Interview with Kwon Kyung-yup for “Melancholia”


Thinkspace Gallery is proud to present Kwon Kyung-yup’s latest body of work with her solo exhibition “Melancholia.” In anticipation of the show we have an exclusive interview with Kwon Kyung-yup sharing with us her love for oil paint and connection to her work.

What do you like about oil paints as a medium?
I work with very slow breathing as though I meditate. As oil paintings dry slower than other paintings, I complete my work for one to two months, observing the progress of the work. I enjoy paintings made with great effort for a long period. I would love to be a master artisan before I am an artist. Oil paintings are appropriate to depict abundant colors of the skin. They are also excellent materials to adjust degrees of gloss and transparency.

kwon interview

What themes or ideas were you exploring in this new body of work?
I wanted to draw a character who reviews one’s life while dreaming of something behind the reality. My characters are immersed in deep contemplation or meditating. In the painting “Red Moon” and “Romance”, I wanted to draw the image of a human withdrawing into one’s inside, contemplating or longing for the ideal beyond the reality. The red color appearing here expresses the energy that pursues beauty while trying to fill in the deficiency and casting an immortal spell on the human body.

The title of the painting “I lock the door upon myself” was taken from that of the painting “I lock the door upon myself” of Fernand Khnopff, a Belgian symbolist painter of the 19th century. I wanted to express the melancholic emotion bounding towards the inside world, being disconnected from the outside world.

The painting “Primavera” ‘s theme is spring. Recently, I have been learning and enjoying the beauty of daily things while drawing a series on spring. The flowers and plants surround the character have the meaning of healing just like the bandage I have been drawing so far.

In the paintings “Strum”, “Surreal Memory” and “Cherish”, the girls are drawn as if they were discolored by the long flow of time; this is the metaphor of the memory’s nature of fading with time.

In the expression of loneliness and loss, I extracted and expressed only certain traces left by the memory while hiding personal narratives.

Instead, I made it possible to interpret the painting in various ways by filling the void space with the language of “silence” or substituting with specific colors or symbols; the scope of interpretation was extended by placing metaphoric elements inside the painting.

kwon interview

Can you explain what a day in the studio would looks like?
I get the best paintings when I concentrate on painting in my studio the whole day. And I get the inspiration for the next work at that moment.

Do you use models as a reference or do you paint the people from your imagination?
I describe characters with a realistic grammar; however, I emphasize imaginative elements and fantasy above all. There are paintings in which my family and friends were models while many other ones were drawn from imagination without a model.

This time, I painted two pieces with boys as models, they are Chanyeol and Sehun, members of the K-pop star group EXO. Based on the experience of having drawn Girls Generation’s members while doing collabo work with SM Entertainment in Korea in 2012, I realized that the images of the singers fit well with those of my paintings and found a new possibility for my paintings.

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What do you do when you’re not painting?
I like reading books. I get the desire to create something through literature works rather than works of art. I get inspiration from Russian literature such as Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy which expose human nature while also give the feeling of magnificence and nobleness. I enjoy reading Japanese novels intergrating realism and surrealism, the romanticism literature of the 19th century including Goethe and the illusionist literature of Borges.

What is your favorite food?
Sincerely prepared food

Is there a piece in this show you are more connected to than the others?
Bandaged works. I cannot exactly explain why but I had a special feeling when I painted the works. I cannot logically explain for that. I was 100% immersed in the work depicting my feeling at that moment very well.

In “Primavera”, I was able to enjoy the painting while using orange, green and yellow color during the course of drawing flowers and plants.

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How have you grown as an artist over the last 5 years?
I feel how precious each day’s work is.

What do you think is the biggest blessing and challenge of being an artist?
I think that art means expressing the world with one’s unique perspective. An artist must reconstruct one’s view of understanding the world in a unique way. That is, a unique view of the world is needed and that view has to be always refreshed. In addition, aesthetic experience is also required as it is important to add aesthetic quality. Artistic experience does not just occur inside art but can occur in various areas.

kwon interview 1
Attend the opening reception of Kwon Kyung-Yup’s “Melancholia” exhibition this Saturday, April 30th from 6-9pm. Visit the Thinkspace Gallery website for additional information on the exhibition.


Me seen by myself, me seen by another person. There is a room of mirrors, endlessly looking face-to-face. One is my mirror while the other is that of another person looking at me. Just as many images are formed when the two mirrors face each other, how can I explain the many images of myself? I can’t know who I am, which one of these is my real image.

I become different depending upon which state, situation and reality I am facing or which philosophy and attitude I have in my life. That is, I can see myself only indirectly through something else then myself. Just like most artists. a work reflects its artist in some way and thus can be interpreted as a mirror of the mind with the internal myself projected on it.

