Painting with Paper by Young Shin

Born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in Los Angeles, California, Young spent much of her youth surrounded by art and culture, spending hours at end drawing and painting, and making and sewing her own dolls and clothes.  After receiving a B.A. in Philosophy and a minor in Studio/Visual Arts focusing on oil painting, she proceeded to studying law and graduating with a J.D.  However, it was only a matter of time that she returned to her love of art and design, eventually receiving her degree in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design.  After a stint in a career as a fashion designer in NYC and Chicago, Young spent several years making and selling handmade, hand painted, and silk screened clothing and accessory line through her own label. 

In her body of work, melding her past experiences and passion together, Young creates abstract paintings using paper – combining elements from art, design, and craft.  Technique and process are key as she unearths the essence of a particular theme, an emotion or an idea by peeling away colored paper that was first meticulously built up, applied, layered, and dried.  As an artist, Young explores the concept of excavation and unearthing. In particular, she is inspired by the process of peeling and removing intricate layers in order to reveal what is underneath and between. She compares this process of unearthing very much akin to our lives, experiences, emotions, and most importantly, us at our core, as we are composites of different and complicated layers and that the truth is often hidden behind. Through the use of color and texture, she shines light on the beauty, the complexity, and depth that lie above and beneath. Young resides in the San Francisco Bay Area where she works as a full-time painter.

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Artist Statement

I make abstract paintings with paper. As an artist, I explore the idea of excavation and unearthing. I am inspired by the process of peeling and removing layers in order to reveal what is really underneath; whether what is hidden away in the bottom layers is reminiscent of our true selves deep beneath social masks we wear in order to operate and protect ourselves in society, or our emotions that are so complex and nebulous that we only get to the truth once all the confusion and immediate reactions are removed.  I begin by applying several layers of paper on a canvas, rip them apart, and strip them repeatedly after being dried. Once completed, it is left with an intense, tempestuous, and intricately textured surface laden with fiber debris from paper. Overall, my paintings have an archeological quality as viewers can viscerally sense and see different levels and layers of paper that have been intentionally built up and destroyed, leaving empirically elaborate and complicated traces.  And I find all layers, pristine and messy alike, equally beautiful, as I believe all human experiences and emotions are meaningful, albeit often filled with serendipity and joy but also encumbered with unpredictable and immense pain. Through my work, I aim to create paintings that are relatable to viewers in a deep, contemplative, and earnest way, as I wish to create works that are profound, penetrating, thought-provoking, and evocative, very much analogous to ourselves and our lives.