It’s Offical!

May 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

It’s Official!

JooYoung Choi’s TA-Arts (Tiny Affordable Arts) will be on sale at the Massart Spring Sale!

Ranging from $5 to 15 dollars, take one of these cuties home!

Who: You
What: TA-Arts at Massart’s Spring Sale
When: May 7th, 8th and 9th, the Store is open from 10-7 Everyday!
Where: 621 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02108, at the E Line Longwood Medical Stop
Why: Because TA-Arts are Fun! And, 10% of the profits will be donated towards prenatal vitamins for expecting mother’s the single mother home in South Korea!
How: Just come!

Hooray!

Sincerely,

JooYoung Choi

Recently Received This Letter…

April 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

 

Dear JooYoung Choi,
 
Hello. I am Hee Jung, a coordinator of KUMSN.
 
I have received a box from you this morning. What a wonderful gift!
 
I would deliver them for the members of Miss Mammamia, a group of unnwed mothers. I know they would be delighted!
 
But your painting works will be put on KUMSN office to remember you.
 
Thank you very much for your generosity.
 
I hope we keep in touch.
 
Best regards,
Kwon, Hee-Jung
Project Coordinator
Korean Unwed Mothers Support Network
 
#1908 OFFICIA BD, Shinmoon-ro, Kwanghwamoon, Chongro-1ga, Seoul 110-999 Korea
Office: 82-2-734-5007, Fax: 82-2-720-5007, Cell: 82-10-5210-8637
Email: hjkumsn@yahoo.com Homepage:www.kumsn.org

To all who have supported the efforts of Arts Sales and Helping Korean Unwedded Mothers….

March 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hello!

I just wanted to thank everyone who braved the weather and came to the donation drive/art sale.

Around 50 dollars worth of donations were made! These items will be shipped to Korea within the week!

Also, because of all your purchases of paintings online and at various sales, we have raised enough funds to send the following items to AeRanWon, the unwedded mother’s support organization/home in Seoul, South Korea:
5 bottles of prenatal vitamins
5 bottles of children’s gummy vitamins
5 bottles of omega-3 fish oil

I really appreciate your help in supporting my work as an artist. Still, more importantly,thanks for showing mothers in need that they are loved by the world.

Sincerely,

JooYoung Choi

TA-ARTs! Heartz! And St. Patty's Day

March 11, 2010 § 1 Comment

Art, Helping others and Beer!

Description WHO: You and Art
What: Somerville Artist Market, and a donation drive for single mothers in Korea
When: This saturday! 13th of March from 12-4
Where: The Burren, in Somerville, MA in Davis Square
Why: Because single mothers and babies need love and so do local emerging artists
How: Come visit and bring a donation for a free little painting!

Hello Folks!

I just wanted to let you know that this Saturday at the Burren in Davis Square, Somerville, MA, I will showing TA-Art Paintings at the local Somerville Artist Market.

Currently, TRACK an organization that works with single mothers in South Korea are doing a donation fundraiser. If you bring one of the following you can receive a free little painting!

Prenatal Vitamins
Regular Centrum or generic vitamins
children’s vitamins
Pacifiers
Baby Clothes
Diapers
Baby Toys
Maternity Clothes

As usual, 10% of our profits go towards AeRanWon the birthmother center in Seoul. (:

I will have cute paintings ready, new characters and even some irish themed gifts for St. Patricks Day!

If you are unsure how to get to the Burren, just google Burren Somerville, the event will run from 12-4 on the 13th of March.

Also, I will be sharing a table with an amazing emerging artist Kate Drewniak! She is talented, creative and has been working on little art pieces for this special sale.

I hope you will come out and support this project!

Sincerely,

TA-ARTs! Heartz! And St. Patty’s Day

March 11, 2010 § 1 Comment

Art, Helping others and Beer!

Description WHO: You and Art
What: Somerville Artist Market, and a donation drive for single mothers in Korea
When: This saturday! 13th of March from 12-4
Where: The Burren, in Somerville, MA in Davis Square
Why: Because single mothers and babies need love and so do local emerging artists
How: Come visit and bring a donation for a free little painting!

Hello Folks!

I just wanted to let you know that this Saturday at the Burren in Davis Square, Somerville, MA, I will showing TA-Art Paintings at the local Somerville Artist Market.

Currently, TRACK an organization that works with single mothers in South Korea are doing a donation fundraiser. If you bring one of the following you can receive a free little painting!

Prenatal Vitamins
Regular Centrum or generic vitamins
children’s vitamins
Pacifiers
Baby Clothes
Diapers
Baby Toys
Maternity Clothes

As usual, 10% of our profits go towards AeRanWon the birthmother center in Seoul. (:

I will have cute paintings ready, new characters and even some irish themed gifts for St. Patricks Day!