I see one side of myself through my paintings; however, the work’s meaning changes continuously according to my varying emotional states and their changes. Just as my image inside the mirror changes with the flow of emotions, The figure in my painting is a Melancholiker who is always silent and many secrets are hidden in that silence.

The feature of my job is the visual expression of a human’s feeling, emotion, and mood that is hard to express; the expression is based on the fundamental experience shared by all humans. As the work was expressed in a wide context, the detailed meanings of each work can change according to the emotional line of the human looking at the painting.

As my self-portrait hides a private narrative, it can show my mother or sister or become a mirror of the mind showing the painting’s viewer. Thus, a painting is the space for thinking. The viewer of a painting can discover one’s present or past view through my painting and also project one’s own inside on the painting then retrieve it again to read it subjectively.

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Thinkspace Presents New Works by Amy Sol for “Garden Gamine”

Amy Sol Postcard

Thinkspace is pleased to present Garden Gamine, featuring new works by Amy Sol. Born in Korea, where she spent much of her childhood, Sol now lives and works in Las Vegas, NV. A self-taught artist, she has developed and refined an intuitive technique over many years, mixing her own unique pigments and mediums to create signature palettes, and working primarily in thinly layered acrylic on wood panel. Her illustrative paintings and works on paper are dreamy and beautifully stylized. An artist whoembraces the Golden Age of illustration’s simple expression of narrative, Sol’s concise work perfects visual storytelling with fantastic imagery.

Sol is known for her paintings of graceful nymph-like girls and their sympathetic animal companions. Fundamentally a storyteller, her images capture surreal encounters, moments, and characters. Her figures seem suspended in dreamlike states, arrested in thoughtful and meditative trances. The ambiguous postponement of time and action in the works contributes to their otherworldliness; they are somehow nostalgic and frozen, like glimpses into a fabled past or a mythic, narrative dimension. Owing to this feeling of whimsical detachment and playful idealization, her imagery conveys an almost childlike sensibility. Though Sol explores imaginative themes that fascinated her in her childhood, she incorporates a subtle element of melancholy, a quiet shadow of adult sadness and reserve to deepen and offset the overall tone of the works.

amy sol new work

Inspired by a variety of graphic and artistic traditions, Amy Sol combines several aesthetic influences in her imagery. Among them, she cites Japanese Manga, Korean folk-art, Celadon ceramics, Japanese Studio Ghibli animation, Disney, and vintage 19th century and early 20th century illustration. Among the Golden Age era of illustrators she admires are Arthur Rackham, known for his phenomenally detailed line work and silhouette cuts, and Kay Nielsen, an early 20th century Danish, Art Nouveau illustrator who eventually created for early Disney. Her understated palettes, use of natural imagery, and preference for graphic and linear detail attest to her love of early vintage illustration, while her cartoon-like animal companions and their surreal, childlike encounters, reveal an affinity for stylized comics. The combination is undeniably spellbinding.

The dreamscapes in which Sol’s characters find themselves tend to be sparse, abstract, and atmospheric, contributing to an overall sense of surreal dislocation. Preferring to paint on wood panel for its smoothness and organic texture, Sol balances the linear and graphic quality of her aesthetic with a feeling of softness, flow, and warmth. Her custom palettes are entirely her own, and in this new body of work she continues to explore the possibilities of monochromatic ranges, moving away from golden muted sepias to the incorporation of warmer, and more saturated, pink and purple hues.

Join us for the opening reception of Amy Sol’s “Garden Gamine” Saturday, April 2nd from 6 to 9 pm.  The show will be on view through April 23.

Christine Wu featured on

Juxtapoz Christine Wu

In just a few hours Christine Wu’s “Sleepless” opens at Thinkspace Gallery. A solo exhibition in Thinkspace Gallery’s main room, Christine Wu’s latest body of work is one part a love letter and second explores all the things that keep you up at night – real and imaginary. Visit for a preview of the show and artistic background of Christine Wu.

“Known for her subtle tonal palettes, and exquisitely precise line work, Wu’s new works are darker and more muted than her previous. This aesthetic shift is Intended to capture a feeling of isolation and emotional strain,” –

Interview with Christine Wu for “Sleepless”

Christine Wu Interview for Sleepless

Christine Wu’s “Sleepless” takes over Thinkspace Gallery’s main room next Saturday, January 23rd. We had the opportunity to interview Christine Wu to find out the inspiration behind the exhibition and how she has grown as an artist. Please join us at the opening reception for “Sleepless” from 6 to 9pm, January 23rd.

