An interview with Stella Im Hultberg…


1) Please give us a lil’ background info on yourself. Where were you born and raised?
i was born in seoul, south korea, moved around to hong kong, back to seoul, to taiwan, then to california for college. i’m totally what they call a “third culture kid”. it definitely gave me the grounds for having fascination for identities, to add to the confusion, in those chinese culture countries, i went to british and american schools.

2) If I came to your area, what would we do / where would you take me?
there’s so much to do in brooklyn, or NYC in general. i normally take any visitors to eat inexpensive good food that i know of. there are a lot of music venues and galleries in brooklyn (bushwick area) as well.

3) Did you go to college / art school? If so, what are your thoughts on art school in general?
i went to cal state for industrial design, which is completely different than an art school. it was much more of a practical, vocational, technical training of designers than a pool of academic creativity and imagination.

as for art schools, i think it’s beneficial for any artists to take fundamental classes, and after you have those technical skills, you can probably take yourself anywhere from that. having said that, i do need to probably go take some classes, since i’m mostly self taught and possibly bad-habit-ridden.

4) What’s your earliest memory involving art or creating art?
i remember being very little, possibly before i could draw or hold a pencil right. i started speaking a little too early for my own good (or my mom’s), and i kept asking my mom to
draw all these things for me. probably the earliest.

in school, as young kids (kindergarten to 2nd, 3rd grade) in korea we were required to keep a drawing journal. i drew in it everyday, writing one line or two of what happened that day.

5) When are you most productive / when do you normally work on art?
i oscillate between being a night owl and an early bird. it’s either paint all night and sleep all day – or wake up at 4am and get to work.

6) Tell us something about yourself that someone would never guess in their wildest dreams.
i’m really not sure that i’d possess any quality that is that shocking, but maybe the closest thing i can think of is that i’m pretty handy due to my industrial design background. in the past, i’ve had to weld metal, build furniture, mold plastic, and maneuver all the shop machines like table saws, routers, miters, etc. i guess it’s useful to know how products are built, because i can fix them when they’re broken. i could also say that i know a few languages, but is that that wild?

7) Are you reading anything right now?
i’m finishing murakami haruki’s “after dark”, his latest novel – my favorite novelist. no matter what book i read, i always randomly open up joseph campbell’s “power of myth” and read whatever is on the page – it’s the most inspiring book of all time, so much so that we gift it to friends and family all the time.

8) What’s your favorite color and why?
i have too many favorites, for different contexts. it seems that , in general, i like blue hues.

Stella with artist Travis Louie at the opening reception of Raveled
9) Do you listen to music while painting/drawing? If so, do you have a current favorite that inspires?
i tend to title my paintings after songs (titles or lyrics) that feels like are on the same wavelength to me. for my last round of paintings (for Raveled), i listened to a lot of the pixies, blonde redhead, peter, bjorn, and john, coltrane, pink floyd. all time favorites are the beatles, zeppelin, dylan, neil young, the zombies and hendrix.

although to be honest, i’m not as auditory as i’m visual, so these are mostly influenced by my husband, matthew, and most of my inspiration comes from books (like joseph campbell’s books) or film.

10) If you had to explain your work to a stranger, how would you do it?
i’ve had to do this, and it never works. i’d just give them my website link, or show them pictures on my ipod.

11) Favorite artist (living or dead) and what makes them special to you?
i went to see egon schiele exhibit at the neue gallerie here in nyc a few years ago, and it really blew me away to see them in person, and fueled me to start creating. his paintings and drawings are amazing overall, and when you zoom into a square inch of his works, they’re still amazing and interesting – like a mini abstract painting, and just the sheer amount of work he’s left behind in his short life and from what little he had is astounding.

but really, there are too many to list all the artists that inspire me, and i admire each of them for different reasons.

12) What have you got coming up in terms of shows and projects?
i have a couple group shows for this year, one of which will be a collaboration with a friend. so that will be exciting. the next couple years are a string of solo shows, which kind of scares me a little. it would be nice to kind of take a break for a bit after them.

13) What are you doing right after this interview?
i might have to go purge myself first of all this self-indulgence. then i will probably go read a book, “after dark” and sketch maybe.

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