Interview with On-Kyeong Seong

Interview with On-Kyeong Seong

On-Kyeong Seong is originally from Seoul, South Korea. She is an artist and a primarily a mixed media artist, working and living in Boston, U.S.A. She graduated from School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University receiving MFA degree and BFA from Lesley University, Boston. Her work has been exhibited through locally and internationally. Years ago her mother visited her in Boston and she got a chance to learn how to do a sewing machine from her mother. Since then, she has been falling in love with how the textures of machine embroidery carry emotion. She enjoys using a sewing machine as a tool for art making through this process.

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us how you started in the arts? And your first experience in art making?

My name is Seong, On-Kyeong. I live and work in suburban area in Boston, USA. My farther used to be an artist when I was a child. I had a pleasure time watching my farther painting sitting next to him. I remember my farther bought me an illustration book for children, which had lots of human forms, flora, fauna, a pattern of design and a variety of calligraphy. While my father was painting I loved to sit by him and drawn with a pencil and a crayon from that book. I think those little silly drawings were my first art pieces. Believe it or not I still have that illustration book and love to look sometimes when I am deep into nostalgia for my childhood and enjoy seeing my own some scribbles and some fun drawings inside of book. I consider this was my first experience of art making.

How would you describe yourself and your artwork? 

I am a part dreamer and part scientific inquiry. My work is based on a scientific understanding of organics forms of cytopathology and cell biology, which I translate into visual language of abstract mixed media works. In my use of machinery stich and threads on canvas I explore transformation of the source material into the mutated and the distorted, revealing a biomorphic forms in combination with organic ornamental compositions. Those portray nature- not only in its original habitat, but also in its heterogeneous combinations of my own imagination as realized through investigation of the nature interpreting microscopic images. The biological imagery of expressionism arises not from the factualness of science through the copying of illustrations but from the aspirations toward beauty that science of nature and art hold in common. In these realms of form I impose aesthetic unity; from them I apply new decorative principles to my art making, such organic and geographic forms in different ways. 

Where do you get your inspiration?

By observing nature under magnification for a discovery of its mystic and magical sense, I often find that shapes and forms have distinctive features as the unusual and some are very monstrous. I learn those variety has perfection and imperfection versus beauty and ugliness exist side by side. My arts describe those contrasting idea and truly appreciate both of them through observing nature. I would like to capture those through in my art that worlds lie parallel with the universe, which contains invisible ugliness from the beauty in hybrid forms.

What emotions do you hope the viewers experience when looking at your art?

Art is the home of the creativity. When audiences look the art with their own pure creative thoughts and eyes, it is fine. Also it is fine either when audiences embrace the art in a way of the artist's thought.

When do you know that an artwork is finished?

At first step I put art away not to look at for a while. After revisiting it, when I still think it is done it is done.

What has been the most exciting moment in your art career so far?

I really wanted to have my own space to focus art making without any interruption. After completing art school, finally I could own my professional studio space. I could hardly express how I was so exciting about that. During studio time I really enjoy myself alone to do creativity. That time is my most precious moment for my art career in my life.

How long does it take to produce one work?

I can't say exactly. I usually start my work with more than two at the same time. Also It depends on how many works I work on at the same time along with scale of work. It varies.

What exciting projects are you working on right now? Can you share some of the future plans for your artworks? 

I have been reinventing 3d art piece working from 2d with a combination of cutting-out the paintings and mixed media. Machinery stitchery using painting and fabric cutout directly to the canvas juxtapose with sculptural art pieces to not only give rise to the transformation of the growth image but also affect on the growth of each other to be idiosyncratic. Also I am getting using sewing more and more in my art than paint. This experience of sewing with a sewing machine brings a more direct and intuitive in terms of applying my point of view in art making. This act of painting infinites not only natural habitat but also discoveries of womanhood regarding as a woman's work as a low art in ancient. I am going to expand more of those works and develop more in the future.

Do you have any upcoming events or exhibitions we should know about?

I have upcoming ‘two persons show’ at Coastal Contemporary Art gallery, Newport, Rhode Island, USA, and participate the art action at Massachusetts College of art and design in April 2019

Also I have a schedule for the solo exhibit at Kingston Gallery, Boston in February 2020.

Where do you see your art going in five years?

I would like to work larger scale and develop more arts in different directions in a body of work.

Website :

Instagram : @on_kyeong

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Keiichi Tanaami

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Ryan Sullivan