Instagram: @christina_yuna_ko Website: www.christinayunako.com
1. What's your story? Where are you from?I am a Korean American artist born in Flushing, NY and raised in New Jersey. I make work utilizing cute culture, girly imagery, nostalgic pop cultural references and anime that encapsulate my identity. Being Asian American, I have always felt unable to belong to, yet still drawn to Asian culture. This position has enabled me to act as an observer, and a lot of my work stems from a desire to connect. In particular, I focus in on the inherent value systems embedded in popular culture that target young women. In using pastel, girly, and cute pop culture iconography in my work, I am taking back a language used to define me to create work that relates to my personal history and highlights the beauty of femininity.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.Pastel, girly, cute and East Asian with nostalgia, melancholy and the sentimental mixed in.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?Acrylic is definitely my favorite medium. It’s super flat and has an awesome range of pastels and neons, which mirror qualities in the subject matter I reference.
4. What is your artistic process like?Before painting, I collect found images of cuteness, Asia, girliness, and anything that hits on a feeling I’m looking for. Sometimes I am randomly inspired by certain aspects of my memory or experiences that I try to capture in quick doodles. These found and imagined images become digital collages, GIFs, or drawings. From these, some become paintings on rectangles and some on shaped wooden panels.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?My inspirations are all over the place like 90’s anime, store displays, Asian packaging, Korean bathrooms. But the thematic umbrella they fall under is their connection to an innate aesthetic sensibility that ties into my childhood and Asian American identity.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?Art allows me to hone in on specific qualities of memories and experiences that I find intriguing and manifest these qualities visually. This gives me the ability to share my personal lens with others and thoroughly examine and explore elements of my identity. Art helped me come to terms with my conflicted identity and connects me to others who struggle with the same concerns and share the same visual history.
7. Where did you study?I received my B.F.A in Fine Art from Cornell University in 2013.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?I think in five years, I will be working on built environments for my paintings, where I take up entire rooms and spaces with the cute and girly aesthetic I reference.
9. What about in ten?In ten years, I hope to have opportunities to exhibit alongside a community of Asian American artists. I also want to explore how to create and manipulate digital content further and filter that into painting.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?I hope to make work that is a contemporary expression of femininity, Asian-ness, beauty, juvenility, and sentimentality.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?I can eat Kimbab or Korean California rolls for practically any meal. They are on the top of my favorite foods list. I basically lived off of them when I was in Korea for two months.
12. Favourite book?“100 Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez.
13. Favourite genre of music?Hmm….It’s a random assortment of alternative R&B, Korean R&B and Indie music.
14. What are your hobbies?Karaoke, Animal Crossing + other relaxed and pretty games, & Puzzle Adventure Games.
15. If you weren't an artist, what would you be?I think I’d be a writer, writing in the genre of magical realism, fantasy, and/or science fiction.