“I am the most authentic I’ve ever been.”
Kwonny’s Formative Years: A Brush with Artistic Destiny
Kwonny, christened in the bustling city of New York in 1988, is a self-taught artist now making her home in the eclectic heart of Seattle. As the offspring of South Korean immigrants, her nascent love for art was significantly kindled by her family’s cultural heritage. Her mother’s exceptional skill in crafting intricate paper dolls, in particular, ignited Kwonny’s early memories of aesthetic admiration.
It was an anecdote of a playful Korean tradition that Kwonny often regales with amusement. This custom seeks to forecast a child’s destiny by the item they select on the one hundredth day of their life. Offered pencils and money to choose from, she distinctly diverged, instead reaching across the table for a paintbrush, hinting at her inherent artistic inclination.
Kwonny’s journey through childhood was laden with challenges of assimilation, cultural identity, and a search for belonging as a Korean-American in constant geographical flux. These lived experiences significantly permeated her work, compelling her to absorb and analyze copious amounts of information from her milieu. This profound observation was then woven into her artistic compositions.
As an Asian woman navigating the diverse cultural landscape of the United States, the initial years were a quest for self-definition. It was art, however, that ultimately provided a congenial haven for her self-expression and identity, affirming Kwonny’s belief in her artistic destiny.
Unconventional Paths: Embracing Art Amidst Diverse Ventures
Despite her deep-rooted affection for sketching, kwonny did not prioritize artistic pursuits during her academic years. Her high school graduation marked a pause in her artistic endeavors, as she proceeded to explore the realm of political science at the esteemed UC Berkeley. Envisioning a future in the legal profession, kwonny pursued this path only to realize that it did not resonate with her intrinsic inclinations.
Her journey then led her through a kaleidoscope of professional experiences, encompassing roles such as a bartender, a litigation consultant, and surprisingly, a startup CEO in the buzzing hub of San Francisco. Additionally, she lent her creative flair to the freelance landscape via her design agency, Ethizen.
An epoch of transformation dawned on kwonny in 2020 when she found herself living in Australia with her partner. The region’s distinctive panoramas, diverse inhabitants, and captivating artistry left an indelible mark on her psyche. Particularly, the vibrant biodiversity enriched her creative vision, which is reflected prominently in her nascent oeuvre. An opportunity to exhibit her work at the Australian SALA, facilitated by her partner’s artist mother, proved to be the catalyst for kwonny to perceive her artistry as more than a mere pastime.
Kwonny’s artistic language finds its roots in the punk subculture, though not in its conventional sense. Her interpretation leans towards the subculture’s sense of solidarity, its do-it-yourself spirit, and its rebellious stance against malfunctional systems, rather than its stylistic or musical attributes. Her work is profoundly influenced by global folk and outsider art, reflecting a harmonious blend of various cultural narratives.
Kwonny’s aspiration as an artist is to craft creations that navigate the world’s complexities, capturing them in a light of hope and whimsicality. Her artwork frequently intertwines with strands of poetry or thought-provoking phrases, a technique employed by her to delve into the depths of the themes she explores.
Nurturing Artistry: Inspiration and Influence
The creative sanctuary of Kwonny thrives on two opposite extremes: profound silence or vibrant melodies. She revels in a diverse auditory landscape that spans multiple genres, from the raw authenticity of 90’s underground rap to the bracing energy of European metal. Her playlist also pays homage to the bands of her youth, echoing with the rebellious strains of The Clash, The Ramones, and Green Day.
Integral to Kwonny’s creative ritual are her beverages of choice, coffee and water, staples that serve as her constant companions. Where possible, she luxuriates in the enriching ambiance provided by sunlight. To minimize external disturbances, she adheres to an adaptable routine, often finding solace in the tranquil early morning or the serene silence of late-night painting.
Kwonny’s unique artistic vision is profoundly shaped by a constellation of influential figures, the most significant being Henri Rousseau and Antonio Ligabue, celebrated for their intricate patterns and evocative jungle scenes. Additional sources of inspiration emanate from a broad spectrum of artists, including Hans Erni’s dynamic aesthetics, Deborah Remington’s abstraction, the folk-art stylings of William L. Hawkins, the textile-inspired works of Kustaa Saksi, and the organic shapes in Emma Larsson’s creations. The distinctiveness of their artistry and their compelling narratives resonate deeply within Kwonny, fueling her appreciation for their work and their individual journeys.
Embracing Melodies: Shaping Kwonny’s Artistic Vision
Kwonny holds her work ‘I Ate Your Manifesto’ in high esteem, as the positive response it garnered is particularly treasured. The surge of affirmation from family, friends, and art enthusiasts continues to be the driving force behind her artistic voyage. Each successful endeavor acts as a token of appreciation to those unwavering supporters in her creative pursuits.
Kwonny demonstrates a remarkable affinity for acrylic paints and raw canvas, despite initiating her artistic voyage with digital sketches on an erstwhile iPad model in 2020. The rapid drying times of her thinned-out acrylics present an intriguing challenge, compelling her to expedite her process and immerse herself in a heightened “flow state”. The artist relishes this balancing act between traditional and digital mediums, finding the switch invigorates her craft and infuses freshness into each piece.
When considering her artistic aspirations, kwonny yearns for increased collaborative ventures with musicians, attributing a profound sense of inspiration and vitality to these melodic influences. She also anticipates an exciting future within an artists’ commune, engaging in vast, shared artistic undertakings. By cultivating these relationships, kwonny hopes to diversify her craft, fostering synergies that would allow her vision to take on even more robust and dynamic forms.