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FORT WAYNE, IND. (WPTA21)-“It has to be challenging,” says artist Xiao Ling Jiang. “Easy stuff might be fun at first but it doesn’t last very long. You’re gonna want a challenge.”

Challenge is something Xiao Ling Jiang has embraced all his life, from piano lessons beginning at age four to immigrating from China at nine to studying piano at the prestigious Julliard School of Music. And you don’t have to look far to spot his latest infatuation.

I don’t do anything besides playing piano and building T-Rex’s,” he says.

Xiao Ling, Kenneth to his friends, indulges another lifelong love…dinosaurs. Loves them so much he builds them in his home. This little darling was his first, a Tyrannosaurus Rex he saw in the movie Jurassic Park. Xiao’s prehistoric paper mache creatures are uncomfortably lifelike. And Xiao doesn’t do little anymore. Upstairs in his bedroom he’s assembling his latest creation, a T-Rex, all paper, built from scratch. Building dinosaurs isn’t just fun, Xiao sells them to collectors for thousands of dollars. And he credits 21 Country for much of his success.

When I came to Fort Wayne I realized how relaxing it is to live here and how inexpensive it is,” he says. “And I thought that’s pretty much all I need. To be able to do what I want to do.”

Xiao Ling began modeling as a kid, his home is stuffed with toys and action figures he either made or painted himself. He built this paper mache transformer years ago, a robot that turns into a semi. It doesn’t take long to realize Xiao Ling can do just about anything artistic; he draws and paints, this is some of his work. And while it may look like this talented young man plays with toys for a living, it is very serious work to him.

I want it to have value,” he says. “I want to share it with other people, it must be challenging otherwise I get bored. And I want to do it for the rest of my life.”

kicking back, making music, indulging his passions. All in a days work for this young genius who loves calling 21 cCuntry home.

Eric Olson

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