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Conversations with Yong Sin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yong Sin.

Hi Yong, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I grew up in Korea. When I turned 18, my family immigrated to the U.S. The biggest influence in my childhood was the literature especially playwrights. I loved reading Beckett, Camus, Sartre, Cocteau, Yi Sang and so on. And whenever there was a play based on these authors’ books, I was at the theatre wherever it played. I took trains to go see the plays. Sometimes, I was one of the two audience at the small theatre. Watching the piece of life at the stage was my excitement in life. With this so much love for reading philosophy books and playwrights, I thought I could pursue this passion to write and to study philosophy.

Within three months in the U.S., I took philosophy classes at community college and I flunked out all of them due to lack of comprehension in English.

After several tries, I took some art classes because I knew at least I could pass the exams. Art was natural that I drew all the time in my childhood. It was so natural that I never thought to “be” an artist. After went on to Otis, I found myself delving into philosophy through art and I’ve been an artist since.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The constant struggle for me is the time management. The real challenge has been the desire to spend all of my time to work in my studio. I’ve been very stubborn and stingy about dividing/”sparing” my time efficiently to promote my work to exhibit, to advance career and even to make ends meet. Being an introvert and extremely shy, the social media accounts are often muted and inactive for several months. The inner struggle sometimes is, I have to encourage myself to be exposed.

And the biggest hurdle is that my art doesn’t do it justice by looking through the flat screen. The social media platforms are often discouraging. The viewers have to see my work in person to truly understand what they are looking at and what it is and what’s in it.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a painter, from small to large scale paintings to mural to installation. I am not bound to fixed subjects; the choice of subject matter is based on the concept of the specific artwork. There are minimal to maximal grids, abstract forms, geometric shapes, figures, or exploring color schemes. I use collage method incorporated into a painting. Rather than direct application of paint onto the panel, I use collage as a second medium because it motivates to labor and creates a sense of elementary. The spontaneous decision-making, finding surprises, outcome of unknown are the reasons of my collaged process. I work on two sets of process: At first, I paint on the thinly sliced/cut tapes/papers/canvas/fabric, and etc. Once I have enough accumulated pieces, I paste them by random choice onto the wooden panel. Before these “collaged painting” process, I set the goal to make something that is defined to be perfect, knowing that it is impossible to accomplish without measuring tools. Instead, my approach to accomplish the perfection is to use my hand and trust myself to be precise, over and over again. I’ve been interested in the process of exploring the “idea” of shapes as opposed to their measured reality. Upon closer scrutiny, the viewers will find my hand-drawn subtle variations of lines, colors, textures, and layers of mediums. And the paintings may look singular but consist of thousands of multiples of the same. Sometimes the paintings may look over-loaded with many elements but these are hand-drawn repeated single element that are collaged onto the panel.

A shifting/perception, nuances, neighbors, co-existence of group and individual, invitation to details, effect/affection, TLC are main core of my artwork to be looked at and to be valued at.

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
The moment that I decided to be an artist was and still is the biggest risk in my life. Working full-time as an artist has been enormous challenges even to maintain basic living which requires a very humble lifestyle. I have to constantly look for financial resources and exhibition venues while working at my studio day and night. My career as an artist for 26 years, there are times that I hit the bottom of the bottom financially and mentally. But I never stopped or gave up or shift or abandon or regret this adventure of the process of art-making. My perspective on the risk is once you commit yourself to do something you are passionate about then many of the small troubles along the way or sub-risks you often face down the road would be just short agitations.

Contact Info:

  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Instagram: @yongsinartsdotcom
  • Facebook: Yong Sin

Image Credits:

Tony Cunha Gene Ogami

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