My artistic journey
In 2013, I had the opportunity to spend a summer studying Traditional East Asian Painting at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, where my grandmother and grand aunt attended. Being half Korean, it was a beautiful chance to retrace their steps while immersing myself in the culture for the first time. What I loved about the painting class was learning about the Four Noble Plants: wild orchid, bamboo, plum blossom, and chrysanthemum, each representing different human virtues. My favorite was the plum blossom: blooming in late winter signaling the coming of spring, the plum blossom represents endurance through hardship, hope for the future, and courage in love. These first few pieces showcase what I learned there, as well as from a Sumi Ink painting class I took years later in Seattle (Sumi also happens to be my Korean name).
In 2017, I set out with the New Years Resolution of making art (of any medium) once a week, and have continued creating regularly ever since. Several of the pieces below are from that project. I called it "Art For Gall" (#artforgall on instagram). From practicing qigong I learned that in Chinese medical theory, the gallbladder channel is related to boosting confidence (hence, the use of the word "gall" for bold behavior). I believe creativity takes practice, and is not limited to only those perceived to have "innate" talent. Anyone who wishes to be creative just needs to find the confidence within themselves to be so.
In early 2020 (up until lockdown), I was taking an abstract painting class and had the chance to showcase 8 paintings in the A/NT Gallery in Seattle right next to the Space Needle, seen above. The first piece below was one of these featured paintings: a mixed media composition incorporating pen pal letters from my late grandfather and pieces of "hwatu" - the Korean card game we used to play together.
During quarantine, I also developed an affinity for more textile art: embroidery and macrame.
Most recently, I took an oil painting class to explore this medium for the first time.