In 2012, Jason Cole Mager, a professional artist from New York, opened his home to travellers. Little did he know that this simple decision would ultimately lead him to the vibrant city of Taipei. Mager found that hosting travellers breathed new life into his perspective, as their enthusiasm for his surroundings reignited his appreciation for his hometown.
A Fateful Encounter: Taiwan Beckons
A chance meeting with a Taiwanese guest forever changed the course of Mager’s life. Encouraged to visit Taiwan, he embarked on a month-long journey and was instantly captivated by the island’s charm. He returned home to New York only to find himself yearning for another extended stay in Taiwan, a decision that would extend to five years and counting.
Inspiring Artistry in Taiwan
Taiwan’s rich tapestry of culture and history has been a wellspring of inspiration for Mager’s art. After completing his master’s degree in fine arts, he found himself drawn to stories of his relatives during World War II. Yet, it was in Taiwan that he discovered a profound connection—specifically, a memorial to 14 US airmen executed after being shot down by Japanese forces occupying the island.
Art as a Medium for Conversation
Mager’s work, including pieces like ‘Taipei – May 31, 1945 in Blue,’ is a fusion of oil, acrylic, and ink on linen, delving into the complexities of history. His art serves as a medium for dialogue, encouraging open conversations about history, culture, and politics. Taiwan has not only reshaped his artistic perspective but also compelled him to learn new skills and approaches to painting.
A Thriving Artist in Taiwan
Mager holds a foreign-talent visa from Taiwan’s government, enabling him to create, exhibit, and engage with his art in the country. This visa assures him several more years of active residency. He urges art enthusiasts to explore the works of Taiwanese artists like Shu Lea Cheang, Dean-E Mei, and Tang Jo-Hung.
An Artistic Perspective for Travelers
When asked about his recommendations for travellers contemplating a journey to Taiwan, Mager suggests a unique approach. While he could recommend countless galleries and museums, he and his artist friends often focus on the island’s natural landscapes and culinary delights. They embark on hikes along the lesser-trodden trails of Elephant and Tiger mountains, revealing the hidden beauty that links the region’s temples. The journey typically culminates in a visit to a friend’s restaurant on Yangmingshan, “Living Forest,” where delectable cuisine and camaraderie encapsulate the city’s essence.
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