Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Five Minutes with Artist Soojung Cho

Here is another artist I recently met online, painter Soojung Cho, originally from South Korea.

Do not be beguiled by the seeming simplicity of some of her designs. I see echoes of both Matisse and Magritte, and something more that is her own. According to her artists statement, "In my work I try to reconstitute colors and forms that reflect inner sentiments and emotions in order to create new images." Since 1992 she has shown here work in Miami, New Jersey, New York and South Korea. She is a gift emerging artist with a fresh spirit for our times.

Ennyman: When did you first notice that you were gifted in creative ways?

Soojung: I’ve always been drawn to the arts, even as a little child in rural Korea. But it wasn’t until I met God in my early forties that it became clear to me that I was in some way gifted in creative ways.

The appearance of God in my life has allowed me to focus on the things that are truly important and pure. I am no longer overwhelmed by the constant bombardment of empty noises and incessant chatter that populate the lives of most of us in today’s world. I have regained the necessary peace of mind and spirit to listen to my creative inner voice.

Making art had not been an act of creation; it was rather an expression of an emotional whirlwind. It wasn’t until God had allowed me to focus on pure creation that I truly realized my gift.

Enny: Who were your early influences to become an artist?

Soojung: My earliest true influence was my high school art teacher. She always told me my artworks are good and it was real encouragement to me. Her simple and kind recognition opened the door to pursue art as more than just a hobby. She gave me the confidence to devote my life to art.

Enny: You grew up in South Korea. Does South Korea have a thriving arts community?

Soojung: South Korea has a growing and vibrant art community. Many of my friends are well known artists in Korea, and they have found a way to sustain their art through the patronage of art lovers that are plentiful in a fast growing economy and a culture that values tradition and the arts.

Enny: How did you end up coming to the U.S. and what made you decide to pursue art in a more serious way as an adult?

Soojung: I first came to the U.S. to study Fine Art at Otterbein College. I returned to Korea after matriculating but came back to the United States when my husband found job in New York. I have lived here ever since. There are many reasons I love the United States, but the one thing I could not give up is the freedom I enjoy here as both a woman and artist.

I have to be an artist because nothing else fills that void in my life. I would happily paint for free, if only the practicalities of life didn’t get in the way.

Enny: Are you selling your work and how did that begin?

Soojung: I started selling my artwork at art exhibitions.

I began selling my art through the encouragement of friends who were actively involved in the Korean art community. Once a show went well, it gave me the confidence and experience to cast a wider net. So far I'm very blessed to have supportive Korean audiences and am excited to see a more and more diverse following. In the end, I want my art to be universal.

Enny: I like the way your website gallery has been divided into three sections -- Renewed, Unseen, Seen -- each with a passage from Scripture to go with it. How much is your art influenced by your spiritual beliefs?

Soojung: It is difficult for me to make a distinction between my faith and my art, except to say that my art is an expression of my faith. So in some way, my spiritual beliefs are the only influence, in so far as it is foundational to who I am and how I view the world.

Enny: Most of your work on the website seems to be oil on canvas. Is this your favorite medium and why?

Soojung: Oil on canvas is my favorite medium. I have been fascinated by oil color ever since I was child; I even love the smell linseed oil. But recently I have been exploring the possibilities of digital painting with Corel Painter, and it is pretty amazing. I will upload my recent digital paintings to my website soon.

Enny: Thank you SooJung for letting me share some of yourself with others here at Ennyman's Territory.


조수머 said...

Soojung's art warms your heart and make you feel so good to be alive. Colors and shapes that consists of everyday life and those that make you hope for the future.
I wish she'll get to all those dreamy paintings she has in her.
Best wishes for the near future and beyond!

ENNYMAN said...

Thank you for the comment. Yes, I do hope all that pictures inside her get expressed some day.
Best to you

Anonymous said...

SooJung's art work shows her pure and simple and high spirit.She expresses her inner world through her own beautiful colors and shapes.I can't hardly wait to see her new pieces. Thanks SooJung for sharing your wonderful inner world!

Susan Y Lee said...

I love Soojung's paintings here...Actually I own a piece of Soojung's work at home and I have it hung on the familyroom wall and everyone loves it. It makes the whole house look cozy and warm. Her paintings are always so sweet and warm.

ENNYMAN said...

It is amazing what a difference a piece of art can make in a room. I have no doubt a Soojung piece would create a cozy and warm feeling in any context.

At my last art show I had a small statement on the wall that said, "You can enjoy these for the next few minutes or own one and enjoy it for a lifetime." I think that is the way I feel... both my own and the pieces we've gotten from other artists.

Thanks for sharing...