You just have to look at the work of young, Korean-born artist Jiwon Song to see that she has a natural eye for beauty. It translates perfectly in everything she does. Her intuition is strong, and it guides her when creating the drawings, paintings, and fabric pieces that enlighten her studio in Brooklyn’s DUMBO section. Song was a teenager when she moved to the United States, where she continued her art studies. Her work has been exhibited in numerous galleries on the East Coast. Here, she opens up about her background, what inspires her, and her hopes for the future.
Alison Martin: Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
Jiwon Song: I grew up in Korea and moved to the United States when I was 17. I lived in Springfield, Illinois for 3 years and went to high school there. After that, I spent five years attending college in Baltimore where I completed a Masters program. I’ve been living in Manhattan since August 2016.
AM: What inspired you to become an artist?
JS: I’ve been an artist throughout my whole life. Every season has a different inspiration. The important inspiration for me is children and their genuine act of creating, their relationships with others, and my faith.
AM: You seem to like drawing and painting and experimenting with shape and form. What is it about shape and form that attracts you?
JS: I see shape and form as my interpretive vocabulary that tells stories and expresses emotions. Each shape and form expresses certain gesture, attitude, and characteristic. Together shapes and forms visualize such invisible values through their interaction and movement, that becomes the story telling.
AM: I also noticed that some of your works have a childlike innocence about them. Do they relate to your childhood in any way?
JS: They might. Childlike innocence and genuine quality is the core value that I want to hold onto. One summer, when I had an unforgettable art project with children in Kenya, I was surprised to observe children’s process of making art. It was opposite from adults’ creating. Children’s work express transparency, honesty, playfulness, energy, confidence, freshness, and fun. I have been eager to uplift and celebrate those elements in my work and in the art world.
AM: Is there one particular theme that runs through your work?
JS: One common theme would be actualizing invisibles of my heart into visual forms through childlike lens.
AM: Have any of your works been featured in galleries or museums?
JS: My work has been featured in various galleries in Baltimore, Boston, Brooklyn, and New York. My works are currently exhibiting at Waterfall Mansion and Gallery in Upper Eastside Manhattan.
AM: Is there any particular artist or movement that inspired you or that you identify with?
JS: I admire the works of Agnes Martin and respect the wisdom and works of Makoto Fujimura.
AM: What’s next for you? Are there any other types of media you wish to experiment with?
JS: I started to experiment with weaving and dying fabrics on my own. I am excited about its tactile quality, which allows air to breathe and water to move.
Her website is: jiwon-song.com