KwangHo Shin is a painter hailing from South Korea.
Shin primarily dabbles in abstract expressionism and his take on the classic style has done exceptionally well amongst those in the contemporary art scene.
The portraits that he is creating are fantastic glimpses into the ambiguous nature of emotion and how external physiognomy can depict internal motivations.
What fascinated me the most about his pieces is how they expertly navigate the gray area between haunting and illuminating.
At times, these works undoubtedly showcase the multivalent facets of the human condition and by using abstraction as a vehicle, he is able to do this without any specific agenda.
Despite the acclaim and reverence his work has received, he is not all that interested in the titles or monikers others assign to him or his art. He is simply concerned with his own autonomy and the ability to create what he wants, when he wants.
Prox: Tell us a bit about your time in the military from an artistic standpoint. How did your time serving in the Korean military (if at all) add depth to your creativity and character? Did it make you appreciate art more?
Shin: I went to the military at the age of 21 and was stationed at the frontmost GOP army unit. There the environment was so difficult that the mind and body were both challenged. Therefore I did not have much leisure to think in artistic or other terms. It is a somewhat distant memory so I cannot remember well, but I was determined to do my best when I was discharged from the military.
Prox: What does your work tell you about the emotions that you experience yourself? Have you had any revelations about your own mental and emotional health by way of your pieces?
Shin: The circumstance for starting this type of abstract work was the experiencing of unstable emotions in relationships with others. Because it could not be resolved with anything, I began to project emotions into my work and experienced many changes of form throughout the process. Before starting work, there may be many kinds of motivations, but during the act of creating, there is no thought. Even when I finish work and put down the brush, I tend to not even remember how I came to create the work. When I finish work I feel as if something was solved. I don't know what that is exactly.
Prox: How does abstract art mimic life in your opinion?
Shin: Abstract work is exactly what it says, which is that it is not influenced by any kind of form. Therefore the style can be faithful to the momentary emotions and throughout many works is accumulated in my body through multiple forms. The act of applying the paint thickly or scratching is similar to the act of conversation involving words or hand and foot gestures.
Prox: Which style tells us the most about who you are as an artist, abstraction or realism? How do these styles illuminate your personal artistic credo?
Shin: During college I did a lot of very realistic work and now even though I am doing expressionistic work, the conception of idea and abstraction are not very different in expressing emotion or other things. They are no more than a method to express something.
Prox: As time goes on, what do you appreciate the most about your work and the title of “artist”? How has artistry helped you to mature as a person?
Shin: Actually I am not concerned much about what I am called or how others see me. I simply do the work that I want to do. Even if it's not an artistic pursuit, if one does something sincerely and enjoys it, the person will be able to mature.
Prox: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects or showings you’d like to talk to us about?
Shin: I am exhibiting in New York City every 2 years, and 2018 is the 2nd year. There is no other plan as of yet.
Prox: Final thoughts?
Shin: Although interest and love for my work is something to be grateful and thankful about, I will not dislike someone for turning me away. I just simply wish the audience would feel many different types of emotions. Even if they say they don't feel anything, it doesn't matter to me.
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