FEATURED ARTIST

Project Dispatch presents:
STEPHANIE KWAK

Each month Project Dispatch features an artist from the project in the form of interviews, conversations about process, and photos of new work in the artist’s studio space.  

This month we proudly present artwork by Stephanie Kwak. Interview with Stephanie by Rachel England.
About Stephanie:
I currently live in Baltimore and work in DC.  I graduated from Oberlin College in 2007 (B.A. English Literature, East Asian Studies) and from Georgetown University (M.A. Communication, Culture and Technology) in 2012.  I have been a member of Project Dispatch since 2010.

About her space:
I work right now in a bunch of spaces where I live in Baltimore: at my computer desk (where I scan, stare at Liam the Cat who likes to sit on the printer), at a corner near the kitchen, and in a bright green, Nickelodeon-esque room I am slowly moving into.  One day hopefully these three spaces will combine into the bright green Nickelodeon-esque room.


As you can see, the spaces where I work holds a mishmash of objects: objects I have made, objects I have found, and objects I collect.   While I really love looking at big clean spaces, this is just not how I work, and it’s not how my brain works. I’m more about accumulation and kind of an junkyard/thrift store/antique store aesthetic with lots of crooked and narrow space. The spaces where I work reflect my art — an accumulations of designs, patterns, and knickknacks that pool together into a heap of details. Making artwork serves as a process in which I can take all the information, ideas, and images thrown at me and then spit it back out in a more visually digestible way.

RE: Stephanie, we really enjoy your work, but also the way you talk about your work.  Could you describe your work as if you were talking to a person that has never seen it?

SK: Imagine stumbling upon a little shack in the woods.  You walk into this shack, and inside are shelves of patterns and stacks & stacks of books.  That little shack is like one of my drawings and paintings: stacks of different patterns shown side by side and on top of each other, all in one tidy format.  Right now that format is a big sheet of paper, or maybe a canvas, but hopefully one day it will be an actual shack!

RE: It’s clear that you are a very prolific artist, so you have a lot to choose from.  How do you choose the work you send for subscriptions?

SK: I like to send work that goes with whatever I have been experimenting with at the moment — collage, watercolor, pen, etc. — because I enjoy using a variety of materials, and I like the element of surprise that goes with each ‘dispatch’.

RE: What is your favorite part of your art making process?

SK: My favorite part of the art making process is not knowing exactly how things will turn out and the element of problem-solving that goes with that unknowingness — trying to use intuition to guide myself.

RE: Could you explain the Ghadibalo?

SK: An imagined culture in Central Asia.  The Ghadibalo were inspired by a trip to the National Museum of the American Indian — seeing how cultures, ones that I haven’t really experienced or been acquainted with outside a museum — get visually portrayed and aestheticized.

RE: You use repeating patterns often.  What inspired this in your work?

SK: The chaos of urban life — all the different people, shapes, colors, and styles I see all around me.  The physical act of creating repeating patterns is meditative — I get into a ‘zone’ — and repetition serves as a way of digesting all the things I see in daily life.

RE: Have you made any discoveries in your studio practice as a result of becoming a member of Project Dispatch and making work for subscriptions?
,
SK: Yes, definitely!  Before I was a member of Project Dispatch, I mostly worked in small paintings and drawings.  This was because I usually showed artwork online, and these were the simplest and easiest formats available and tended to transfer well to the digital context.  Now, because I mail artwork for Project Dispatch subscriptions, I have become much more aware of the tactile and physical aspects of making art and am much more open to using different materials beyond paint and pen.

RE: If you were to choose three artists from the project to subscribe to, which would they be?

SK: I would choose the three artists from Project Dispatch whose work I’m new to: Megan Mueller, Corwin Lamm, and Deborah Anzinger.
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