Artist: Kathy Yoon
Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
Title of piece: So Many Me’s
Artist Conversation with Kathy Yoon
This week I spoke to artist Kathy Yoon. Kathy is a senior at Cal State University Long Beach and will be graduating this semester. The art that Kathy made was meant to show her emotional journey through this past year of school. The medium that Kathy used was porcelain clay, white rose paper clay, under glaze, and some yarn. There was around 15 or more ceramic sculptures all with similar looks but all showing different emotions.
Kathy received a majority of her inspiration from director, writer, and producer Henry Selick. She was also a little inspired by producer Tim Burton. At looking at her art a few of her characters looks similar to that of Jack Skellington. This is not what Kathy was intending but that’s just what happened. A majority of her work though consists of buttons and thread similar to that of the characters from the movie Coraline. Kathy’s most inspirational ceramic maker that she follows is Beth Cavener Stitcher.
As I spoke to Kathy, she clearly conveyed that each one of these characters made, was her at one point in her life in this past year. Knowing that she will be done with school soon I could imagine that the stresses and emotions are running pretty high. This was why Kathy made these ceramic doll looking creatures. Each one is a representation of her emotions at a certain point in time which is significant to her. Kathy said, “I can look at one of my characters and it will remind me of that specific moment in time of how I was feeling and why I was feeling that way.”
This work created has a very unique style but is also very sentimental to the artist. The way I see it, it’s almost as having a year book or a time capsule but it is built into art. There may be certain times in our life where we hold milestones in our head or if people keep journals, but being able to create art from your memories whether they are good or bad can be another way to remember the past. It may even make it easier, especially for those not so good times because you can show all that rage, anger, or sadness through your work. People don’t have to hold it in or express their emotions to others where it can possibly hinder healthy relationships that they have. In a way a can be therapeutic. This can be very important especially if we are trying to maintain emotional strength within our lives.
I really enjoyed Kathy’s work and I think we can all relate to what her art is expressing. We all experience a wide range and wave of emotions and it will be like that for the rest of our lives. Hopefully we have the luxury of experiencing more happy and joyful moments in our lives but the world isn’t perfect and we are sure to encounter some sad and frustrating moments. But we need to be able to find an activity or hobby where we can be free to express those emotions and not hold them in. It can be anything that helps you get through bad times or help you remember the good ones.
I for example enjoy physical activity. Whether it be playing sports or just working out. I can release that feeling of anger or stress by putting more effort into excelling at a sport or lifting a heavier weight. This is something that helps me maintain my peace of mind. But the way I like to remember certain events is I like to draw. I will relate certain events through my drawings and it makes me happy to see that this is what I was experiencing at the time. My drawings are like my own personal year book and its really cool to have that ability. I know I am on a rant right now but my point is that we need to be able to freely express our emotions in healthy ways to live hopefully happier lives. This is what I think Kathy trying to convey to her viewers.
To see a little more of who Kathy is and her work you can follow her on Instagram at Kathy.C.Yoon.