If you are unsure how to get to the Burren, just google Burren Somerville, the event will run from 12-4 on the 13th of March.

Also, I will be sharing a table with an amazing emerging artist Kate Drewniak! She is talented, creative and has been working on little art pieces for this special sale.

I hope you will come out and support this project!

Sincerely,

Writings…

February 20, 2010 § 1 Comment

Recently, I was updating my resume and I found this old note I had written which was later used in a publication.

I thought I would share it with you all since, I think that it might show another side of my work…

This was sent to participants at a November 2005 youth conference held in Philadelphia.

The one thing I wish to do is to stress to everyone to not be color blind or blind to other aspects of people’s identities. I say this because I do believe it is possible for people to treat one another with respect and care AND see a person’s color. . . . I hope that we can deconstruct phrases like “color blind” or “I’m just a human being” or “I will treat and expect others to treat me the same.” These are phrases that I grew up with, but many of these sayings left me in an awkward place as a person of color in a primarily white town. Many of these sayings ignored my identity, didn’t leave space for my identity, or ignored the systemic oppression I was affected by as a youth, and thus ignored the strength I had cultivated due to resourcefulness, faith, and the mentorship from many other young leaders and adult teachers that believed in ending racism and oppression.

The first phrase, “I am Color Blind,” as a child it made me ask, What is so wrong with my color that you must be blind to it? In my youth I realized that many of the people I knew were blind to the systemic oppression that I and other people of color and queer folk battled with, but they were not blind to the open sexuality of my friends nor our colors.

As for the phrase “I’m just a human being” this was something my white family had said to me a lot, we are just human beings, but when I got older I realized that people never asked my white sister where she was from, yet, at least twice a day I was asked either “what are you?“ or “where you from?” So everyday I had to explain, what I was, and although I would say I was human first a lot, it didn’t work like my parents had said it would, people gave me looks, people told me I was being “fresh or smart” with them. Or that I didn’t have to “give them that attitude.”

After a while I gave up being a “human being,” I was tired of that battle and so, I patiently just told people I was Korean.

Third, there is the phrase, “I will treat and expect others to treat me the same”; this seems like a fairly basic idea, that would make sense. But I have noticed that if people and people’s experiences are different, than how can we treat them the same?

If a doctor “treated” everyone’s sickness the same, then only some of the people would get better.

What if the doctor treated everyone like they had a stomach ache , then everyone with an ache would get their pepto bismol and feel better, but everyone else, who had asthma, diabetes, heart palpitations, and the flu probably wouldn’t be doing okay.

The same thing does with systemic oppression, which I feel is a lot like an illness that hurts our communities and hurts the people within the communities.

So if people are affected by classism, racism, homophobia, heterosexism, sexism, ageism, etc, and we give them all the “pepto- bismol treatment” it probably won’t work.

I do believe being loving and caring are so important in this world, and many people believe that love is beyond all the above-listed oppressions.

And I believe that, too, but to get there, we can’t ignore all those oppressions because they are very real, it is only when we start to acknowledge the oppressions that we or the people in our community have been affected by that we are able to see the struggle that ourselves or the people in our community have had to battle with, and it is only when we see the struggle that we can see the resourcefulness, the creativeness, the faith, the gifts, the love and the lives which have endured through the oppressive forces. It is only when we see all this that we can truly be able to love one another, as three dimensional, diverse, beautiful, laughing, crying, breathing, reaching, living, learning and real people.

But we must get there, and the first step is we must see each other.

***

Friend, if you wish to love me, do not be blind to my color, my sexuality, my abilities, my class. If you wish to love me, do not be blind to systemic oppression, and do not be blind to the oppression that has affected me. My color is beautiful.

The oppression must be identified, if we wish to destroy it. And if you do not see the systems that tried to break me down, you will never see my soul that has soared so high. Friend, don’t you see it? My soul has grown strong throughout the struggles, and if you do not see any of this, Friend, you will never know me. And if you do not know me, Friend, you cannot love me.

Graduate School, Art Shows & Pop-Up Galleries and More…

February 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hi Friends!

Graduate School

So it appears that I have had a change of heart and may appy for Art Institute of Boston’s low-residency MFA. After returning to the states, I had decided that I would take a year off before going to school for my masters. Recently, I realized that I want to work professionally as an artist but would benefit from the guidance of mentors, bi-annual workshops/classes and a community of artists who are trying to make a smooth transition into the world of being a self-reliant artist.

