is a nod to the Post-Pop sensibilities of Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami, the work of Zhipeng Tan is thoroughly original, an expression of his exuberance and imagination. In all of his work, one may see an exploration of our fundamental humanity and a desire to discover worlds within worlds. From the 33 Step Chair, composed of a sculpture of an inverted human spine, to the Lotus series of tables and chairs, inspired by the structures of plants, to the TanTan series, depicting the characters from his imaginary utopian world of extraterrestrial adventurers, there is a deep and vital questing to connect the imaginary and the tangible worlds.





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