Last weekend I was lucky to catch up with Tracy Cheon to talk about her art work and her plans for the future. Originally from Korea, but with an upbringing in the U.S, Tracy's Artwork clearly shows the influence from the changes to her surroundings and the impact that it has had on the questioning of her own identity. Her work features a lot of sketching of the female form, Self-Portraiture, a vast range of mediums and different applications, Acrylic, Black Ink, Collage work on a large scale and her recent love for Self-Portraiture Photography.
middle: Explosion, 2012
(Left: Suffocation from Memories, 2013) *All photos displayed here are from Tracy's Intuart Facebook Page.
At what age did you start to draw and paint?
The very first time I started to draw was when I was very, very young, I was about four. I was in Kindergarden, (she laughs) or a Daycare Center and I had this friend who was so amazing at drawing and I wanted to have that skill. She was drawing a girl with a pretty dress with pink crayons and I can remember thinking "I wanna do that!". I would mimic stuff from other people such as the way they draw or the way they handle their crayons.
Was Art an instantaneous satisfaction or did it take a while before you decided that it was something you wanted to pursue?
I didn't really think of that - I just enjoyed every moment that I was drawing and I decided that was all I wanted to do. I didn't really have any thoughts about whether it was something that I liked to do. If the pencil and paper was there, I would throw myself into it and nothing could distract me.
Did you have any other ideas of what you wanted to do as a career or was it always Art?
It was always Art. Since Elementary school it has always been Art. It might have steered in other directions because I wanted to be famous or some shallow reason like I wanted to become a Singer even though I was not even good at Singing. Even though these jobs seemed like a cool idea, it never changed what I wanted to do.
What purpose does Art give you?
Art releases all the stress and other junk thoughts that would consume me in a negative way and it's something that I can be completely focused on for a long time without feeling any pain. At school, I would listen to teachers in class, solving Maths problems which was painful for me because it was something that I didn't enjoy. Art was something that I could go to when I was having a bad day. It was therapeutic and meditating for me to express and cope with my feelings. It would be shown on the paper - even though it didn't mean much to other people, it meant so much to me and I would be falling in love with those works.
Do you prefer Modern or Classical Art
I like Modern Art more than Classical Art, however I do value the skill that comes from Classical Art. It's part of history that in order to have Modern Art, we had to value Classical Art. I think every single subject of Art has a different level of importance - it has a lot to do with the time and the audience.
If you could describe your Art in three words, what would they be?
Thoughts, feeling and action.
Out of all of your emotions, which one influences you the most towards producing Art?
All of my negative emotions.
What are your goals for the future with your Art?
I wish I had specific goals that I wanted to achieve, but every time I make certain goals, they never turn out the way it's planned to be. Often it turns out to be something completely random from the original idea so I don't want to have goals anymore, because I get frustrated if they don't turn out the right way. The only thing I can control is the way I think and the way I draw things. An everyday goal for me would be trying to be neutral and non-judgemental.
If you were an outsider, what themes would you extract from your own work?
I know a lot of other artists know what they are interested in, some people like Environments, some people like Politics, for me it's more about myself and how I feel. I want to know more about my mentality and my thoughts - just noticing how I think about certain things is so important to me. For example, if I feel frustrated or depressed, just the fact that I notice that I feel these things itself is already such a big thing. So many people just complain about how they feel but I really try to ask myself how am I going to use these thoughts. I just wanna cherish them and get something out of it. That's why my Artwork gives the sense that it's all about me. I'm interested in the way my brain works and my mental state of mind.
Where do you you get a lot of influence?
It can be from anything - nature, trees, parks or a pretty flower. It doesn't have any limit to it because it depends on how I feel. When I get depressed, I can get inspired just by random colours. Going to galleries such as the ones in London definitely helps though. It definitely improves the way I think about Art.
Do you have any favourite artists that you always look back to?
I would say Picasso - he is just so brilliant and so amazing. A lot of people would say that because he is a symbol of Art. He said that "I spent 8 years of my life training myself to master the skills needed to draw a child." We're growing older and we become arrogant because the more we know, the more we think we know too. Just because you're good at something, doesn't mean you should stop and don't have anything to improve on.
Do you have a favourite medium?
Acrylic Paint. Because it's easy to work with, it has some really pretty colours and it has a limit to its texture. I like Etching and drawing with Pencil and Chalk too.
What is it that drives your Art? There seems to be a link with exploring Self-Identity?
Yes definitely. I think that's a journey for everyone to see who we are and create who we are every day. But at the same time, we can't be ourselves today without our history. My history has definitely built up my identity and what has hurt me in the past has taught me to become a stronger version of myself and to put that in to my Art.
Aside from Picasso, what is your favourite Art Movement?
I love Cubism. I definitely like Abstract work and Expression also. Surrealism too. But it's more abstract work for me now. University has changed me so much. In a way that Still-Life is not everything - they taught me about the unlimited size of the work and the texture , how different it can be and the the different ways you can present it.
Your work features a lot of Portraiture, what is your attraction to the human form and faces?
I'm a big fan of Body Building and Fitness, and I feel that the female figure is the most beautiful thing in the world. We were all created differently and in our own unique way. Our mentality has such a strong connection to our physicality. Our level of health is linked to our physique. So the healthier you are the, the healthier your mentality will be.
Check out and Like Tracy's Artwork on her Facebook Page
Or her Youtube Channel