Just as the mighty tadpole must become a fabulous hopping frog, I will also need to take my first jump out of the water and walk on two feet. It is inevitable that this transition from the daily support of the classroom environment will take place, but I think that a low-residency MFA program might actually help make that process smoother and with the support of folks who are also trying to figure out how to best work on their own without the everyday college classes reminding them to continue to work on bettering their skills, researching topics and ideas, building community with new artists, etc.

AIB’s program is rather unique, you spend time at the actual school twice a year for short residencies, for two years and then one final visit, making it a total of 5 mini residencies plus the support of local artist mentors.

I am not sure if that will be my last goal in art education, but it will allow me to look at my options: do I want to get a doctorate? Do I want to get an associates in business and a second bachelors in pschology? I know that as my work with art continues, being able to be well educated in other fields of interest helps to enrich and inspire new works of art and even whole series.

I was reading a book by Twyla Tharpe, she is a really interesting woman, the passage that struck me discussed the idea of “scratching” for ideas. Where do we find our ideas? What brings forth your inspiration? How I will continue to “scratch” after my bachelors is completed is something I think about often. I wonder how best to create a method to continue my learning/inspiration process after school.

If any other artists out there have advice for me and other blog readers about how they keep themselves motivated/interested/educated please send your comments! Also, if folks have advice or comments about low residency MFAs or questions about continuing their education after receiving their bachelors, please, send them my way.

Art Shows & Pop-Up Galleries…

First off, I’d like to show my support to two emerging artists:

Secondly, the Pop-Up Gallery…

I may have secured a space to have a show… this will be my first try at organizing and curating a show… I believe the theme will be: Eye Candy. The show will features small works from artists who make work that is, well, Eye Candy, work you can’t stop stareing at, tasty colors, scrumptious lines, interesting themes, works that invokes a type of curiousity…

I haven’t decided on an official name for the show, if anyone has a suggestion, please let me know, also if you are interested in sumbiting your work, don’t worry in the coming month and update about how to apply will be added to the blog.

More…

The Somerville Saturday Local Artists Market, went incredibly well. If you have ever thought of participating in something like this here are some suggestions:

-Bring your business cards
-Print information about your work, your projects, etc.
-Be prepared to answer questions about commissions and future shows
-Have a mailing list printed
-Bring a friend so you can take breaks, go hide somewhere, use the bathroom, etc.
-Bring your own lights if that is needed, sometimes the lighting at these types of shows is dimmed.
-Bring Your portfolio or laptop, show folks what other paintings or art or work you do.
-Bring change, at least 30 dollars worth of 1s, 5s, and 10s.

Other than that, if you do decide to do artist markets, sell online, etc. make sure you balance your time in the studio. Too much time selling and not enough time enjoying the process of art making is not healthy, at least for myself I have begun to realize that making time for both sides of my career development is not something I inately know how to do and will probably take time for me consciously develop.

Well, that’s enough for now! Stay safe! Stay fresh!

Progress…

February 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

Join Us at the S.L.A.M Saturday Local Artist Market!

February 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hey Friends!

Our cute little Critters the TA-Arts are going to be at Somerville’s Saturday Local Artist Market!

The event will be held from 12-4 this Saturday! February 13th 2010!
At the Burren, an Irish Pub on 247 Elm Street, Somerville, MA!

Not only can you get the latest and greatest TA-Arts but you can also listen to great music and get a good size of grub for only $5.00!!!

The Burren is @ the Davis Sq T -Stop, so just hop on the redline going towards Alewife and get off at Davis Square, ask around and you’ll find it! Folks in Somerville are very friendly and wonderful, so don’t be shy to ask!

This event hasn’t any admission fee, but if you want your TA-Arts, and we have a bunch of new friends to share with you, you gotta come visit us this Saturday!!!

Also, I just wanted to mention a big thanks to Anne Klein who is now the editor of the blog, you may notice that the blog will be updated with far better grammar than ever before! Thanks Anne!!!!

Last, you may have wondered, why there are only two more taarts left on the site! Well, we are rounding up all the TA-Arts to come with us to the Art shin dig on Saturday, afterwards, we will be posting more TA-Arts, look out for photos of them having a good time on Saturday, hopefully they don’t drink too much, this is an Irish pub, the Space Alien Caterpillars from the future definitely like a good stout or porter, awww, just like their Mother!!!

Hope to see you all this Saturday! Peace

-JooYoung

JooYoung Choi's Gallery will be donating to Ae Ran Won

February 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

From now till the end of 2010, 10% of the profits from JooYoung Choi’s Gallery, will go towards donating baby clothes, vitamins and toys to the Single Mother Home in Korea.

If you are not familiar with this organization, I can tell you a little bit about them.

The single mothers of South Korea still, to this day, deal with discrimination and a lack of accountability from their Government. Sadly, the Korean government doesn’t have a functioning foster care system which makes it incredibly difficult for young single mothers to keep their children.

