What’s there to know about Eunkang Koh? I received my B.F.A. from Hong-Ik University in Seoul, South Korea and M.F.A. from California State University, Long Beach, California. The relationship between humans and the society in which they live is the main source of inspiration in my artwork. I work in various media- printmaking, bookart, drawing, and installation to address social phenomena in our contemporary consumerist society. I show my devotion to art and the art making process. I have significant solo exhibitions that include Main Gallery, The Society of Northern Alberta Print-Artists in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; La Taller in Bilbao, Spain and The Lab; and Varnish Fine Art in San Francisco. I also has participated national and international group exhibitions such as Centro Civico Pati Limona in Barcelona, Spain; Art Space Jungmiso in Seoul, South Korea; Mei Lun Gallery at Huan Fine Art Institute in Changsha, China; and Central Booking in New York City, New York. I have been invited to artist-in-residencies including Seacourt, Bangor, Northern Ireland, Frans Masereel Centrum in Kasterlee, Belgium; Guanlan Original Printmaking Base in Shenzhen, China; Chhaap Printmaking Studio in Baroda, India and Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, California.
I am a Associate Professor teaching printmaking and drawing in the Art Department at the University of Nevada Reno.
Why did you choose printmaking as a medium? I love mark-making part of printmaking. All my work involves some kind of mark making, whether it is a pencil, pen, carving tools. Printmaking techniques give amazing quality of marks on the surface we use. Each different technique gives quite different results. That is one reason why I focus on relief and intaglio at the moment because these two techniques give me amazing and unique quality of lines/marks. I also love the fact that printmaking offers a sense of community. A lot of people include myself share a printmaking studio with other people. While we work together, we have to be sensitive to others to be able to work together. We can also exchange ideas and help each other. These are two big reasons why I choose to use printmaking.
What is your work about?
Humans as social animals and the societies that they inhabit are the main sources of motivation in my art. I draw from the human circumstances that flourish between reality and perception. Born and raised in the Korean myth culture and adopting Buddhist philosophy, I assume that the world we are living in is not real but is an illusion that we perceive. I doubt that there is anything like truth in a concrete sense. Drawing from this philosophical background, my work focuses on human in our contemporary consumerist society. The lifestyle and thinking processes of humans are often ruled by money and capitalism. Society encourages us to foster goals to become richer so that we can consume even more. Consumption driven by endless desire triggers identity crises.Trying to fit into this consumer culture makes individuals lose the sense of their own identities and personalities.
I use half animal and half human figures in my work. These hybrid creatures represent a portrait of us, humans as social animals in the society that we live in. These creature hybrids express the absurdity of the human world.They portray ironic gestures that create a mixture of humor and grotesqueness, reflecting life in our consumerist society.
The creatures are symbolic of the consumerist ideal of humans who are dimwitted and un-knowing, or who choose not to see anything beyond the ‘facts’ that they are taught.
Can you tell us about your process? How do you work? My work consists of multiple types of print media, and incorporates other media to reference mass consumer culture, including plastic boxes, vinyl sheets, and paper bags. For printmaking, I use different printmaking techniques to create images such as relief and silkscreen depending on project. My current project, Printstallation Invasion, involves relief techniques ( please attachment images) to print the images on different types fabrics and then sew them together with other fabrics in order to turn them into a large installation. I use a sewing machine for basic sewing process and handsaw detailed shapes and lines.
What other artists are inspirations to you? I love Louise Bourgeois. I look at a lot of her human sewing sculpture while I was making print installation pieces. I am deeply inspired by Yayoi Kusama and her obsession and art. I am also inspired by a film director, Wes Anderson.
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