Last Thursday (September 27th) was the Marist Show opening reception, and it went great. I went to Maine the morning after— woke up at 5 am and was on the road at 7 for an 8 hour drive, so I didn’t have time to post here on the blog. Back in NYC now, so here are some pictures! We had a lot of people come out, including the president and president emeritus of Marist College, along with family, friends and lots of college students. I had forgotten how much I love speaking to students. Thanks to everyone who came out! The show is up until October 20th, with Gallery Hours Monday-Saturday 12-5 PM.
We made it to Poughkeepsie with all the paintings for the Marist show which opens on Thursday the 27th. I’m exhausted so that’s it for now. Vin was an angel.
Usually I'll do a color study before diving into a big painting. The main reason is to map out the overall visual impact I'll be going for, which is difficult to do on the actual final canvas when I'm in the weeds painting. The color study allows me to push and pull the hierarchies of values and since it's at such a small scale (usually 8 x 10 inches), I'm able to work the whole of the little canvas quickly and manipulate the drama of the painting over and over as I need.
This time, with my 90 x 60 inch painting of the golems which Vin Ganapathy inspired (26 heads), I did so many compositional studies before transferring that I was so anxious just to begin. Now that the painting is underway (I won't post until it's a bit more further along), I realized I actually did need to step back and do that color study, in particular to figure out how to resolve the background. Shortcuts never do seem to work out for me after all:) Anyway, it was a nice breather from the big 'un.
My friend Patty Watwood hosts a paint-out every summer for a few friends up at their place near Narrowsburg, New York, on the Pennsylvania border right at the Delaware Water Gap. It's usually about six or seven artists and their plein air boxes and a model, and we go out to the meadows and the pond and paint for about four days. There's a pig roast on Saturday night and loads of people come and drink around the fire. It's a good time.
This year we had quite a truncated version due to some heavy thunderstorms, and only a couple of us ended up braving it, on the last two days which had finer weather, but we all had a great time as we do every year, and the pig roast-- and the ensuing fun-- still happened :)
I spent the morning making a new tab on this website to show you some of my monoprints from my week at Penland. Pls take a look if you're interested!
In the past few months, I have spoken to more than a few friends who either are not on social media or recently gave it up, and who therefore come and visit my blog for updates! Thank you, awesome friends! I will make an effort to keep this more populated and updated:)
Below is a Sunday afternoon sketch of my place, as it just seemed right to play it fast and loose on a rainy Sabbath in Brooklyn. My mannequin is named Dorothea after one of my favorite heroines, from George Eliot's "Middlemarch." Despite her benign name and frame, which was molded in a warehouse in New Jersey, the poor and earnest Dorothea tends to freak out visitors. A painting in the background is of a geisha in a kimono as well. Poetry on the fridge, lots of tchotchkes on the shelves and classical philosophy books too, from an earlier time when ancient Greek comprised the entirety of my life.
One of the poems on the fridge:
"Waking Up" by Jorge Luis Borges
Translated, from the Spanish, by Alastair Reid.
Daylight leaks in, and sluggishly I surface
from my own dreams into the common dream
and things assume again their proper places
and their accustomed shapes. Into this present
the Past intrudes, in all its dizzying range–
the centuries-old habits of migration
in birds and men, the armies in their legions
all fallen to the sword, and Rome and Carthage.
The trappings of my day also come back:
my voice, my face, my nervousness, my luck.
If only Death, that other waking-up,
would grant me a time free of all memory
of my own name and all that I have been!
If only morning meant oblivion!
A good friend of mine from art school, Danny Grant, hosts a fun and informative podcast where he talks to artists about their painting practice and philosophy. I had a wonderful conversation with him a couple of weeks ago during which we caught up about the evolution of my painting, what it is like to have and not have an arts community, the book I'm revising, how to be fearless and find your own voice in your practice, and the secular humanistic philosophy and pedagogy I have been thinking about and developing for years-- it was a fantastic time. Give it a listen if you have a chance: on iTunes or at www.dannygrantfineart.com/podcast.
Hi everyone! I cleaned up my website a bit and added a drop-down for a big project I'm involved in this year called Frankenstein: Konfidential, and I thought I would mention it in the blog, too. You can find more information about it on our website (launching in July) and on Facebook at the Frankenstein: Konfidential Facebook Page. Just a little bit about it here: a great writer friend of mine, Tommy Zurhellen, approached me last year to collaborate with him on the re-telling of Frankenstein, which is in its bicentennial this year. My part of it is to use his manuscript, Mary Shelley's original and also the myth of the golem as inspiration and respond with a visual evocation-- i.e., giant paintings. It's been awesome. We have two shows coming up in the fall.
Nice to be here.
I did this video - stop motion- a few years ago of my painting "Rachel in Profile." It's very subtle: she's blinking. I realized today I had never put it on the website.
