Sep 20, 2009

Interview with Painter: Cho, Young-Hyun

Gallery Jinsun, Jinsun Book Cafe Art Project #49:
Cho, Young-Hyun, "What Am I Doing Now?"
30 August ~ 27 September, 2009

The Dangerous Everyday _Brian Series

~ The Interview ~

" I am a Painter, not an Artist. "

A conversation with my friend Cho, Young-Hyun
At a cafe at Hongdae, 18 September 2009.

Jessica: So, what do you mean by that statement? " I am a Painter, not an Artist. " Is there a difference? Many people use those terms interchangeably these days.

Young-Hyun: Well, I think that there is a certain trend or pressure among young painters today to equate themselves as Artists upon graduation or a number of gallery exhibits. I disagree with that. I see myself as a Painter, not an Artist.

Jessica: Yes, OK. Well, I can see that even your namecard says just that, "a Painter." Why do you choose to be a Painter, but not an Artist then?

Young-Hyun: I think that being an Artist assumes a whole lot of social responsibility. I don't want to be bound by that kind of responsibility yet. As a painter, I can freely enjoy painting, and that is my job.

Jessica: I see. I guess you're using the word "Artist" in the sense of an "Author" or a "Grand Artist" or maybe even in the capacity of a "Thinker/Philosopher."

* * *

Jessica: So, tell us about the subject of your painting. It's been quite consistent, hasn't it?

Young-Hyun: Yes, I do paintings of my brother Brian. I've been doing it for a couple of years now. Most of the time, it depicts him absorbed in something. Playing video games, watching TV, eating.

Jessica: I saw some of your smaller works at Jinsun Book Cafe in Sam-Chung-dong this weekend. It was a bit of a shame to see them become so integrated into the Cafe setting. I think I might have appreciated your paintings better in a super-white gallery wall setting.

Young-Hyun: Yes, the book cafe has its own ambience and the picture doesn't stand out as much. But the good thing is that people can view them for a longer period of time. And notice things.

Jessica: So, what's next for you? I know that you've included a sketch of your brother in this exhibit. Which is a new departure for you, isn't it?

Young-Hyun: Yes, I've been doing some sketches lately. And in some ways, it captures what I want in a slightly new and better way. What I am doing is "contemplating" on my subject matter. (The Korean word she used is "Kwan-jo 觀照,") And a little contextual info enhances it, but it's an evolutionary process for me, so I am not at a conclusion yet, so to speak.

Jessica: I don't mean to be rude, but I imagined myself in your shoes, and wondered what it'd be like to push the abstraction one step further. Do you think about that sometimes? I guess, this is just really my personal response, since that type of thinking is what I do with my paintings. I'm just curious how you see this aspect of your work.

Young-Hyun: Well, I don't think in terms of "abstraction" or not. I prefer to look at it in terms of "figurative/non figurative" art. So no, I haven't thought along those lines.

Jessica: Ah, I see. OK. I'm not used to that term actually. But I did hear that mentioned recently.

* * *

Jessica: So, how did you feel about your works being on exhibit. How did the viewers respond?

Young-Hyun: Actually, a lot of the non-artist viewers have given me some positive comments and felt that a part of their daily life was being reflected in my paintings. Especially mothers! They told me that this is how they usually find their sons or daughters at home; sitting and absorbed in the video games or iPod or TV. I was really happy to hear that.

Jessica: One last question for you. Where is your studio, now that you have left grad school? May I visit you sometime?

Young-Hyun: Yes, I am sharing a big art studio with three other people. It's in Yeon-Hee-dong. Sure, I hope to see again soon!

Jessica: You know what, since you've come with make up and all, do you mind if I take a picture of you, and share it on a blog? Maybe I'll write this as an interview piece in English!

Young-Hyun: (Smiles.) Sure, go ahead. By the way, give me your address, I'd love to send you a copy of my catalog.:D


-the end -

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