Shanghai Berkeley Alumni Spotlight|Lighting a Road of Art

From Berkeley Alumni / Published on 09/27/2019

 Intro about Shanghai Alumni Spotlight

The Shanghai Cal Alumni Spotlight is a series on introducing local Alumni’s accomplishments, their life journey and lessons, and how they are serving and contributing to the community.  We also hope the Spotlights will provide networking opportunities for like-minded Bears.

Alumni Spotlight

Juju Wang, Installation Artist; BS, Civil Engineering, ’08; MS, Transportation Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering ’09

Hear ye! Hear ye!  One of our Cal Bears, Juju Wang, has won this year’s Future Leader of the Year Award at the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai!  The Berkeley Chinese Alumni International Association (BCAIA) is proud to present Shanghai native and artist Juju Wang for the alumni spotlight.  BCAIA editor Tae-Kyu has interviewed Juju and visited her wonderful new art studio [JUJUWANG Studio] in M50, an eclectic mix of innovative Berkeley-style philosophy and bold artwork with a message. 

Our spotlight article highlights the various steps of Juju’s interesting road from Bay Area immigrant to Berkeley engineering undergrad to logistics grad student and back to her hometown as a Shanghainese artist serving the world’s most elite brands and patrons.  Juju also lists important lessons from Berkeley that has helped her succeed throughout her career and personal life.“

Juju’s Upcoming Art Events 

Oct 17-Dec 21: Solo in Paris 
Oct 2- Jan 2: Qingdao SV MoMA group exhibition 
Oct : International brand collaboration (brand confidential) 
Nov-Dec 2019:  Retrospective installation solo at Xi’an Fritz Hansen Gallery 
Dec 3-9: Design Miami 
Nov 2020: Shanghai: Solo 

Life Before Cal 

Parents and Teachers: The importance of long-term role models.  Juju immigrated from Shanghai to the Bay Area during childhood.  From early on, Juju learned to be industrious, benefiting from the influence of her parents who made a new life as immigrants.  

Juju also credits her love for studying engineering and her dream to go to the world’s pre-eminent university, UC Berkeley, to her teachers.   Juju began studying engineering from 9th grade at Oakland Technical Highschool, which offered different academies.  She decided on the engineering academy because she loved the field, but also because her parents’ business allowed her to appreciate the importance of engineering.  In particular, Juju was inspired by a long term mentor, Mr. Parker Merrill, who guided her in everything from descriptive geometry to architectural and mechanical desktop design over four years.  Through the school, Juju built models and went to the California State Fairs, receiving multiple state awards, exposing her at a young age to the possibilities of engineering.

Why Cal?

Juju chose to stay in the Bay and attend Cal, and it shouldn’t be surprising: just as many East Coasters come to Cali and won’t go back to the East, Juju fell in love with the West Coast culture and year-round sunny climate and preferred a place not so crowded and cold.  She decided to spend more time in Cali and looked at California’s top schools:  CalTech, Stanford, and Cal, and wished to go to the best engineering program.  Juju’s parents wanted her to go to a state school and a top engineering program, especially in civil and environmental engineering.  Berkeley regularly ranks top in this field, and Juju decided to head to Cal. 

Why Logistics? 

Juju was influenced by her professors in Cal, as well as a lot of field research on SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency).  Making roads safer for bikers and pedestrians really inspired her to get into transportation, because the impact is immediate.  Infrastructure-related work can also go worldwide.  The scale is large, and there is no limit; one can also apply the principles to different cities.  Juju also minored in City Planning: seeing how a city was planned from the beginning – roads, layout – really excited her.

What is Unique about Cal? 

Berkeley people are more open-minded and less-biased; Cal grads like to work more freely, and be driven to what they’re personally passionate for, whereas her friends who went to prestigious universities on the east coast on the other hand prefer more stable jobs or life at a big company, and are not as interested in trying for opportunities off the beaten track with a higher possibility of failure.  Cal people on the other hand seem less afraid of failure, which they consider to be part of life from which you can start over.

Future Goals

True to the Cal tradition of serving the people, Juju wishes to set up a scholarship under her name to support low income students, with no restriction on race, who are interested in the arts at UC Berkeley.  Juju wishes to give back to Berkeley and society.  True Blue and Gold, True Bear!

Key Lessons from Berkeley for her work as an Artist today:

1. Super-disciplined: Discipline teaches success.  Juju developed a habit of finishing today’s work today, which brought her to what she is now.

2. Efficient in art field:  Juju is known as the efficient artist.  Brands like to work with her because of the shorter turnaround time which saves time and budget.

3. Why efficient?  Berkeley Hustle: juggling classes, TA and RA work, and a minor requires a lot of efficiency, and makes you responsible for finding the fastest way.

4. Diversity:  We should embrace our own cultures.  For example, Berkeley built a major Asian studies building in the US.  However, we also learn to embrace different cultures.  Berkeley is one of the most diverse schools in the country and people come from everywhere. We can incorporate our appreciation of ours and others’ culture into our creations.  Juju embraces her culture so much today that the handicraft, culture, and her background gets incorporated into her art work.

5. Installation art work: Juju learned as an engineer at the top engineering college in the country.  Art is all about space, emotion, and material, and you need all of the above.  Cal has the rare position of being at the top in both engineering AND arts, which makes her a well-rounded artist.

More about Juju 

Juju is a Chinese-American installation artist. Known as the interactive magician in the field of art, mixing Chinese culture/traditions with contemporary twist, her bold use of new materials and emotional and rational creativity standards has established a unique personal style. Emphasizing the interactive experience of the installation itself and with others, bringing harmonious relationship amongst art, participants, and onlookers. JUJUWANG’s art installations “House of Clouds” and “PalaSee” have earned much attention in the field of art. She has also had numerous successful collaborations with top luxury brands across the world. In 2019, JUJUWANG received the prestigious “Swarovski Designer of the Future” Award.