Wallace Chan began as a gemstone carver in 1973 at the age of 16.
By the 2010s , he was world-renowned as a jewelry artist and innovator. His creativity and curiosity have driven him to develop several innovations: The Wallace Cut, an illusionary three-dimensional carving technique invented in 1987; mastery of titanium in jewelry-making; a patented jadeite luminosity-enhancing technology; the invention of elaborate gemstone settings without metal claws; the mysterious Secret Abyss, in which over a thousand emeralds were set inside a block of rutilated quartz through a 6.5mm opening; and most recently, The Wallace Chan Porcelain, a material five times harder than steel.
In 2019, his jewelry creation, A New Generation, was added to the permanent collection of the British Museum, and is on exhibit in The Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China and South Asia. It is the first Chinese contemporary jewelry art piece to be included in the museum’s permanent collection.
Often compared to alchemists in medieval Europe and philosophers in ancient China, Chan is obsessed with new discoveries, and is constantly looking for ever-bigger canvases and new materials. After eight years of research and experimentation, he unleashed the previously undiscovered potential of titanium, in not only jewelry but also large-scale sculptures, allowing for the creation of unprecedented colours and forms.
To date, Chan is one of the only artists to use titanium in artworks of such color, scale and complexity.
In the 2010s, he spent seven years studying and exploring the potential of porcelain, resulting in the birth of The Wallace Chan Porcelain in 2018, a groundbreaking material that is five times harder than steel. Colorful, smooth and lustrous, The Wallace Chan Porcelain embodies new aesthetics and high complexity in both Chan's jewelry and sculptural works.
Understanding that life itself is imperfect, the artist pursues his ideals in otherworldly imagination. He regards the creative process as a means for him to recreate himself and the world around him.
Chan also gained worldwide recognition by becoming the first Chinese jewelry artist to exhibit at prestigious art fairs like The European Fine Art Fair (Maastricht, 2016-present; New York, 2016 & 2017) and Biennale des Antiquaires (Paris, 2012 & 2014). His works were also exhibited at American Museum of Natural History (New York, 2021), Lévy Gorvy (Hong Kong, 2021) and Naturama Museum (Svendborg, 2019). His solo exhibitions were held at Fondaco Marcello (Venice, 2021), Asia House (London, 2019), Christie’s Gallery (Hong Kong, 2019), the Gemological Institute of America Museum (Carlsbad, 2011), the Capital Museum (Beijing, 2010), Kaohsiung Museum of History (Taiwan, 1999), and Deutsches Edelsteinmuseum (Idar-Oberstein, 1992).
Chan’s speaking credits include Christie’s (Shanghai, 2020 & 2021), ART021 (Shanghai, 2020), the De Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design (Maastricht, 2020), the British Museum (London, 2019), LAPADA Art and Antique Fair (London, 2019), the British Academy of Jewellery (London, 2019), the Royal College of Art (London, 2019), The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, 2019), Christie’s Education (Hong Kong, 2019), Gem-A (London, 2018), Sarabande Foundation: Established by Lee Alexander McQueen (London, 2018), Sciences Po (Paris, 2018), Harvard University (Boston, 2017), Central Saint Martins (London, 2017), the V&A Museum (London, 2016), and Christie’s (Paris, 2014). In 2016, his first illustrated monograph, Dream Light Water, was released with a presentation at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (New York).
Chan’s works are in the permanent collections of the British Museum (2019), the Beijing Capital Museum (2010), and the Ningbo Museum (2010).
In 2021, Chan’s first-ever large-scale sculpture and installation art exhibition, TITANS: A dialogue between materials, space and time, curated by James Putnam, former curator at the British Museum, is held at Fondaco Marcello, Venice in Italy.