Born in Cigu district, Tainan City (Formerly Cigu Township, Tainan Country) in 1946 and graduated from Taiwan Provincial Tainan Junior Teachers’ College (now National University of Tainan), Shui-tsai Chen learned painting at Po-chuan Kuo’s atelier during his time in Tainan. In 1967, Chen was admitted to National Taiwan Normal University and studied at the Department of Fine Arts. After graduation, he was assigned a teaching job in Kaohsiung and has been living there ever since. In 1981, Chen was offered a job at the Department of Architecture at National Cheng Kung University and held his first solo exhibition at the American Cultural Center in Taipei, where he showcased his first series of work, Truck, and started to adopt urban life as the core of his art.
Starting from the 1980s, Chen has been actively promoting modern art transformation and local art establishment through research, teaching and commentaries. Chen has thus become an important figure of the artist community in Southern Taiwan. He is one of “The Three Pens of Kaohsiung”, for he plays a key role in the development and influence of modern art in Kaohsiung in the 90s.
Chen’s symbolic Series of Human Head in the 90s is his interpretation of the oppression, depression and contamination of the urban life. With Chen’s keen insight into the urban environment, such feelings are transformed into paintings with his life experience, concentrating the complicated emotion into a simple image.