What is the inspiration behind the upcoming exhibition?
There are a lot of parts to this exhibition since the ideation of the work took some time to incubate. There’s a part of it that’s a love letter to a specific someone who will never realize it. Another part is in the title, Sleepless, as a reference of the things that keep you up and go bump in the night, real and imaginary. And yet another part is the idea of PTSD and how we hide the things we find hurtful or embarrassing and the different ways that they may manifest, whether or not we chose to allow it. In all my work, there’s a discussion between intimacy and space. How someone occupies a space, and how their body language changes the mood of that space.

What does a day in the studio look like? When are you most creatively inspired?
I always try to set a routine, but it rarely ever works. I like to think that I work at art as a 9-5, but it’s more like a hurricane, where you can see it coming from afar and you don’t do too much about it, then it all comes crashing down and you find yourself scrambling to find which pencils haven’t been broken. Typically, I’m most creative when I’ve just come out of an emotional shit-storm.

Christine Wu Interview for Sleepless

How do you think you’ve grown as an artist in the last 5 years?
I have matured emotionally and come to terms with limitations in society. Five years ago I would have told you that I wanted it all and I wanted to do everything, and though that’s a fine thought, it’s just not possible. Every day in our lives we make decisions that closes and opens doors, and there are simply so many things that we will never be able to experience. My technical skills have also tremendously improved, as it always will with 5 years of continuous practice. I plan on continuing to grow in the coming years and to create more conceptual work as well as establish concrete ideas.

There is a movement in your work that is disjointed but fluid at the same time, how did you come to develop this style?
It’s an examination of memories and the way we move through time. I have a faulty memory when it comes to my adolescence, and my memories and dreams blend together to the point where I sometimes mistake a dream for a memory. We never remember things exactly as they were, there will always be some kind of fuzziness here and there, I think simply because we can’t focus on and experience every single thing around us. The disjointedness comes from the feeling of wanting to experience everything and not being able to. Hesitation with a tinge of regret.

What do you feel is the biggest misconception about being an artist?
I get the feeling that many people see being an artist in extremes, that it’s either fun, easy and full of parties, or that we’re constantly, horrendously tortured. There are moments of both, like nearly all humans, but most of my existence lies numbingly in the middle. People want to see the wild, crazy creative so that they have a story to go along with the art. There’s this great segment that Willem de Kooning did when he was being recorded for an interview. A documentary was being recorded while he was doing this interview and he made a big show about his process and he wildly flung paint on a canvas. After the interviewers left he turned to the documentarians and asked them if they really wanted to know how he worked. Of course they said yes, and they watched him put a single stroke down, then walk across the room and sit in a chair, whereupon de Kooning revealed that he sits in said chair for most of the day while figuring where the next stroke should fall.

Christine Wu Interview for Sleepless

What is your creative process, do you develop the idea first and then take a reference photo or does the photo shoot inspire the ideas?
My process is very organic, where everything informs each other. I’ve never been a person who does thumbnail sketches for my pieces, and I’m quite horrible at doing them if I was forced to.

What were you listening to while creating the work from this show; podcast, music, Netflix?
Most of the time I was working in silence. I have a hard time concentrating if there are too many things going on at once, especially when I’m working (I’ve even unplugged the internet on multiple occasions). When I was listening to music I had PJ Harvey, Chelsea Wolfe and Laura Marling on heavy repeat. Oddly enough, I don’t typically listen to too many female artists, but it was fitting for this body of work.

Christine Wu Interview for Sleepless

How do you push through moments of self-doubt?
Tears. Lot of tears. And writing. I am constantly analyzing and reflecting on myself. My journal is my therapist and I’m brutally honest with myself and critical of my abilities and contributions to society. People who never experience self-doubt should be checked into a mental institution for extreme narcissism and sociopathy. I’m an empath sponge and I absorb the feelings of everyone around me. If I’m not in a calm environment, the self-doubt can be crushing, especially since I give a sincere effort to consider everyone’s opinion. It all makes me feel very stupid, more frequently than I’d like to admit.

Is your work a reflection of personal emotions or observations?
My work is definitely more emotional, but that’s an easily misinterpreted scenario since our emotions are informed by observations. It’s all personal in the end, that’s something my work will not be able to escape.

If you knew when the world would freeze for an hour, what would you do during that time?
Enjoy the silence.

Christine Wu Interview for Sleepless

Peak Into Christine Wu’s “Sleepless” Works In Progress

Sleepless Christine Wu Works In Progress

Christine Wu‘s latest exhibition “Sleepless” will be taking over the main room of Thinkspace Gallery in just a few weeks. “Sleepless” will open January 23rd and run till February 20th, showing all new work from the New York-based painter.  We pulled a few shots of works in progress from her Instagram to give you a sense of the pieces that will be on view. Please visit her Instagram account to scroll through more!

Sleepless Christine Wu Work In Progress

Sleepless Christine Wu Work In Progress

Sleepless Christine Wu Work In Progress