Tell us about these works.
These works are from my drawing series titled “Missing Home”. I investigate the meaning of home by observing my relationship with people, objects, and environments. Found objects and architectural elements from my daily life, such as a house, plants, or pots are simplified and symbolized, sometimes personified, and rearranged in my drawing. These pictogram-like shapes are altered conceptually in my drawing so that their meanings and original uses are re-purposed and imply the psychological moment of myself living in a new environment.
What kind of paper do you use? What does it represent for you?
I use a traditional Korean paper called Hanji. It is handmade from the inner bark of mulberry trees. This paper is used in a variety of ways not only to make traditional Korean art but also everyday products in Korea. Though I don’t use any medium and techniques of oriental painting in my work, I’ve been attracted to this paper for its softness, flexibility, and strength since I started working. It looks very fragile, but it’s durable enough to embroider and create three-dimension objects.
It’s sometimes not easy to draw and paint on because of its rough texture, and it needs extra care because I cannot erase or repaint. It’s a stressful and time consuming process, but I even like that aspect. While I concentrate on every stroke, I get more time to interact with my work.
Has the meaning of "home" changed for you over the years?
In the early years of living in the US, “home” was where I left, and where my family was, the place where I would go back someday. I always felt that I was away from home and disconnected from my family. Since I've lived in the US for 15 years and gotten married here, I have found myself thinking New York is also my home. The meaning of home has become more than just the place. It’s where my loved ones are, whether I live with them or not. Living between two homes, I still feel unstable and the sense of missing something. In recent work, I want to talk more about the missing part, recording my mind-scape from everyday life in relationship with people, objects, and environment.
Before you left Korea and your family what motifs did you draw?
It was 15 years ago when I started working on my art. To talk about my art, I first needed to know about my origins. In the process, I found that when I was born I came out feet first, and my mother and I were almost at death. She also gave me the baby diary she wrote while she was pregnant with me. Reading her diary, I got to know more about the story of my mother. I became interested in birth, women’s bodies and life as a woman. I lived with my mother and grandmother until I came to the United States. A unique family of three women was also a common subject in my work. That may be why I have been still so obsessed with home and relationships with my family. Because my story of art was started from them.
What materials / processes are you currently interested in?
Most of all, I’d like to work on larger drawings, which I haven’t been able to do for a while. If I can capture the moment in a small drawing, I can build up more in a large drawing and interact with it more physically.
My interest in working with paper will continue, but I want it to be more playful. I am always ambitious about new work. I'm thankful that I have so many ideas and to get to continue working on my art.
Your artist statement is so vivid and measured, just like your work. Is writing ever part of your creative expression?
Text is a part of my work.
When I think of an image I want to draw, I usually come up with a word or simple sentence. I use the text as a title for viewers to have more clues about my symbolic drawing. I am sensitive about selecting a word, but I don't feel free writing in English because it’s not my first language. So I tend to write as simply as I can with uncomplicated words. I’d like to give more room for viewers to see beyond and imagine further both in drawing and writing.
Even though I am not good at writing, I wish someday I could write a poem or fairy tale along with my drawings.
What would you like viewers to understand or experience from your work?
Every viewer has a different way of seeing my work. Some are more interested in the medium, others in the content. I believe people see what they have in their mind. Whichever way they choose, I’d like them to find their own story from my work. That’s why I use familiar objects and elements from our daily life in my drawing so that I can speak a universal language.