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As my big painting was finished, I was thinking of making new works with different types of media. Because I had access to all of the workshops at school, I could go and learn everything if I wanted. Ceramic was a totally new type of art for me, so that it was more interesting than any others. I was also intrigued by ceramic materials because various types of clays have all different colours and different feelings. Even though there were tons of reasons why I was able to start ceramic art, the most crucial one was that ceramic was a 3D sculpture I make easily. Moreover, my course leader suggested me to make 3d shiny forms that come from unconscious marks of my big painting. I thought his suggestion was lovely and great to broaden my perspectives on art.

I have chosen 'royale porcelain' that was the only white clay because I was planning to colouring on the white stuff, as I paint on white background canvas. Although I tried to make intriguing forms by looking at my big painting as a reference, I ended up making them by improvisation. For me, improvisation is one of my strong inspiration to push me on artworks. If I were not this type of person, if I had not this personality, I would have chosen a different process, for example, organising a very sophisticated process before the start. What I really wanted to do on my pottery was ‘colouring’. As I think one distinctive thing about my works is the colours I preferably use, I would put colour if I invest my time to try different types of media.

II had to distinguish what kind of colour I can use on them because the fixed degree of materials should be followed. That means I must have chosen temperature - higher or lower, for example, if I choose 1260 degree for glazing, I can put additional colours which designated to be used on 1260 degrees. It has been identified by yellow or green labeling, yellow for higher temperature, green for lower one. I think I have to have my own colour powder because there are not so many colours at the ceramic workshop. "Don't use verb paint or noun painting when describing colouring", that's what the technician told me.. So, basically putting colour (=using colour powder) means doing one more glazing. Anyway, to the pottery can be fully baked, it took average 10 hours in pottery klin! Although I wouldn't say I like waiting for the results, I had to do it.

TA - DA ! The results were beyond my imagination. Reflected lights were adorable and amazing. The biggest piece does look more like a real stone.

This is my second try which is better than the first. I decorated it by dripping. I don't know why that powder marks still remain (I couldn't see it when glazing), it is good anyway. The next plan of ceramic art has not been decided, but I have thought to hang them on the wall or place them with my new painting if they go well together. :-)

To be honest, I cannot define my theme and this work by particular words. But basically, this is a reflection of myself. I was going to make abstract paintings that were a series of my undergraduate degree show work. My previous works have come from my earthquake experience in Tokyo last year but implying inner body and winding forms at the same time. I came across that I had hypochondria since I kept depicting figures like organs and hypochondria is a type of fear. However, I’ve been questioning myself afterward whether I truly want to paint those kinds of things and present them to audiences. Making this work was more about the pleasure of layering, colouring, and painting randomly rather than fear and anxiety. I feel like I am far away from the expression of fear. I don't even know where I am standing between anxiety and pleasure.

Throughout all of the experiments for 3 months, pinkish and soft colors are frequently found in my paintings after I got to the UK, which I have never seen in my works before. Since coming to London I have had more freedom, and being able to focus on myself. It has been easier to express myself more naturally than when I was in Korea. In this way, a large part of this work has come from my unconscious mind. Even though they are explained as my unconscious mind at the moment, I'll develop my thought process and find out my interests and what I genuinely want to depict in the next step.

So, this work is, I would say, a combination of my painting experiments of unit 1. Because I tried to do many new things such as painting on raw canvas, polyester, linen, wood board, etc. I even sewed canvases to connect the pieces. Also, this is the largest scaled work during my painting life so far.

The most remarkable difference between my previous and current works are definitely colours I pick. I would use a broad range of vivid colours until last year, but I have been freely using colours by which I am attracted. Those colours are pinkish, soft and somehow flesh tone. Also, I painted red heart symbols on my current paintings by using 'passionate red colour', which I have never done before. When I mix two or three colours to make particular pink colours, I always feel a strong impulse to brush them on a canvas. It is a similar feeling of applying lipstick at the end of the make-up on my face. That means I am literally satisfied with using red colour even in the process of make-up and making a painting. Also, I hardly skip beautiful petals without photoshoots when I see them, which is another type to get a similar feeling. If the feelings come from the same origin for some reason, they may be related to my unconsciousness or something. So, I began to focus on why I use the colours more frequently than before. The two flowers below are showing the feeling of my beating heart.

The first step I did was "being honest." Did I genuinely depict things based on my health anxiety, hypochondria? Yes, I definitely have it. However, I concentrated on my anxiousness, not as much as I used to do. But the point is that I was trying to figure out what was in my unconsciousness, making a narrative and painting language. 'Hypochondria' is one of the things I have found to develop my thought process, which is obviously interesting to add to my artist statement. Audiences may try to view my paintings according to my fear if I choose this theme. But then, it was not what I want to present in my paintings, even though I agree that I have slight health anxiety, and somehow I am affected by it.  

Secondly, I focused on the colours of my painting that have recently been changed. I actually feel more freedom than before in terms of care about my outward appearance and paying attention to others. I had a very short haircut in Feb 2018 because my hair was totally damaged and way too long. When I did it for the first time in my life, I felt so awkward and tried to have a 'girl's appearance'. But then, I gradually realised being free from other's gaze, which always pressurised me, except for the eyes trying to judge me whether I am a boy or not. After sincere conversations with peers, I am able to understand that my works are more like independence, not hypochondria. In fact, I have decided not to do make-up since last year, except for special days to dress up because I don't need to be beautiful anymore; being prettier is basically for people who see and judge me by my appearance, not for me. I am assuming that the space to express myself has been shifted from my face to canvases because the feelings when I put make-up on my face and apply pinkish colours on canvases are quite similar. Actually, I'm feeling much freer when I paint than I did make-up. Also, I like the fact that I am delighted with my new paintings and the new attitude toward myself and the people around me. Initially, I thought that the reason why I put glitter and bronze pigment or something was to avoid making realistic bodily forms, but I consider it is more like my tendency to express myself in some way. In other words, my new painting is a sort of reflection of my state of mind and individuality, like make-up was regarded as an expression of my own personality. I love shiny and twinkle stuff!

Artist Painter Sooan Shin's contextual research

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