藝術家專訪｜甜甜的雨花落了下來：閔詣智 Yae -Jee Min
Updated: May 13, 2022
《Sweet Rain That Fell》Multidisciplinary Artist: Yae Jee Min
採訪編輯 Interview and Edited by｜謝蕎安 Joanne Hsieh
圖文 Image courtesy｜閔詣智 Yae-Jee Min
芝加哥, USA. Chicago, IL.
閔詣智 Yae-Jee Min，韓裔美籍藝術家，現居芝加哥。閔的創作，第一眼有些難捉摸，但有種特殊的魅力：柔和的色彩麟光閃爍，畫面中似有若無的事物意象，稍縱即逝。溫柔而充滿底蘊，沈澱在觀者視覺記憶深處，初看時沒有其他當代藝術繪畫的張牙舞爪，卻讓人想回頭細細品味。經過一年多觀察這位不張揚但如河水徐徐前進的藝術家，從她 2019 年畢業於芝加哥藝術學院 (Saic)，我和閔詣智在今年七月份聯絡，做了第一次訪談。（Yae-Jee 於今年十月份在芝加哥的Julius Caesar 畫廊的個展 Sweet Rain that Fell: Through a Kaleidoscope。）
Ｑ： 嗨 Yae Jee！可以和讀者自我介紹一下嗎？
Hi Yae-Jee, thanks for doing this interview! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Yae-Jee：「我出生在南韓的晉州，但是在南加州 Torrance 長大。在 Torrance 成長還蠻有意思的，因為那邊有非常多的亞裔居民。很有人情味也很多元。我和朋友們以前常開玩笑-在那邊根本不可能學會英文。 在我的成長過程中可以接觸到韓國跟美國文化，尤其是在這個亞裔美國人的環境中長大。像許多其他 "1 1/2" 代移民的孩子，我有時候覺得自己被兩邊的文化都排除在外。我爸爸以前在一間韓國航空公司上班，所以我們經常在暑假回韓國，我覺得自己在兩邊往返非常頻繁。」
I was born in Jinju, South Korea and grew up mostly in Torrance, California. It was interesting place to grow since there was a heavy Asian American population. Very warm and diverse. My friends and I use to joke that it was impossible to learn English here. I grew up with access to both Korean and American cultures, especially in tuned with this Asian American hybridity. And like a lot of other 1.5 generation kids, I felt kind of alienated from both sides of my identity. My dad used to work for a Korean airlines company, so our family went back to Korea often for summer breaks. So I felt like I was in between a lot.
What are your recommendations (places, activities) for visitors?
It might be stereotypical SoCal vibe, but I went to the beach a lot. It’s like Seoul in many ways because trends come and go very quickly. Hiking is a must in LA county, along with cakes at Little Tokyo, ICA, rooftop bars in DTLA, Salvation Mountain, getting acupuncture, etc
How would you describe your work to a stranger?
Yae-Jee：「一個混合體、一池水塘。我的創作以繪畫 (painting) 和美工 (craft) 的語言來呈現一個意象。以”繪圖”為主，用抽象的畫面和以及各種筆觸為輔，來重新敘事。」
A mix, a pool. My work takes the language of painting and craft to create an image. It is drawing oriented, focusing an abstraction and mark making as a way of recreating narratives.
Is there a continuous theme in your work? Yae-Jee：「用趣味的方式呈現水、往事以及身份認同。」
Water, nostalgia, and identity through whimsy.
What is the significance of sequins and fabrics in your work?
Yae-Jee：「觸感 (tacticality) 對我而言很重要。我喜歡創作能強調 ”觸覺“ 的作品。我從小到大有很嚴重的散光，所以我看東西都是看到強烈的光束，我用亮片來模仿那種感覺。亮片有一種珍貴感：一小片無足輕重的塑膠--一小片美好的光亮。從一個可以輕而易舉得到的物品中尋得喜悅。我也喜歡亮片微微的黏著感，透過皮膚的油膩和汗水黏在身上。」
Tactility is important to me. I’m interested in making work that enforce haptic nature. I had bad astigmatism for most of my life. So the way I view things was through a burst of long lines of light. Sequins mimic that for me. Also it seems very precious to me. A small inane piece of plastic that is really inconsequential. But a lovely bit of shine. The idea of finding joy in something accessible. It’s ok if you loose a piece of sequin. I also enjoy its slight tacky texture, how it sticks to you due to sweat and oil on the skin.
