HyeGyeong Choi’s Paintings are Deeply Rooted in Romanticism and Womanhood

HyeGyeong Choi (b. 1986, Seoul, South Korea) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. As a Korean woman, Choi has set out to defy what’s accepted in Korean culture, by incorporating body image, identity, gender and sexuality in her paintings. Drawing inspiration from nature and landscape, Choi has complimented her subject matter with magical and bright color schemes.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from originally and when did art first enter your life?
I was born and raised in Korea. I was always interested in art but intensively getting trained and being serious about art when I was 14 years old. Over the holidays, my cousin recommended my mom to send me to a private art school that she attended.

Has your work always taken on the style it currently embodies?
The most similar current style of the work appeared on 2017.

What’s a day in the studio like for you?
I always have a bucket of water prepared so that I can start jumping into work right away when I get to the studio. Otherwise, I could stare at the paintings for hours to think what to do next.

What’s next for you?
I have a solo exhibition coming up on Jan at Carl Kostyal gallery in London.

From where do you draw inspiration?
It depends on each painting. I normally get inspired from nature and landscapes for colors. When I think of a story or a scene, I start drawing the figures in my head then all parts come together in one on the canvas. Sometimes, I look at fashion magazine or dancer’s costumes that inspires me, especially when I think of playing between objects and figures in reversed reality.

Have you always painted in the style your work currently inhabits?
I think that the current style begun developing at the second year of grad school when I was attending the school of the art institute of Chicago. There are arrange of styles in my work that there are abstracted, more landscape or narrative focus. I think that my style is signified by mostly the gestural marks and keen use of color.

What source material do you base your work off of?
It depends on the work that I use historical references sometimes but mainly it comes from my head. I can occasionally have a sketch to explore dry materials and compositions but not really.

Does your work reference any Art Historical movements?
I think that my work is deeply related to romanticism in terms of importance of imagination in my work and celebration of individuals as well as emphasize on emotions over reality. So I often reference master works from romanticism movement.

What is your process like? How do you begin a work?
When I have a strong idea in my head about a story or gestures of figures, I start painting in my head and when I finish the final image in mind, I start the actual painting.

At the end of every interview, we like to ask the artist to recommend a friend whose work you love for us to interview next. Who would you suggest?
I’d like to recommend “Jiwoo Kim”