The Chen Box Hill, in Melbourne, is officially open. The 8th Art Series Hotel, named for, and inspired by, Chinese-Australian abstract artist, Zhong Chen, opened yesterday with an official ribbon cutting by CEO of Mantra Group, Bob East. The official handover of Art Series from Will Deague, CEO Deague Group, was the final step in one of the biggest property portfolio acquisitions of the year. A true expression of the Art of Joyful Journeys, The Chen reflects the artist’s fun and relaxed persona. Introducing a new level of luxury accommodation, the hotel also celebrates the ethnic diversity of Box Hill, with Chen’s bold art representing his own transcultural identity. The art-inspired boutique hotel boasts 100 self-contained open-planned and apartment style suites, a rooftop pool with sundeck, gymnasium, plus conference and events facilities. Guests have the choice of two dining options, lashings of Chen artworks, in-house art libraries, and a dedicated art channel. For those keen to discover more about the hotel’s namesake, in-house art curators and advocates will offer free tours. The Chen850 Whitehorse RoadBox Hill VIC 3128Reservations: 03 9131 0200 artserieshotels.com.au/chen/About Zhong ChenA sense of adventure underpins the extraordinary story of Zhong Chen which usually begins at the moment he arrived from Zhongshan in Adelaide at the age of eighteen. In just six years the artist would graduate with Honours from the Adelaide School of Art and win the highly coveted Samstag award, a scholarship to the Chelsea School of Art in the UK. Although Zhong’s journey to Australia has been a crucial part of his identity, an understanding of his steadfast gravitation to art is also key to understanding this singular artistic project.Born in Zhongshan, China in the pre-boom era of 1969, Chen first discovered art through the lens of traditional Chinese calligraphy when, in the early eighties, his mother enrolled him in calligraphy lessons. A de-fining moment for the adolescent was a trip to Northern China to visit an international exhibition of contemporary Chinese calligraphy. It was from these experiences that the young artist decided to broaden his world and pursue art. When a plan to live in America was stymied by his grandfather’s concern about an uncle’s wayward habits, Zhong travelled to Australia. In 1989 he arrived in Adelaide to live with family friends who were also recently arrived immigrants. He first studied art in the TAFE adult education system and soon after proceeded to complete the Honours degree that would propel him to the Chelsea School of Art in London.Zhong Chen was also awarded two Australian Council grants to participate in residencies in New York in 2001 and 2006. He is a three-time Finalist in the Archibald Prize, Australia’s most prestigious portraiture prize and a finalist in the Wynne Prize for landscape as well and The Doug Moran Portrait Prize and the Sulman Prize. In 2009 Zhong was awarded the People’s Choice Award for the Portrait Salon Des Refuses Prize.