When I stayed in Korea this past Summer, I had the honor of meeting a group of these young ladies. They were amazing people, some as young as 16 or 17, out of the group, nine woman offered photos of their children to me, along with information about their son or daughter. Also, they included their favorite and least favorite colors and what wrote down what type of life they hope their infant will have.

Before I left Korea, in December, I completed nine portraits around the size of 16X20″ all of the paintings were delivered to Ae Ran Won, complete with the original sheets they had filled out with me about their dreams for their child’s future.

Since returning, I have found myself thinking often of the children and the mothers. The little boy whose nick name meant Star, the little baby who had the most amazing smile, the little girl who wore an adorable bunny hat and the mother and child who had both fallen asleep for the photo shoot (the photo was wonderful, mother and baby both asleep with their mouths open and completely at rest).

I have debated which organization to support and I realized that because of the expensive price of vitamins, sometimes three times the price of U.S. vitamins, I would like to send 10% of our profits to Ae Ran Won in the form of prenatal vitamins and some baby care items that are less expensive in the states, compared to Korea.

If you want to learn more about Ae Ran Won, you can check out their Korean website at: http://www.aeranwon.org, currently their English site is not available, but I will post a link once it is back up and running.

I hope you will learn more about this organization and support our efforts in sending healthy gifts to Ae Ran Won! Check out our TA-Art Page Today!

Sincerely,

JooYoung Choi

JooYoung Choi’s Gallery will be donating to Ae Ran Won

February 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

From now till the end of 2010, 10% of the profits from JooYoung Choi’s Gallery, will go towards donating baby clothes, vitamins and toys to the Single Mother Home in Korea.

If you are not familiar with this organization, I can tell you a little bit about them.

The single mothers of South Korea still, to this day, deal with discrimination and a lack of accountability from their Government. Sadly, the Korean government doesn’t have a functioning foster care system which makes it incredibly difficult for young single mothers to keep their children.

When I stayed in Korea this past Summer, I had the honor of meeting a group of these young ladies. They were amazing people, some as young as 16 or 17, out of the group, nine woman offered photos of their children to me, along with information about their son or daughter. Also, they included their favorite and least favorite colors and what wrote down what type of life they hope their infant will have.

Before I left Korea, in December, I completed nine portraits around the size of 16X20″ all of the paintings were delivered to Ae Ran Won, complete with the original sheets they had filled out with me about their dreams for their child’s future.

Since returning, I have found myself thinking often of the children and the mothers. The little boy whose nick name meant Star, the little baby who had the most amazing smile, the little girl who wore an adorable bunny hat and the mother and child who had both fallen asleep for the photo shoot (the photo was wonderful, mother and baby both asleep with their mouths open and completely at rest).

I have debated which organization to support and I realized that because of the expensive price of vitamins, sometimes three times the price of U.S. vitamins, I would like to send 10% of our profits to Ae Ran Won in the form of prenatal vitamins and some baby care items that are less expensive in the states, compared to Korea.

If you want to learn more about Ae Ran Won, you can check out their Korean website at: http://www.aeranwon.org, currently their English site is not available, but I will post a link once it is back up and running.

I hope you will learn more about this organization and support our efforts in sending healthy gifts to Ae Ran Won! Check out our TA-Art Page Today!

Sincerely,

JooYoung Choi

Will talk to people with dirty hands…

February 3, 2010 § 1 Comment

“If you don’t even have time to wash the paint off your hands, then why should I make time for you?”

Recently, I heard someone say something similar to that, during a discussion about galleries, gallerists and what happens when we walk into galleries in our street clothes or don’t appear to be collectors.

We were even discussing whether people should dress up when they go to galleries, or if people should dress the way they normally do. The thing that amazed me, was this idea that, when I go to the comic book shop in Harvard Square I don’t have to think twice about whether I should put on make up and dress in a nice black dress just so then I can feel comfortable when I walk in.

I mean obviously I don’t want to walk into a comic book store naked, that could cause a number of various problems. But really, the audacity of this situation, the fact that a group of artists are trying to figure out if it is necessary to dress up to be treated respectfully while visited the many galleries on Newbury Street is kind of bizarre.

And in general, I mean, this idea that someone thinks that they don’t time for the “jerk-artist” who doesn’t even wash all the paint on their hands, is ridiculous! Would you refuse to shake hands with Basquiat? Or have lunch with Francis Bacon in his studio, because it was too messy? Would you not take Beethoven seriously as a musician just because he drew all over his walls and was known for his terrible living conditions and harassing his maids (throwing bedpans…).

