For “Seesaw”, Cha presents paintings that focus on various characters which often are juxtaposed against a thin line between reality and fantasy. Although the themes are seemingly whimsical in nature, they showcase underlying tropes of morality, life, and death. Cha takes her work to the next level, having often experimented with these creatures in the past, and taking this opportunity to unify them in a collection that deals in extremes.
In our interview with Young-Ji Cha she shares how mother’s cooking reflects a blending of cultures, creating a surreal environment to express familiar emotions, and who inspires her creativity.
Can you share with us a little bit about your upbringing, and where you are currently working on your art?
I was born and raised in South Korea and had a very normal upbringing by working parents. I was usually the first one home after school and I remember often doodling and painting at home until my mom got off work. Looking back now I think that’s what got me naturally liking art. Currently, I am working and making art in Los Angeles.
What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What themes have you been exploring in your work?
I wanted to tell stories of ups and downs I experienced using characters and elements that are familiar to me. I experimented with low-key and high-key palettes as well as different mask designs to illustrate my ideas in a more surreal way.
Which pieces in this body of work were most challenging?
Each piece had its own challenging aspects, but the low-key paintings were the most challenging to finish off for this body of work. I think finding a good balance of charm with my characters along with setting them in a darker palette is always difficult to accomplish.
Could you share what your day-to-day looks like when working in your studio? Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow?
I start my day with a good cup of coffee. I’m a big coffee addict and can’t function properly without coffee in my system. In the morning I work in the animation field and in the evening I work on my paintings.
How old were you when you moved from South Korea to the states? What are elements of your cultural identity or traditions that you think is really cool and interesting?
I was 10 when my family and I moved to the states. My cultural identity and traditions are definitely mixed between Korean and American elements. One of the coolest things that I see in my family is how my mom’s traditional cooking has adapted utilizing US ingredients. I think her Korean food recipes are a perfect way to describe how culturally mixed my family is now and how I’m influenced by it.
What is your favorite part of the creative process? What is the most difficult part?
The brainstorming process is the best. Just doodling and coming up with ideas and then researching for references. I think the most difficult part is toward finishing up a painting. When it’s time to make the finishing touches and call it done is always tough for me.
Who inspires you as an artist?
My mom was a preschool teacher in Korea and watching her draw decorations and cartoons for her class was very inspiring. Not only was she very talented but she made it look really easy.
What did you find to be the biggest challenge of 2020 for you?
Off the top of my head, I can’t think of one, but it was definitely a trying year for everyone.
What is your proudest accomplishment of 2021? Life thus far? (can be art-related or not)
The proudest accomplishment of 2021 would be starting my first body of work. It was something I really wanted to do for a long time and I’m happy I can finally cross it off of my list and get things rolling.
What big projects do you have coming up in 2022 and 2023 that you’d like to share more about?
On March 5th, 2022, my first body of work “Seesaw” will debut through Thinkspace Gallery as well as an unannounced group show later this year. I’m so excited to show there and share new works with everyone
Seesaw (Gallery II)
Opening Reception with the Artist(s):
Saturday, March 5, 2022