23 x 29", Acrylic & Oil on Canvas.
This was my first attempt at painting a self-portrait that I feel still doesn't entirely look like me; I started the main structure of the face 9 years ago. This is more of a reflection of myself. I wanted to depict a painting of a general character that expressed my ethnic background and what I believed to be "who I am." I am half-Korean, half-Hispanic. All throughout the progress in developing this piece, I researched & learned so much about the traditional ways of Korean and Hispanic (even Mayan & Native American) culture which lead me far down the rabbit hole... There is a lot of imagery of these cultures represented throughout this painting.
I so appreciate the beauty and complexity of the many traditions, sub-cultures, rituals, beliefs, places and stories that have been told throughout history of where my ancestors came from. However, no matter how much I continue to deepen my understanding of these traditions and cultures, it will always feel slightly foreign to me, even having grown up with some of these certain beliefs & traditions.
I have always questioned within and about myself. What is this skin I was born with? Where do I "belong"? Who and what do I believe in? And what do I do with it?
It all seems dream-like and illusory.
I have always questioned my beliefs and others. I've broken old belief systems, always challenged myself and what I was capable of.
I painted Korean Buddhist temples to reflect my appreciation for the philosophy of Buddhism. Although I don't claim any religion, Buddhism can either be a religion to some or simply just a philosophy to live by. I don't live by it every moment or even everyday, however at times I'll remember something I've read or learned from it and apply it then. It teaches that the solutions to our problems are within ourselves, not outside. "True wisdom is not simply believing what we are told but instead *experiencing* and understanding truth & reality."
What most feels like "reality", what feels most "REAL", and what I've learned from the philosophy of Buddhism that I remember and keep coming back to the most, is that all we have is Now, an eternal Now. This moment right here. It's the closest thing to Self, which feels most "sacred". It's what I feel when I am creating, when I'm painting, when I tune into really good music or am creating it. It is truth to me, it is the only true sense of identity... remembering to be Present.
I've never done a painting so personal before. This not only was extremely difficult on so many technical levels (and with high levels of concentration) but also mentally & emotionally as well.
This is my story and although I'm a terrible story teller and not poetic at all, here's a painting that can maybe tell a better story on its own.
What defines me? Who and what I most identify as, is an Artist, a Creator, forming my own beliefs and traditions every day.
If you'd like this painting framed, please send me a message or email.
Payment plans are an option for this piece.