I'm Jay Chung, a Korean American artist currently based in Dallas. I was born in 1986 and grew up in Seoul, Korea. My journey as an artist began after completing my BA in Architectural Engineering and working for a few years as an architecture and design firm advisor. I followed my dream and came to Boston to pursue a career as a visual artist, enrolling in the BFA program. In 2016, I received my BFA and BA in Psychology degrees from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts .
Since graduating, I've spent the past five years living alongside and witnessing the lives of overlooked, misunderstood, and ostracized individuals. During my travels to different countries, I encountered people living in refugee camps and saw firsthand their struggles, including anxiety, frustration, and anger. Despite these challenges, I was inspired by their incredible will to live and find enlightenment in their circumstances.
These encounters led me to ponder profound questions about our existence. How do we find our place in the world? How does the human condition manifest itself in what I've observed? Can personal devastation create change or offer new perspectives for others?
I also delved into the essence of painting itself. What defines a painting? Can we strike a balance between visualization and context? And how will my artwork contribute to the ongoing global conversation or the timeline of our civilization?
By reflecting on my own experiences and how they intertwine with the world, I've discovered a growing concern about the role of art in addressing these questions.
Could you tell us more about your background and how you began creating art?
What does your art aim to say to its viewers?
Let's dive deeper into the essence of our existence. Humans are like vibrations, constantly resonating and responding to the echoes and reverberations around us. Every interaction with life sends seismic waves, creating a tidal rhythm that shapes our experiences. Life follows a cycle, and my figurative paintings embrace this unconventional representation of the human body, offering a visceral insight into our conscious and unconscious existence.
There is a profound connection between the physical and the cerebral. Society, imagination, and dreams serve as a canvas to illustrate the contrast between the tangible and intangible. My Reverberation series draws inspiration from the philosophical musings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, particularly his exploration of dualistic thinking and dichotomies in "The Visible and the Invisible." Similarly, my work delves into the human form, incorporating ideas from contemporary physics to unveil the inherent uncertainty in our perception of the human condition, tight spaces, and the interplay of objects.
This uncertainty sheds light on how we unconsciously navigate through spaces we deem reliable and interact with everyday objects. Thus, the subject of the human form intertwines with the quest to understand the void within spaces. Ultimately, my art explores how we interact with and perseveres through isolation.
Can you tell us about the process of creating your work? What is your daily routine when working?
My day begins with meditation, setting the stage for a focused and reflective mindset. When I arrive at the studio, I take care of any necessary preparations, tend to my materials, and meditate. During this time, I envision images, concentrate on my breathing, and imagine staring at the blank canvas for an extended period.
I always start my work by visualizing the finished painting in my mind. Interestingly, the imagined image often aligns with the final artwork, as if a connection between the vision and the creative process exists.
What is the essential element in your art?
In my artistic practice, I emphasize preserving and harnessing the aesthetic perspective that art uniquely possesses. This perspective allows me to delve into the intricacies of form, composition, color, texture, and other visual elements that contribute to a piece's overall beauty and impact. However, not merely pursuing visual allure drives my creative process. True artistic depth lies in striking a delicate equilibrium between the work's contextual and visual aspects.
In your opinion, what role does the artist have in society?
Art is an additional window through which we can perceive aspects of our world that may have previously gone unnoticed or intentionally ignored. It can shed light on hidden truths and offer fresh perspectives on societal issues.
Art is not created in isolation; it emerges from the very fabric of the present in which we exist. It carries the essence of our times—the characteristics, changes, and events that shape our collective experiences. Through artistic expression, we find a medium to convey the realities we face, not through written or spoken words, but through the language of art itself. In its unique form, art becomes a platform for communication, allowing us to engage with the challenges and triumphs of our era.
Artists are fighters, worriers, and comforters, each in their way. They channel their emotions and observations into their work, using words, gestures, and expressions to convey a message surpassing verbal communication's limitations. Art should never remain silent; it must have a voice that resonates with the times and speaks to the human condition. When art embraces its role in society and fearlessly reflects the realities we navigate, it becomes all the more valuable.
In a world where we constantly strive for progress, art catalyzes change. It provokes critical thinking, challenges societal norms, and encourages dialogue. It can ignite empathy, inspire action, and foster a deeper understanding among individuals. By holding up a mirror to our society, art compels us to confront uncomfortable truths and prompts us to work towards a more compassionate and inclusive world..
Art can bridge divides, break down barriers, and bring people together. It unites us in our shared humanity, reminding us of our interconnectedness. It prompts us to reflect, question, and imagine alternative possibilities. As artists, it is our responsibility to embrace this role and use our creative voices to contribute to the ongoing conversation of our time.
In essence, art is a powerful force that shapes and reflects society. It is not a passive bystander but an active participant in the evolution of our collective consciousness. It can influence minds, challenge perceptions, and ignite change. As we engage with art, we are invited to see, feel, and reflect upon our world in ways that can be transformative. Let us cherish and celebrate the role of art, ensuring that it continues to speak boldly and authentically within our society.