Thursday, November 1, 2012

Heekyoung Song Style

by Drew Martin
Heekyoung Song is a media artist and curator I have gotten to know over the past year. She explores digital media and creates two-dimensional works on the computer, sometimes incorporating sound and video for interactive installations. We discussed her paintings at a recent show Edition Over Original that she curated and which included my work. We spent some time on the idea of finding the right combination of art and technology.

Two of her paintings that were hung side by side contained a young cartoonish girl, an Alice of sorts in a wonderland of candies, which are sugar-coated symbols of stress and other issues. In one of the paintings, Alice is completely computer drawn. In another painting, she is hand drawn, scanned and altered on the computer. The difference is that the hand-drawn Alice is more emotional, deeper, closer to what Heekyoung is trying to achieve in her balance of original work and duplication. The challenge is that she is creating work for a fine art audience with a look that suggests something more commercial.

I like to discuss Heekyoung’s work with her because she appreciates an honest opinion and becomes very serious and contemplative, like she is deciding the fate of her future work, but she is always quick to laugh at different ideas and directions she could take.

We talk about the difference between having a persona such as her Alice as a motif versus a character and adventures she could go on. I suggest that she takes Alice beyond the motif and turn her into a true character with a storyline. I offer that this guileless Alice could wander into North Korea and create situations based on her naïveté and the misunderstanding of the people she meets. Heekyoung kids me for trying to steer her into another conversation about North Korea. So I changed the subject and asked her what Koreans think about Japanese culture. She says that they are very serious, while Koreans, she offers are warmer, “We are more emotional, like Italians.”