I’ve always been intrigued by pattern and color. Currently I am exploring these elements and going back to a more polished, detailed and elegant style. The last couple years have been a practice and pursuit to find a more confident and straight forward approach to painting. After the amount of time I spent learning from various teachers and polishing my technique I felt that I was painting things in a way that didn’t feel convincing to me. It was someone else’s technique and way of looking at things. I needed to prove to myself that I could paint what I saw directly, honestly and without any thought toward technique at all. The result was worth it even though I couldn’t say that it met with much commercial success. I think it was confusing to people why I would want to go and do something that looked more basic and less finished. Had I gotten lazy, had I lost heart?
Absolutely not. Although I didn’t supply an explanation at the time, I just needed to reconnect with a sense of authenticity that I felt my work was lacking. In direct painting, I regained a feeling of confidence and sincerity about the act of painting that I didn’t have before. But now it’s time to get back to communicating with others. And the best way that I can do that is to paint something that incorporates my tastes, experiences and emotions, something that expresses who I am.
I was lucky to have grown up around beautiful things that were treasured and passed down from my grandmother. She loved nice clothes and kept the antique furniture, crystal and silver in perfect condition. She traveled and collected fine souvenirs from her journeys. She was a collector and connoisseur of sorts without dipping into over indulgence, which was frowned upon in our family. My mother inherited her love of precious objects and a passion for travel.
I was raised middle class in the Midwest without sharing the cultural heritage of many other people of my race. Other Koreans came to America with their families and brought with them their traditions. I came alone and learned everything from my adopted family who had also moved away from their home and family in Texas. Our story is one of forward movement, new discovery and adaptation. It is one of having a small sense of self and family, an identity which cannot be easily defined, a changing community of nearby neighbors and friends and seeing that freedom and a rich inner life are constant sources of joy that you can count on. My love of art came from the arts and crafts that I did as a kid with my mother and then later in school. It put me in touch with the sense of satisfaction you get when you make something from your imagination, something tangible that you can look at and feel pleasure in its beauty. The creative spirit has been a part of me ever since. If I weren’t a painter, I’m sure I’d be making something else creative with my hands.
What I make now is much more highly refined than the arts and crafts that I started out with. I like elegant refinement along with feelings of peace, warmth and comfort. I create things that are about balance, beauty and quality. There may be some aspects of sadness there at times. It’s a bit of the princess that I loved to pretend to be as a child and the Texas politeness that I got from my mother. It’s a bit of the philosopher that my Dad wanted to be and the free traveler that I became in my 20s.
If you meet me, you will see right away that I don’t have a fiery temperament, boldness or brashness. I am naturally cheerful and friendly but unless I know you well, I can also keep my feelings at a distance. This reserve comes from a bit of timidness and the desire to get along. It also comes from trying to think with an open mind before reacting. Our family always stressed the virtue in thinking before acting and considering other people’s perspectives as valid as our own.
It is my goal to embrace all these elements in my paintings. I want them to communicate my home and family’s aesthetic, speak with my personality and offer a point of view that is always questioning and evolving. I hope you enjoy what comes next from the studio.