What inspire your aesthetic choices?(Colors, motifs, etc.)
I been using dark colors lately, muted blues, blacks, and silvers. My color choices change pretty constantly. It use to just stay in pastels, but now I like to think its more of bouncing prism now.
Butterflies, fauna, and floral comes up a lot in my work. Along with floating hills and a circle. For medium it really is a free for all. I have a basic formula now of using sequin fabrics and a layer of polyester on top. But in between the layers or on top I use everything from acrylics to makeup.
Can you tell us about your art-related education and experiences?
I went college for psychology. Graduated, freaked out, and decided that I want to do art instead. So went to an after school hawgon (a Korean word for a for-profit private institute) for art and took lessons on basic painting and drawing. I made a portfolio, went to SAIC for a BFA and then got my MFA from the same school. School really opened up my definition of what art could be. The fibers department was really where I learned how to make art.
Who inspire you and your favorite artists?
Haegue Yang, Kimsooja, Karla Black, Pre Raphaelites, Korean embroidery, Jessica Stockholder, Sam Gilliam, my Mom, Dansaekhwa （(Dansaekhwa: Korean Monochrome Painting）. I just got a book about that Korean art from the 1950s that I really excited about. Also cake.
我用很多粉彩色、以及”手工“ 這種被歸類為 “女性化” 的創作手法，因此經常要為自己的創作辯護
What were your favorite activities as a child? Do they have a significance in your practice as an artist now?
I always had low energy. My favorite things to do was huddle and read. I listened to music a lot and would daydream. I feel like I am still doing the same things, instead of reading to find spaces, I am creating my own spaces. It was this form of cocooning for me. One of my favorite memories is climbing into my grandmothers black lacquer closet filled with soft blankets and reading. Oddly, I have always been terrified of the dark, even though I have a lot of memories reading by the low light.
Have you encountered any obstacles as a female artist?
Yae-Jee：「有的。可能是因為我對於介紹自己的作品總是很不安，但我常常要為自己的創作辯護。特別是因為我用很多粉彩色、以及”手工“這種被歸類為“女性化”的創作手法，大家很容易卡在討論 ”手工創作” 這部分。（藝術世界裡）絕對有油畫和雕塑被捧在最高位置的事實。」
Yeah, I have. It might be due to the fact I get so anxious talking about my work out loud, but I had to defend my choices a lot. Especially since I use a lot of pastels and crafted oriented practices that is seems to represent the ‘feminine’, people would just get stuck on the craft. There definitely is a hierarchy where painting and sculptures are held to be the standard.
Obviously there are so many phenomenal artists working in many different methods, but conversation seem to get stuck sometimes. First year in grad school was hard because of that, since some of the students did not know how to talk about my work. And quiet critique is just so painfully awkward. It's easy to dismiss work due to it being child-like and feminine. I think that’s just lazy.
What do you enjoy doing outside of the studio?
Yae-Jee：「我很喜歡邊散步邊聽音樂。最近喜歡聽 Rina Sawayama，Yaeji，Peggy Gou還有Park Hye Jin。我喜歡和朋友一起看電影，我以前星期二會和朋友一起去看電影因為有半價。」
I really like walking and listening to music. I been really into Rina Sawayama, Yaeji, Peggy Gou, and Park Hye Jin. Watching movies with friends. I used to have a movie date with a good friend of mine on Tuesdays because tickets were half-off.
Best memory / experience as an artist so far? And the best advice you’ve received?
Whenever someone tells me my work is sincere. ( Best advice is ) one of my professors in undergrad told me do whatever I wanted. She told me that I was really stubborn and that I was going to do what I felt anyways, so to just trust that. And that its okay to fail.
Special Thanks to Yae-Jee Min.
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