Also, many folks who are right brained have been known to be notoriously more messy. Some of them may not even think of the paint on their hands as “dirty”, is a canvas that has paint on it “dirty”?

Furthermore, on the idea of not having time for those who don’t look clean got me thinking about the idea of class.

Many aspects of the art world have left a classist taste in my mouth, but when we as artists perpetuate this stuff, doesn’t it mean we’re just helping to keep it the way it is? Where artists struggle and collectors control who will financially thrive as artists and which artists will have to continue to divide their time between a part time job and their work in the studio?

This where I keep pondering the idea that there must be alternatives. You may have noticed my site has been offering paintings for new affordable prices. Some folks have advised me to sell them for more, but really, what’s the point? What is the point of art if it can’t be shared? It’s like baking cakes and then watching 9 of them mold and one of them get eaten.

Further more, lately I have been thinking of the idea of the stereotypical gallery, the stuffy, sterile, silent type. I am not saying all galleries are like this, but many I have visited have been like this. Especially if I am not dressed like someone who isn’t a collector. You know, there is something about this whole traditional gallery system that makes me ponder what else is out there, and what new could be created.

It just seems like many artists create work in a certain environment, coffee cups, magazines, flyers all over the place, punk rock music and photos of friends on the walls. Who knows, some of my colleagues have crazy masks, animals and people faces, pornography, bizarre collages and weird photos all over the place. For myself I have enjoyed over the years I have gone through phases of cluttering my studio with godzilla toys and watching cartoons (classic bugs bunny to bad 80s films) good books and great music in the studio while working.

When I go to a gallery, sometimes, I enjoy the clean feeling I get when I walk in, nice hard wood floors and clean walls, well ordered and I don’t have to watch where I step. But some aspects of the ambiance I wonder about. It is kind of like if you take a wild animal and put it in the zoo. Or a killer whale in seaworld, no matter how happy they act, that fin on their head is bound to flop downwards, did any one else watch that movie Free Willy…

Anyways, I don’t want my paintings to be impotent. I want them to be filled with vitality, and I think the model average gallery I have seen in Boston needs to change, sometimes I come across friendly folks, but it seems that when I am dressed up, not in painting close, make up on and hair in place that people are more apt to smile when I walk in and acknowledge me when I leave.

I know folks are busy, that gallerists have a lot on their plate, but isn’t it just a tad bit oppressive to drop what your doing when someone who is wearing designer shoes and has a 90 dollar hair cut walks through the door but give a look of “who let you in here” when you see an artist, possibly with dried paint on her fingers and a pair of old sneakers walk into your gallery?

Someone said that if you don’t have time to wash your hands, why would anyone have time to talk to you?

And you know what? I got time for lots of people. I got time for folks who have never even seen a faucet, I got time for folks who knew what faucets were and not can’t even find some where to live where they have their own sink.

Give me a break.

I’m not saying all artists have to be liberal in their thinking or even leftist, but to just continue the status quo of having it be the poor artist who puts on a facade (until she makes it) and the rich or well to do collectors, just seems ummm. perpetuating a classist and oppressive machine that keeps some folks feeling like art is only for the rich.

I’m not saying that I’ll never sell painting for $40,000 but what I wouldn’t blink twice to change the price to $300 for a college student on their way towards becoming a professional if it meant the world to them.

The richness comes when your art is useful for others… because that is when it is truly valued and regardless of whether your work is sold at auction at twice below what it was once worth, the people who hold your work will love it, because they truly loved it in the first place. And, it will never lose it’s true value…

Comments and ideas and solutions are welcomed! And if you have paint on your hands, don’t worry I won’t judge you, if you don’t mind the gesso in my cuticles…

The Greatest Fear is to Shine as Brightly as We have been Made to Shine…

February 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hi folks! So the second part of jack of all trades will appear next week, I still have some more thinking and research to do about the subject, but instead I have for you another interesting tidbit of writing to share with you…

Recently I was checking out this great blog by Joanne Mattera, she posed the following question to her readers:

What advice would you offer an art student who’s about to make the leap?
.
In response to her article, this is what I wrote:

I would say, that it shouldn’t ever be an astonishing leap.

As an artist we begin as children crawling through the jungle of imagery, of ideas, of mediums and materials. We walk through forests and swim through oceans of community, growth, critiques, self-exploration, etc.

Instead of leaping into the art world, why not think of the process as steps. Steps that will walk you slowly, steadily and thoughtfully to a destination.

Start with small shows, talking with artists who are making 50 to 100% of their income off their passion. Develop a website, sell a few pieces, talk with colleagues about the struggles and interesting aspects of selling your own work and even doing commissions.

Just because you are in art school doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have already started to live your life as an artist, if anything it is the perfect time to.

