2021 was a crazy year. And it was crazy, 'cause 2020 was CRAZY. The whole world changed 2 years ago, and naturally, my life changed as well.
I lost my career as a sushi chef. I was unemployed and hopeless for 6 months. A glitch in the Michigan unemployment assistance program caused me to not receive payments for 5 months. I ran out of money, then art transformed my life.
This mural was painted on Nov 18th, 2020. It was a commission that came out of the blue, but was the result of painting a mural at Patrick Thompson Design in 2016. This mural paid for my rent in December and was the impetus for me to go all in on my art practice and launch my first solo exhibition out of my apartment in Detroit.
This was my apt slash art gallery. It was photographed by Diana Paulson and ended up becoming a feature in Apartment Therapy in January of 2021. I sold enough work to pay for multiple months of expenses, and used some of the funds to return two of the paintings back to where the substrates were found as a token of my gratitude.
Unauthorized art installation. Shinola Hotel, Jan 31st, 2021. This rogue installation materialized into an opportunity.
I was invited by The Siren Hotel to participate in their artist residency program, curated by Sarah Ayers. I created an installation in two different rooms, and sold the works as diptychs (one painting from each room). These paintings, called Disparate, were used to raise money for Hate is a Virus, as the work was created a week after the Atlanta shootings.
Through the project, I raised over $10k in March/April, 2021 which was donated to Hate is a Virus to uplift the AAPI community. This image and the last one were also shot by Diana Paulson.
On July 4th, 2021, Gyopo (my first solo show at a gallery) opened at Patch & Remington in Marcellus, MI. Photo by Elizabeth Moroz.
Graffiti ink, local newspaper (Herald Palladium), on 18" x 24" wood panels.
These works are calligraphy in "broken Korean", using Korean language as an aesthetic, from writings made in reflection of my time living in Stevensville, MI.
I created my largest painting ever multiple times this year. My work at the Opportunity Center at ALCC in Monroe is my largest to date or maybe tied with Batch. This photo of the gym is less than a 1/4 of the painting. I painted the whole gym freehand. Just me, a 9" roller, and some paint.
This aerial photo was taken by Stephen McGee at Batch Brewing. A print was made to sell during the first Horangis event (Korean-Detroit community I started), to help raise money for ArtLab J. We raised over $3000 for Joori's non-profit that night.
September was Detroit Month of Design, and my project with Synecdoche Design and Ryan Southen titled Disparate was featured in Cool Hunting and numerous design/architecture publications.
I won an Art Prize grant this year, and got to create this installation in Calder Plaza thanks to curator Sarah Ayers. When I went back to deinstall, I unknowingly walked onto the set of a feature film that will hit theaters nationwide on Juneteenth next year. My artwork will be in one of the scenes.
In October I created a permanent installation inside a luxury car garage and exhibited new paintings made on blueprints salvaged from the Packard Plant. This insane project was made possible by Paragon Art Collective, at The Stash and support from Ed Irmen, Craig Heijka, Richard Wilson, Demetrio Nasol, Evan Zott, Chris Hersey, Justin Thompson.
I'm working to leverage this one of a kind 13' long painting made on a blueprint salvaged from the Packard Plant to raise enough money to send a kid from DPS on a full ride scholarship to CCS for automotive design. If you know anyone who might be able to make this dream come true, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I got to create this car wrap for a new Stingray as part of an auction for ACS Michigan. The car was an opportunity to tell my mother's story and battles with breast cancer, while raising money for cancer research. The car, and a live painting I created at The Discovery Ball event helped raise over $500,000 for ACS Michigan.
The year isn't over yet, and I still have a couple really awesome projects that will dropping in Dec.
I'm just in awe. Not in a self congratulatory way, but in the sense that my life has literally been transformed in one year's time. From desperation and hopelessness to living my wildest dream. I am creating what I want and making money doing it. I'm able to give time and money to people and projects I care about, support my friends/community by dining out and buying art.
I'm just so incredibly grateful. It took over a decade of trial and failure to get to where I am today, and now that I've made it to the starting line, I'm going to show the world what I can do. Thank you for joining me on this journey, I can't wait for you to experience what's next.