Lana Yumi Chun. Artist. Fashion Illustrator. Designer. What else can you say? She has a style that speaks for itself. Her strokes float and dance around her canvases, and the expressions on the faces of her models drags you closer in. Her designs are an extension of her pieces. I recently caught up with the Parsons graduate, and here’s what went down.
– What is your full name, age and origin?
Lana Yumi Chun | 29 | Korean-American born in Philadelphia, but raised in Sarasota FL. I became my own in NYC which I now consider home.
*Yumi is my middle name which also serves as my Korean name pronounced “yoo-mee”) I use this as my signature for all of my paintings. It’s usually hard to spot when you see my work because I try to use it as a part of the piece making it discreet. An extension of myself with the work I’ve done, if you will. I find that it ruins it if I make it too large or use my full American name. (I’ve tested and tried with my earlier works)
I want to create a mystery around it for the viewer. And if he or she does spot it, they’ll either know or have no clue what it is or what it means.
– What is your artistic background and what was your first creative experience?
My childhood dream was actually to pursue music. I used to tell everyone that my dream was to attend “Julliard” with the incorrect spelling. The correct spelling is Juilliard.
I sang in the school choir ever since I could remember. Solos and duets with my school’s orchestra, admission to the All-State Choir when I was 14 after grueling try-outs and auditions, took opera lessons at the Visual and Performing Arts for Booker High School in Sarasota, FL.
It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I started taking classes. The music and art department was side by side and I
remember always peaking in the studios that turned into something pulling at my gut. I followed it and the art department made an exception since you had to be enrolled by sophomore year.
I caught up with the rest of the class on the technical side of drawing, still lives, perspective, figure drawing, etc. Developed a portfolio which was submitted for an AP grade and received a 5 out of 5. I took this as confirmation that expressing myself visually was what I was born and meant to do, though I didn’t know what it was exactly that I needed to express at the time. I was 17.
– Did you receive support growing up?
It was hard personally to let my family down, that I wasn’t going to pursue music after all of the piano and voice lessons and concerts they had to attend over the years. But once they witnessed my transformation and conviction that year in high school, they have been fully supportive ever since.
I do give a lot of credit to music in general of how it’s shaped me aesthetically as an artist. I really believe they go hand in hand in terms of expressing yourself through sound or with a paintbrush. It helps me when I need to translate something that I feel whether it’s hurt, pain or joy on to canvas or paper.
[blockquote style=”style5″]Music was my first love. But art, now, is my life.”[/blockquote]
– How would you describe your style? What mediums do you work with?
– Who/what were your influences in art?
I’m content without having a name for my style. I find it hard to describe. There are multiple layers of methods and materials and mediums I work with for different purposes and reasons. I am in love and obsessed with the works of Egon Schiele and himself, who was a protégé of Gustav Klimt (another favorite artist of mine).
His figurative drawings are described as erotic with his nude figures in suggestive poses. My eyes prance around his exaggerated and accented joints and elongated limbs, the sadness and bewilderment in his or his model’s eyes which I find hypnotic, dark and quite beautiful in the midst of disturbance.
– Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration, when painting for myself, is a method of madness that is organically placed on canvas with multiple lines, strokes, drips and pure “accidents” which I don’t find them to be accidents at all. My goal in the end is to make it as cohesively and aesthetically pleasing so that its acceptable to the naked eye, but with a tinge of discomfort.
My inspiration comes from everywhere, from what I see, hear, read, think, feel. Pain, especially.
– What short and long term goals do you have?
No goals, just dreams. Dreams are what keep me going.
To leave pieces of myself behind, displayed on walls of personal homes that can be passed on for generations and galleries for strangers to gawk or appreciate. To wake up and know that I can live another day doing what I love that are appreciated and respected by others.
– What would you consider success when it comes to art?
When it leaves you wanting for more.
– Last, but not least is a question we ask all artists, which I receive all completely different answers to…
How would you define creativity?
Creativity is the vessel that allows me to be vulnerable and naked without having to explain it in words or spell it in writing. It sheds light where you don’t necessarily want it, but once you let it, the transformation which takes place within and publicly, rewards you in ways you never thought possible.