For myself, I decided to study art at the age of 20, after a year or two of part time community college I found myself studying full time at Massachusetts College of Art. Before I arrived at Massart I had put together my first solo show and had participated in a number of group shows.

Later on, my art work was featured in the Boston Globe Side Kick and a smiling goofy photo of myself in the Somerville Times.

When the letter came in the mail that I had received a grant from the City of Somerville to complete a series of paintings about my adoption experience I couldn’t believe it! And all of this has happen before my graduation.

Leaping, in my own opinion is not the wisest idea. Walking, contemplating, and living as an artist is the healthiest way to do it. Educate yourself and never feel that something magical is going to happen to you when you graduate. You are magical right now.

Although I am not christian, I attended a Christmas Evening Service a few years back and the quote that always stuck with me was this: The greatest fear we have, is to shine as brightly as God has made us to.

Whether it be god, your passions, the tao, allah, etc, I truly believe that we don’t wake up just one day and take the “leap”, it takes time, it takes steps.

Don’t just jump in a pool of water and think you’ll figure out how to swim, take your time and find the support and mentoriship you need to not drown or develop some irrational fear of water.

Recently, I overheard someone mention, how do I know if I am ready? If she meant, to “leap” to take the risk, to submit to galleries, etc. It’s only a leap if there is nothing underneath you to catch you.

Have a community, have friends you trust who make art you believe in, educate yourself and know that you aren’t leaping, you are walking forward with the support of your own experiences, the people who have helped you grow and the belief that you needn’t fear how brightly you were made to shine.

What so wrong with being a jack of all trades? A master of none? Or just more difficult to market…

February 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

Over and over I have heard people talk about this idea that an artist must conform themselves to one particular style. Bouncing from style, medium and even artistic study is frowned upon and shows a lack of discipline and maturity. Also, some people have told me that it is impossible to “master” one type of craft or skill without complete and total concentration on your specific practice. You are most likely to become a “master” of none.

Yeah, sheesh! I know exactly what they’re talking about! I mean really! That guy da Vinci didn’t have a clue that multiple talents was just a waste of his time! Think about how much of a better painter he would be if hadn’t wasted all that time, writing backwards in his journals and trying to be an “inventor”. Who knows what he could’ve been if he wasn’t so easily distracted!

Okay, Okay, enough with the sarcasm. But really. I was thinking about my experience in Korea, I studied for a semester at Korea National University of the Arts. Living and working with folks over there really opened my mind to the possibilities that the concepts, practice and understanding of how to make, look and talk about art was “general knowledge”.

At KNUA, I noticed that folks were encouraged to study an array of styles, from traditional Korean ink painting to abstract art. It was not un-natural for artists to create videos, make sculptures, design installations and play with sound art all in the same year or even in one exhibition. These students were able to explore and better understand their fascinations, obsessions and inspiration for future work.

In the Summer before classes had started the new 50,000₩ bill was printed, on it was a picture of a woman. Her name was Shin Saimdang, she was a famous writer, artist and calligrapher from the Joseon Dynasty. Further more, I noticed that many of the historical figures of Korea rarely held one title, many had a number of skills.

I understand that in the art world as of now, the idea of sending in your portfolio to a gallery with images of four paintings, two ink drawings, some clothes you crocheted, and a sound art recording seems foolish. But why is that? Some people say it’s because people must be focused in their practice but I can’t help but think that this has much more to do with sales than someone caring about your development and growth as an artist. Selling the work of a predictable artist is far easier for dealers to market and allows collectors a sense of security when purchasing your work as a way to diversify their portfolio.

Dangerous artists who switch from one form of media or style to another can cause problems. What if an artist makes beautiful abstract paintings and then in the next show does ink drawings of naked old men in awkward poses with live stock. If your collectors were only putting “pretty” abstract work in their houses, they probably wouldn’t be buying anything from your naked farm men series. And if in the end your second series doesn’t sell, the first series will lose value. Your dealer might be upset, but not nearly as annoyed as the collector.

Artists who are honest with the fact that they are complex beings that are searching for new ways to express their thoughts, ideas and observations on the world are seen by many as a problem. Strangely, we love artists for the romantic notion of them being wildly passionate and free as the birds in the sky. But in truth, what has made many artists big is just the opposite.

It is far easier and “safe” if you just spend your life making one thing! Let’s just paint horses for twenty years, and then when we’re economically free we can do something else. It is much safer is you just continue to make abstract line drawings and don’t change your style or just dance around and splatter paint on canvases but BE CONSISTENT!

Or don’t.
Get free.

Do what you want and help shift the idea of art making.

Can you imagine what the art world and exhibitions would look like with there was a more playful and free-flowing rebirth of fine art. Where people cannot agree whether it is a painting, an installation, an interactive theatre or a sculpture.

