Born in Seoul, Korea and currently living in San Francisco, California, Jun Yang’s diverse background is mirrored in his art, with its eclectic mix of subdued, almost minimalist conceptual pieces, energetic abstract expressionist works, and whimsical and colourful pop art paintings. Yet, what makes Jun’s work special are the distinct elements that connect each piece, and identify them as coming from the same artist’s hand– a meditative, universal quality permeates the paintings, along with a constant sense of movement and an acute sensitivity to color. The distinct combination of eclecticism and universality in Jun’s art is why we’ve decided to introduce Jun as the first in our fortnightly series’ of Artists You Need To Know.
Vango: How would you describe your work?
Jun: I paint abstract art. My work evokes emotions and refracts them through my use of space and colors. It is kind of a meditation process on a daily basis.
V: What draws you to paint particular styles at particular times? (ex: pop art, cubism, abstract expressionism)
J: Painting abstract work challenges me to have a big imagination and also to have an open inquiring mind. There are no rules for painting abstract art. Abstract art requires me to find meaning behind the object. I enter the painting and lose myself and see where it takes me. Abstract style allows me to be free and bold at same time. This intense experimental process enriches a viewer’s experience of an artwork.
V: How has your upbringing in South Korea influenced your art?
J: Growing up in an international city like Seoul, South Korea, I was able to connect with other amazing artists from all over the world, some of whom became my mentors. Also, Seoul being one of the biggest cities in the world, I had a lot of diverse experiences in its many neighborhoods.
V: Can you elaborate on some of the techniques you use?
J: My art is fluid and natural with lots of movement through many different layers to capture the perfect hue and a dynamic fluidity in the final result.
V: Who are some of the biggest inspirations on your art?
J: It changes every year. This year I was hugely influenced by Cy Twombly, Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami, Jean Michel Basquiat, and Pat Steir.
V: You incorporate many different artistic styles into your work, but is there any major artistic style that you don’t think you would experiment with? Why?
J: I am not into still life painting or traditional oil landscape painting. I prefer myself to express my creativity by painting something invisible and to be free from creating something realistic. I find meaning in arranging colors, building up textures, and mixing different styles of brush strokes.
V: Do you listen to music while you’re in the studio? If yes, who are some of the artists you listen to?
J: I love music and music hugely influences me and my work. I listen to all kinds of music. Some of my favorites are Sigur Ros, Amy Winehouse, Yann Tiersen, Joy Division, Beirut, Luiz Bonfa, and Manu Chao.
V: Out of all your works, do you have a personal favorite?
J: My Ocean series is my favorite. It brings back memories of the places I’ve been to. It’s like my travel journals.
Paintings from Jun’s Ocean Series
V: What is something you like to do when you’re not creating?
J: I like to travel more and I like to hang out at local coffee shops around San Francisco, or any city I’m visiting. I also go out for walks with my dog.
Watch Jun at work in the studio:
More of Jun’s Art…