October 2, 2023


Unique & Classy

The fashion designer Rejina Pyo on her love of painting

5 min read

This piece appeared as component of a composite characteristic, initially revealed in the September 2023 difficulty of Harper’s Bazaar, concentrated on 4 females understanding new techniques. Will not pass up the further contributions from Helena Christensen, India Amarteifio and Selina Mills.

My earliest reminiscences are of heading to exhibitions with my mother. They have been her playground she was a fashion designer who became an artist. We would show up at all the artwork openings in Seoul: big ones at the Gallery Hyundai and lesser kinds in the Insa-dong area, residence to some of the oldest galleries in Korea. I don’t forget when Jean-Michel Basquiat’s operates had been being demonstrated in the early Nineties. I was about 10, and they were very stunning to me, since Black men and women were being not typical in the nation. That opened up choices, and the plan that art does not have to be a certain way. All this experienced a profound influence on me.

I attended Hong-ik, the most prestigious artwork university in Seoul. The entrance examination is brutal: there are objects randomly positioned on a desk that you have to arrange and compose fantastically on your canvas, sketch, then paint in 5 hrs. A path of examiners snake close to and decide each individual painting on 1st sight, getting rid of paintings just about every round, until only the prosperous applicants remained. I acquired in to review 4 a long time of textile art and fashion style. It was hardcore education, but I learnt a lot of various artistic methods. At the time, I thought, “Where’s the pattern chopping?”, but now I’m grateful that there wasn’t just a person element to it. It was significantly a lot more holistic.

I’ve often had this longing to be an artist, but I just didn’t have the bravery to act on it. Then, I go through The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, and it gave me the assurance to start out. I now expend each Wednesday at Central St Martins. I obtain that I paint furiously, with urgency. That time is so treasured.

“I have always experienced this longing to be an artist, but I just didn’t have the courage to act on it”

In advance of I moved into fashion, I was in a natural way far more fascinated in the immersive knowledge and scale of set up art and sculptures. I still love them. But since manner is this sort of collaborative function, I currently love painting, as you’re in manage from commencing to close. It is pretty substantially a solo act.

I was initially drawn to generating summary paintings, but I felt they didn’t problem me ample. When you appear at the perform of Willem de Kooning, there are gestural brushstrokes there, but also suggestive figures. The two aspects together make it appealing. I improved to figuration, but when you glance near up at 1 of my photos, there are also abstraction marks – that way, I’m capable to bring with each other the two visual languages. What is intriguing is that the topic subject is the very same: expressing my private feelings: having factors that were being likely around my head and putting them on to the canvas. It is just that I’m creating the conclude end result more easy to understand to the viewer.

rejina pyo

Artist and designer Rejina Pyo, for whom artwork is a way of translating emotions

Jordan Bourke

I don’t like the bounciness of the stretched canvas, so I really don’t use an easel. I prefer to paint on the canvas specifically on the wall, and then shift it onto the stretcher. I’m fascinated in which material to use to express myself in the correct way: hessian or cheesecloth, cotton or linen. I experiment with sizing the unprimed canvas with rabbit glue, investigating what products are finest for what I am striving to portray, prior to portray.

My pal, who is from Ethiopia, showed me a stunning vintage black and white image of an Ethiopian family members standing towards a basic background in a picture studio. The kid has spindly legs and is sitting on prime of a faculty chair – the parents are standing either side, as nevertheless they would do nearly anything to secure this little soul. So I painted this relatives device, improved the background and named the portray The Suppliers. I like checking out men and women because I’m fascinated by their different encounters. Which is how I tactic vogue – I’m not just fascinated in a look, but in what women’s life are like, what their backgrounds are, why they decide on to dress the way they do, how they truly feel.

“I appreciate discovering men and women for the reason that I’m fascinated by their various experiences”

Edvard Munch was a pioneer of what he termed ‘turpentine painting’: diluting the paint so the images search as even though they had been made with watercolour somewhat than oil. I like that marrying of two media, which is why, in The Vendors, I’ve enable the paint drip down to convey a feeling of rawness. I depart marks of imperfection. The drip on the canvas is a trace, a signal, that the artist was physically working on this with their arms.

The themes of motherhood and upbringing are neglected topics in art, and I often return to them. There was a person working day when I was crying, simply because I was being pulled in just about every path. The young ones have been clinging onto me, and I experienced to offer with urgent business. I felt so annoyed, and rapidly sketched that feeling into my portray All of Me – an image of a mom whose arms are open with kids who hardly ever want to be put down. The figures are marginally out of proportion the mom is much too massive. It is as although she’s stating: “I’m right here, get me, every single component of me”. It encapsulates recollections and inner thoughts of becoming trapped. The self-sacrifice. But it is a portray that is also full of love.

It is awesome that I get to commit time with these concepts, portray these feelings that I have an urge to express. I paint for the reason that I’m obsessed, consumed by the idea of mom and kid. It is my non-public earth, where by I can investigate my deepest needs and thoughts, and the canvas is my position to document them.

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