I know one thing it would be more fun.

To be continued tomorrow…

If it gets you hot do it. You know what’s cliché? Saying things are cliché.

January 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Lately, I have thought a lot about critiques, how they help and how they hurt artists. Surely, they can do both but many times I have noticed that people need as much practice in the act of critiquing as they do painting.

Honestly, at times I feel like some folks, including myself, don’t think enough before they talk.

Just repeating things they’ve heard from someone else. Which honestly is just like regurgitating something you heard someone else spit out. I feel it’s best to always think about the context of each artist’s work instead of creating rules and then putting them against each individual artist’s work.

Common things I hear are:

You should need to use black lines when you’re painting, and if you do then you’re an illustrator.

I find this to be one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. If black lines define whether someone is a painter or a cartoonist then that throws a large amount of Asian ink and brush paintings and wood block work into that category. Along with many non-European artists who have a great respect for the use of dark lines. Why is it that through these definitions of what is fine art, we deem work that follows European sensibilities as paintings and that which follows other cultures art styles as illustrations, cartoons or non-fine art. furthermore, we should look at what illustration really is, from what I know one of the large dividers is the idea that illustration is a form of design used to work side by side with products, stories and are usually found in books, magazines, websites, etc. What does black lines have to do with any of this? Moreover, if you don’t like black lines, instead of saying what teachers have told you, things such as: your use of color, shading and shapes should be strong enough to stand alone without a black line. Realize why you don’t like black lines. Not why someone else told you not to like them. And even if they aren’t working for you, they make work for others such as: Egon Schiele, Alphonse Mucca, Hiroshige and many other wonderful artists all over the world.

Using this style, color, character, tool is SO cliché.

What is so wrong with making things that are cliché? If you like making work that resembles Thomas Kincaid, than Kincaid away! If making paintings of cute animals hanging from trees get’s you hot, do it. The ability to know what makes you tick is a powerful and important thing and when people try to tell you otherwise, see it as a gift, well at first. When you start to feel your own resistance to other’s advice you might start to understand the things you love about your work. Surely, sometimes we put things in our paintings because we’ve been told that they are acceptable, innovative or cool. But is it not the same as teen age kids making doodles of their favorite band’s logo or little children painting pokemon into their family portrait project? What’s so wrong? The thing that is wrong, is when we start punishing ourselves for feeling, when we stop living our lives and focus on making sure that everyone is understanding what we’re doing. If you feel you have integrity within your work than fly with it.

Of course I feel it is important to “check” ourselves as artists. For myself, cultural appropriation has always kind of it a sore spot for me. The link between racist, bigoted imagery and the ability to freely express yourself is a sticky and difficult place for many artists. But I think that it is important to follow your own heart. Over the years I have enjoyed using the asian female portrait and figure for many of my works, as time has passed I have asked myself often if I use “her” because I am eroticizing or objectifying her, and others may feel that I do, but for myself, I enjoy the shape and form of rendering Asian faces. It has nothing to do with some outwardly oppressive idea of wanting folks to see asian women as exotic. Just because others may tell you your work is too black, not asian enough, not white enough, too feminist. I think that it’s all too stupid.

And even if years later you realize that what you were doing was really honest to how you truly feel, what is the biggest consequence of making those works? Not much. It’s not like the critique police are going to invade your house and throw a gouache smothered cat on your bed. You’ll just grow and you’ll even have artifacts to mark the history of that growth.

Whenever I hear people say things like: “that work is “too” punk or “too” goth or “too” traditional or whatever or “too” shock value” usually all I can think is, maybe it’s “too” whatever for you, but for reals if it works for them, it’s fine. This really isn’t about you, it’s about them. And if a critic is already saying your work is “too” whatever, they may not be looking or listening or trying to take the piece in.

It’s easier for folks to say they don’t like something or reject it instead of taking 5 minutes to try to feel it or even accept. Accept it’s existence as it is. In many ways our paintings can be a reflection or aspect of ourselves, and the people who dismiss work without a thought I feel are like the same kids in high school who were dumb and terrible and just said things like: she’s “too” fat, his clothes are “too” old or ratty, he’s “too” ugly, she “too smart”, he’s “too” enthusiastic.

Oh, come off it. And even, if it is extreme in one way or another, it’s “too” whatever, what is so wrong with that? There is nothing wrong with a little decadence, a little extremeness, a loud noise, a blaring feeling…

Something is truly cliché when it is someone telling you that your work is wrong or bad for being cliché. There is nothing wrong with making cliché work, but there is definitely something wrong with people telling you change your style because it’s not unique enough.

All art must have a purpose or reason.

