In the studio with Jiwon Jang, whose practice explores the four distinct seasons of South Korea. . We met with Jiwon to tell us more about growing up in Seoul, her greatest influences, and what inspired Jiwon to first pursue her artistic journey.
When did you first begin to see yourself as an artist?
I’ve been shooting for a long time, but I always had doubts that something wasn’t perfect when working with multiple people. It was only when I started painting that I felt that I could realize complete art. The work I faced completely alone made me feel like a real artist.
Where are you from and what was your upbringing like?
I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. As an ordinary city person, I had a busy life and could not afford it. That’s why I wanted to keep it deeper every time I encountered good things. Korea is a country with four distinct seasons, and the change of seasons every year has inspired a lot of.
There are many beautiful scenes in my childhood memories of my family. Dad liked to write calligraphic letters on newspapers he had read, and her mother painted beautiful colors on finely molded clay. My brother liked to draw mazes in his sketchbook, and they were very cool. These afterimages of childhood remain as good memories. It may be that I am painting now thanks to my loved ones who carve treasures in my ordinary everyday life.
Paint us a picture of your artistic journey. What inspired you to first pursue, and then continue to practice, artistic work?
I didn’t know I’d be painting. I worked as a photographer for 15 years. With the advent of the COVID-19 era, I stayed at home. I wanted my own artwork. Naturally, I started painting and fell in love. I chose how to paint every day to paint what I wanted to paint. I saw the great consequences of practicing every day and couldn’t stop. I felt happiness and passion in painting and it was time to face the real me when I stood in front of the canvas. The work of getting to know me really makes me think I’m going on a good path.
What’s the message of your work? How would you describe your aesthetic?
I want to remind the beauty of what I have always kept inside and have always seen. The beautiful things I have seen in nature are reconstructed with my new expressions and colors. Beauty is not far away, and I always face beauty. In a fast-moving society, the purpose of my work is to evoke my passion and remind me of the beauty that is easy to forget. I believe that my paintings will also inspire positive energy and thoughts in someone.
Who/what are your greatest influences?
I am the most influenced by myself. I like the times when I focus on the things inside me rather than any external stimuli. It is good that the positive things I hold are expressed through paintings
An unexpected source of inspiration?
Sometimes I get unexpected inspiration from the tools I use. Often times, new color combinations or touches are found in the marks that have been naturally stained with paint for a long time on brushes, paint tables, water bottles, and easels. I find that my studio and tools are also becoming paintings.
What do you want people to take from your work when they view it?
When I work, I tend to forget a lot of things. I get away from complicated thoughts and get closer to the essence. As I paint, I feel alive and I feel positive energy in myself. I think the audience will be able to feel that positive power as well.
What events in your life have mobilised change in your practise/aesthetic? How has your art evolved? Do you experiment?
It’s the same as the answer to question 3. As I stayed at home due to COVID-19, I started painting and was able to develop from painting every day.
What are your ideal conditions or catalyst for creating a “good” piece of work?
I think it’s a rest. As I actually stayed at home due to COVID-19, I had a lot of time, which led me to think about the things I really wanted. I take a rest when I feel that my work is lost directional even when I painting every day. Sufficient rest always keeps you in good condition and gives you positive thoughts.
Tell us about the inspiration behind one of your works?
The flower I painting is not the exact form of the flower. I’ve never seen a flower in detail. I don’t ask questions in front of nature, I just feel good. The flower’s expression that looks through emotion, not form, meets color and becomes more abundant. Living in four distinct seasons, I get various inspirations from the changes of each new season. The seasons and flowers that do not disappear and repeat are like a life that flows naturally.
Colors that naturally match as they flow create a variety of emotions.
Brave New World:
The Brave New World Series refers to the connection of everything that will be stronger in the future. These organic connections represent new flows of intermixing and bumping into each other. Various colors and free lines can be substituted for everything we can think of. The lines wave by some force, heading into the future and creating powerful energy.
Something in the future you hope to explore?
I will continue to explore myself, my talents, and my paintings. What I want to know is not anything new. I want to use what I have and develop it. To paint a better picture is to discover a better self.