In this week’s Artist conversation, I had the opportunity to meet artist, Kathy Yoon. Kathy is in her 3rd year at California State University, Long Beach and is 27 years old. When she was younger, Kathy always liked playing and making things out of Play-Do. It wasn’t until she was in college that she was introduced to ceramics. One person who has inspired her is artist, Tim Burton. Tim is a producer who has made movies like; The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetle Juice, Corpse Bride, and Alice in Wonderland. I did not know who Tim was until I researched him but once I saw these movies that he produced, it all made sense. When I was in the Merlino Gallery looking at Kathy’s pieces, her pieces reminded me a lot of characters in his movies. Kathy likes to create these characters and putting her emotions and experiences into them.
Kathy wants people to relate to her pieces on a personal level, and only then will she feel accomplished in that. She uses many materials to make these pieces which include: Porcelain Clay, White Rose Paper Clay, Underglaze, and some yarn. Her whole process is pretty lengthy which involves heat treatment and forming. It actually starts off with coiling the clay and making long strips, she then forms it into shape, supports it on stilts, and lastly fires the clay in the kiln so that the clay hardens. Interestingly enough, her pieces are all hollow, and each piece takes about 2-3 weeks. Considering each piece takes 2-3 weeks and she had so many pieces on display, she worked on it for a while.
Her favorite piece in the gallery was all the way in the back corner under a little spot light because she says it’s the best representation of herself and closest to her heart. She always liked animation and art with characters which is where these characters come from. I would assume her favorite movie would be The Nightmare Before Christmas because of how closely her characters are represented to the movie. The characters also look like they are from a video game called Little Big Planet. My favorite peace was located in the center where the character was laying down face up, resembling a tired person.
Kathy’s pieces are pretty cool and accurate. Many times while I was in the gallery I heard people saying “Oh my gosh, this is so me, every day”. Kathy was able to relate her pieces and experiences with other people on a personal level. I believe her ultimate goal in “So Many Me’s” was to get on this personal level and help people connect to her characters. Her pieces connected with me because my girlfriend and I love going to Disneyland just about every week, and we both love the haunted mansion ride where characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas can be seen. So seeing these characters brought back some great memories with my girlfriend. It was really great getting to talk to Kathy and I hope she does well in her future because she is doing some great things.