Taiwan hairstylist creates 'hair art'

Allen Chen, a hairstylist who owns a salon in Taiwan, has always had a flair for art.

"When I was little, I wanted to be an artist. But artists don't usually make a name until after they've passed away, so I chose to work as a hairstylist instead for practical reasons," Chen told CGTN.

Not long after he started his hairstyling career, however, Chen found that he did not have to choose between work and his passion for art. He had clients who, just like him, wanted to stand out from the crowd. So he began to incorporate art into his work, beginning with simple lines and shapes, and eventually graduating into so-called hair sculptures.

"I've been making hair sculptures long enough so that when clients come to me with an idea or a photo, I can make it appear on their head," Chen said.

His head-turning artworks, which now include images of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, have gained him a following. But Chen isn't stopping there. Two months ago, he had somewhat of an epiphany.

"I saw videos of sand art online and thought I could do the same with hair. So I collected hair clippings and cut them to even finer, sand-like pieces," Chen said.

And then he started "painting."

Depending on how elaborate images are, it takes him anywhere from an hour to half a day to complete a "painting." He has done a lion's head, Aquaman, and a dragon, among others.

But because it was the eve of the Lunar New Year when CGTN met him, he opted for a simpler, but more meaningful, "Year of the Pig" artwork.

Chen apologized for not being able to fully showcase his skills, but truth be told, it might have been harder to see him sweeping away artwork that took him six hours to create.

"If there was a way for me to preserve these 'paintings,' I might be able to make money. But for now, it's all for fun. I do it, take a photo, and then sweep the hair clippings," Chen said.