Pioneering Chinese visual artist and photographer Chen Man shares her perfect day in the city
’d imagine my perfect day to be a time that I could focus on myself, rather than on other people. I’d really like to hold on to whatever is real and happening now. I would start the day by slowly enjoying breakfast. Sometimes I cook with my aunt, Chinese-style or Western. Or if I feel like going out, I’d wear cashmere, walking past all those beautiful houses in LA under the sunshine and the shade of the trees, and I’d just simply have coffee and a croissant, or tea with dim sum. I love Float (380 South Lake Avenue) and Copa Vida (70 South Raymond Avenue) in Pasadena. I also like all those organic juices and dishes from Whole Foods Market (3751 East Foothill Boulevard).
I don’t really do sports that much. But the weather in LA is just so great, with so much soothing sunshine, that I can’t help but walk around. The city is a fusion of so many things. You can have four seasons in just one day. There’s the seaside as well as the mountains— all kinds of mountains, and they’re covered with snow. Los Angeles is a city that’s truly suitable for anybody to live in.
The thing I want to do most on my perfect day is sunbathing in the garden of my house, naked, listening to music or reading a book. Recently, I’ve been reading a book about the theory of kinematics in traditional Chinese medicine. I’ve always been interested in TCM.
On my perfect day I might also work a little bit. I have worked at the Milk Studios (855 North Cahuenga Boulevard) and Siren Studios (6063 West Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood), and they have very professional settings, huge spaces, and it was fun to work at both.
The first thing Chen Man does after waking up, and the last thing before going to bed, is meditation
I MIGHT GO TO THE MEXICAN SPICY FRUIT SALAD STAND. I LOVE THE CONTRAST OF SUCH FOOD—YOU HAVE THE FRESHNESS OF THE FRUIT AND ALSO THE EVIL SPICINESS
There really are a lot of things that would make my day perfect. I could visit a museum, visit my friends, check out the markets, or just stay home and read a book, or spend time with my family. Or I could just do nothing and meditate. Basically, anything could happen. My favourite place to shop... well, I love all those shopping centres and I can’t choose.
It’s hard to decide where to have lunch, because there are so many restaurants to choose from. I love Il Pastaio’s (400 North Canon Drive) homemade pasta in Beverly Hills, although I might just go for the Mexican spicy fruit salad stand on that street. I love the contrast of such food—you have the freshness of the fruit and also the evil spiciness.
For dinner, I guess I prefer to cook at home. I’d get the freshest ingredients and cook fusion food. I don’t really drink that much, unless a friend invites me to drink at their house.
Before I go to bed, I just let myself lie down, close my eyes and think—that is my favourite television show. I don’t really watch TV. The first thing I do after I wake up—and the last thing I do before I go to bed— is meditation.
and zen some