This should be self-explainable. Sometimes things just happen. Even art. Raccoons like to dip strawberries in water and hold them up to the sunlight, not to help with digestion or for some kind motor skill preparedness, no, they just do it because they like how shiny it is. Coming to acceptance with our humanity, understanding that we like shiny objects, such as diamonds, hell we kill people, chop off their arms to get them, is one of the main things about appreciating some works of art.

I believe that not all things are meaningful. If nothing was meaningless than how would we ever understand what meaningfulness meant in the first place.

Other things that I feel are not helpful:

People who make insulting comments in the form of questions.
This is not only confusing but not very constructive. This isn’t laser tag, this is a crit. It’s not like you get points for attacking people and win a prize. The prize is won when a community comes together through a critique and help the artist understand what they feel are the strong and weak points of a work. When the artist is able to get feedback on how to solve certain problems or challenges within their practice as a painter. No, there are no special points for being snide, rude or evil.

People who just saying outrageous things like: this is shit, or this is terrible, or I don’t know why anyone would ever make something like this.

Umm. That doesn’t really help anyone, and even the person who said it, who might be able to boost their ego for a moment, really doesn’t benefit from saying comments like this. My grandfather always told me a story about one of this workers and how when ever the machine wasn’t working he would cuss up a storm and when my Papa would ask him what was wrong with the machine he couldn’t understand because the man swore so much you could hear the words about the actual machine between all the exclamations. He explained to me that wise people, stop, think and comment in a way that is constructive, only idiots sit around complaining and saying unhelpful things.

And I believe it, it’s much easier to yell at a kid who spills milk on the floor than it is to help the child learn how to use both hands to pour the jug. The same with a painting, if you know a different way that paint could be applied, or how the composition could be improved, add suggestions, ask questions to better understand the motivations of the artist’s work, but just telling them that the work should’ve never been made is the laziest thing I’ve ever heard.

Selling work for unaffordable prices is like only letting wealthy people listen to Albert Ayler…

January 27, 2010 § 1 Comment

Work in Progress

Octopuses and Field Mice


Above is an unfinished work that is in my studio in Boston.

So what can I say? I am back in the states, continuing my projects and studies. I successfully was able to transport almost all my work back to Boston which was a relief.

I am again living Jamaica Plain. Currently, I am working on new ideas for paintings and completing works I began in Seoul.

You may have noticed that the website http://www.jooyoungchoi.org looks different. Through the help of my business partner/superawesome-boo Tom Schorel, the site has had some really wonderful updates.

You may start to notice more updates on the blog and new work being posted each week. Also, if you check out the gallery you can actually buy pieces via the net.

Today I wanted to talk a little about why I do sliding scale and how that works for me.

You may notice the prices on the gallery are a little steep for some of your wallets and for others it could just be a drop in the bucket. I have always told my friends that if they liked a work but couldn’t afford it, I can make adjustments, I would rather my work finds a good home verses making more and not knowing where my “child” will end up.

So if you noticed something on the site, just email Tom and I at jooyoungchoi.art@gmail.com

We will swiftly and happily reply to your email.

Moreover, this brings me to the fact that people often say to me: JooYoung why don’t you just sell your work for more and make less paintings? Why do you make adjustments for people? You need to be “tougher”.

Let’s face it, many aspects of the art world are completely the opposite of what qualities I hold as ideal. The classist nature of the beast is probably the thing that bothers me the most. While talking to a friend, I mentioned, selling work on a sliding scale allows my work to reach people who truly want the paintings. What’s the point of making work if only a small group of people ever get to enjoy it? Doesn’t everyone deserve to enjoy luxurious things? It would be as if only people in a certain income bracket could read fine poetry or only the wealthy could watch the best bollywood films or only people with an extra 10 grand lying around could listen to Albert Ayler. That’s just plain stupid. I think it was at a Bread and Puppet show or a similar creative activist/artist organization performance that I saw a sign that said “Art for Everyone”. And I think that is a damned good idea.

I will continue to think of ways to keep my work accessible to all folks who truly enjoy it. Within the coming weeks I will begin making TA-Arts again, you may know about these from the All Asia Show covered in the Boston Globe a few years back.

TA-Arts stands for Tiny Affordable Art. Ranging in price from 10 to 30 dollars each.

Also, I am interested in doing art trades with artists who would like to exchange work and also, if you email me a suggestion that is later used as inspiration for a future work, you will be contacted to receive a gift-painting.

I’ll say that again (: If you or your friends have ideas for me, suggestions of what you would like to see me make next, etc. If your ideas are chosen within a week or two a painting will be arriving at your door.

I hope that folks will keep up with blog and take part in the new energy on the site.

Sincerely,

JooYoung Choi

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