Briefly describe the work you do.
I create work that combines the flatness of two-dimensional paintings and the tactile nature of three-dimensional sculptures. I’m constantly playing with different materials and art-making processes. I use various methods such as sewing, braiding, painting and woodworking to manipulate the forms in my work, in order to observe how tactile and visual elements are related and perceived.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
I was born in Goshen, New York but moved to Seoul, South Korea when I was about two years old. I came back to the US when I was fourteen. Although I’m fluent in Korean and English, I haven’t mastered either of those languages. Once I started learning English at fourteen, I stopped learning Korean. I’m stuck in the middle and I find myself constantly searching for words to convey my ideas. I think this is why I’m making art. I’m able to create things without being restricted by written and spoken language.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
My studio is where I get to play. I can do anything in there. I can be messy and I don’t feel restricted. I spend most of my time in my studio making, working, singing and listening to music. In many ways, my notion of “being in the studio” is traditional. I make art, I display works in my studio, I think and I use my studio as a refuge.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
While my primary focus is in making art, I’m also interested in curating. I took a class in curatorial practice last year and I really enjoyed writing proposals, talking to other artists about their works and installing artworks. I didn’t really think about curating when I first started making art but now, I want to do more.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
Luckily, I get to make art almost everyday because I’m in graduate school. In general, I like to make art at night. I like the idea of being awake and working when everyone else is sleeping.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
My work always has been formally driven and that has not changed. Before I came to graduate school in 2014, I only used secondhand fabrics to create low-relief wall sculptures. The malleable nature of fabrics allowed me to easily manipulate the forms in my work and I was able to create pieces that are highly visual and tactile. Now, my material choices have expanded and I’m using various materials including acrylic paint, silkscreen prints, yarn, thread, wood, vinyl, plexiglass, plastic and colored hot glue.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
I look to artists like Jessica Stockholder, Richard Tuttle and Judy Pfaff for references and inspiration. When I was first developing my art practice, my professors at Bowdoin—namely John Bisbee, Mark Wethli and Michael Kolster – were huge influences. They encouraged me to develop my own approach to art-making and take myself seriously as an artist. Their thoughtful yet critical feedback helped me realize that I need to be responsible for my work.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
I was pre-med in college for two years because I thought I wanted to be a doctor. Although I have no interest in pursuing medicine, I still like to discuss various topics in science and technology, especially those related to evolution, time and space.
A second year MFA candidate at MassArt, Loretta Park studied visual arts and art history at Bowdoin College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 2011. Park’s passion for studio practice emerged during her undergraduate career, and in the short time since then, she has exhibited her work in New York, Boston, New Jersey, and other locations in New England. As an emerging artist, Park tries to create work that is unapologetic and frank, while looking at other artists such as Jessica Stockholder and Judy Pfaff for wisdom and inspiration. The idea of play is important for Park and she is always mindful of what Sol Lewitt once said: “Your work is not a high stakes, nail-biting professional challenge. It is a form of play. Lighten up and have fun with it.”
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.