Second painting I need to get done this week. I am cranking it in the studio. My friend Kait came last week and sat for this. I don't know how this got quite so "come hither," but it did! Looking forward to transferring it tomorrow. Leaving to grab some stretcher bars now!
My girlfriend Victoria came by yesterday and sat for me for a few hours. I'm doing a little painting - deadline at the end of the month, so it's been *real* today. This is the compositional drawing I did from life, and then the hat I put on a mannequin to finish up the details today. The painting is going to be vertically long: 45 inches x 26 inches. I don't have the body in yet-- next Saturday!
I just found out that I was awarded the Falls Family Scholarship to attend a two-week monoprint workshop at Penland School of Crafts in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina this summer! I am very excited, as I have been looking forward to diversifying my practice and learning new media. I first started learning more about printing when I was at Vermont Studio Center this summer, and I just want to DO IT now!
Last night I took an encaustics class at Trestle Gallery in Industry City. I came with a project in mind for Frankenstein Konfidential. That didn't go well-- preconceptions and all. I should have just played.
This was the first painting I made after I left Water Street 10 years ago. I had been a student for three years there, and had worked and loved hard so many moments. I remember my last day of school: the economy was in the midst of collapse-- it was 2008-- and I was walking through Times Square towards Hell's Kitchen, towards home. Across the tall buildings, the stock tickers ran red and maniacally, telling the tale of the plummeting markets, and the talking heads played on the big screens and the humans blinked morose and thoughtful.
I had in my bag a check that was something just over $13,000-- it would have been more than $20,000 had it been sent a week before, from Canada: I had just found out that I had won the Elizabeth Greenshields Grant. (A few years later, I would win it again.) Unlike the talking heads of the blinking screens, I was not morose, though perhaps I was thoughtful, contemplative. That day at the computer in my studio, I put out a call for models on Craigslist. Within 10 minutes I was inundated by emails, and I started booking. I could not believe that, for $20 an hour, men and women would come to me, show their bodies to me generously and allow me to capture their spirit with mine. And so, at the beginning of the American recession, I experienced the beginning of my own American dream; in the midst of an external reckoning, I awoke to an internal quietude and power that still marks one of the most valuable moments of my life.
I was ambitious, and went straight to the galleries right away. This painting, “Hopper’s Closer Look”, inspired by his masterpiece “Automat,” sold before the show opened in Soho at Eleanor Ettinger and it now lives in Mumbai. I’m posting this today because an artist I met for the first time on Monday remembered seeing it at the show that many years ago, and it reminds me that everyday I should be grateful that I can continue to paint and work, which is to do what I can to reach my essential self. That is what, in my worldview, keeps me in fellowship with the rest of humanity. It is my effort to bridge the internal world-- so rich, dark, spirited-- with the external-- so rich, dark, and spirited.
Please follow me on instagram, @hyeseungs, if you're interested - I post these a bit more quickly there. Thank you so much!
I spent most of December at a residency at the Vermont Studio Center and am in the midst of preparing for two fall shows (dates TBD).
Please drop by my OPEN STUDIO WEEKEND next month if you'd like to see what I have been up to!
Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4
59 Scholes Street #207 | Brooklyn
Here is a thumbnail gallery of a few works that will be available during my open studio weekend. Pls contact me at hyeseungs(at)gmail(dot)com for pricing. Thank you!
Afternoon Update: Sold! Thanks, Social Media!
I had some trouble getting to sleep and staying that way last night. I finally decided the hell with it and got up at 4 am this morning, and had my first of three breakfasts (cold pizza). I decided to give up on my painting of Lilo-- there was some major distortion in the transfer when I projected the drawing, and I have been fighting with it for days. I will retransfer next week, using a copy instead of projecting. I was disappointed in the hours lost and the frustration, so I decided to get some instant gratification and do a quick alla prima (after my second breakfast of overnight oats).
The morning light is weak into the kitchen, which is far away from the wall of windows in my apartment. The shadows cast by the pots above the stove are beautiful in that early time-- very quiet, very somber. I worked on that this morning for a few hours, though it was very challenging given there wasn't too much light on my canvas at the start.
In progress... this was supposed to be done in January, but it got away from me. I'm working on the tattoo right now. This is the first pass, and then it'll get knocked down and look like a real tat soon. Right now, it's too bright, etc.
Writer Tommy Zurhellen is re-imagining Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in Nazi-era Germany. His work is entitled Frankenstein: Konfidential. Tommy and I will be collaborating on a project together this year where I make a series of paintings inspired by his book. The beginning of the first painting is below.
This painting is about 7-feet x 11.5-feet in size and is still in progress, but it is just about there; I'm keeping it relatively open. There is a light-installation component to it as well.
I also started another painting of one of Tommy's characters, a young woman named Lilo, who is a Nazi Resistance fighter and a student of Professor Viktor Frankenstein. Here's the beginning of that, too:
I started both of these at these at the Vermont Studio Center, where I had a residency this past December. It was a beautiful time.