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Interview: Annie Yang

Updated: Nov 8

Closer Like Fiddle Tree 3, 2023, Acrylic on canvas, 162.2 x 130.3 cm (64 x 51 inches)

1) Could you introduce yourself? Where did you go to school? When did you first see yourself as an artist?

Hi I am Annie, a painter currently in Guri-si, Korea. I went to the School of Visual Arts in New York. I first saw myself as an artist when I was in kindergarten. I remember my parents telling me that I wrote down that I want to become a painter.

Closer Like Fiddle Tree 2, 2023, Acrylic on canvas, 162.2 x 130.3 cm (64 x 51 inches)

2) What kind of plants are you depicting, on the surface? Are your paintings literal portraits of the plants? Or are the paintings abstract or psychological interpretations of their inner qualities?

They are both.

I draw the plants that I own. Among all, I have focused especially on the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree because Fiddle is in my memory and in deep heart. I had to lose my mentor who was pretty young but died of cancer. She led me to learn of the broader meanings of art. She gave me unforgettable love. She had several plants in her studio, and Fiddle was most beautiful in my eyes. I feel my connection with my mentor in the Fiddle Tree.

Follow the Light on my Fiddle Tree, 2023, Acrylic on canvas, 320.5 x 60cm, (126.2 x 23.6 inches)

I draw on a sketchbook, and then I paint on a larger canvas. I simplify the color as I paint. I try to work abstractly but not to lose the tangibility. I usually use dark colors or black as I add lines after I paint in the colors. The dark colors mean my condolence to my passed away mentor and other dead souls. It also means to give support to the left living souls.

3) Regarding your answer to question #2, if the case is the latter, why do you utilize their exterior, physical appearances as flattened forms to create graphic composition, marked by thick lines? How and why did you arrive at this stylistic choice?

I first got interested in using lines in 2013 when I started drawing with markers. Now I draw with pencil, but I still have a desire towards making paintings that have drawing elements. I personally think that in the past line works were a way to express myself and I drew everyday life back then; family, friends, still lifes (umbrella, shoes, etc). I made the drawing marks with markers naturally.

Now, I use the line with another meaning inside. To condole the passed away soul is the point of my paintings with thick lines, like I mentioned earlier in question 2.

Playing Code C for Fiddle, 2023, Acrylic on canvas, 145.5 x 89cm (57.3 x 35inches)

4) What are you trying to say or convey by painting the plants? Are you trying to convey a sense or experience of unconditional love? How and/or why is it possible for plants to become the locus of unconditional love? What is unconditional love?

Yes it is exactly what I want to offer through painting.

The Love from God to give Jesus for us is the ultimate unconditional Love.

Love Fiddle Tree Leaf 2, 2023, Acrylic on canvas, 130.3 x 97cm (51.3 x 38.2 inches)

5) Are you a believer in a religion, and, if yes, what role does unconditional love play in your religion? For example, only God is capable of unconditional love, right?

No, we are made from the image of God, so I think people also can give unconditional love. However, yes, the love that people give and receive can be selfish.

Love Fiddle Tree Leaf 3, 2023, Acrylic on canvas, 130.3 x 97cm (51.3 x 38.2 inches)

6) Continuing off of question #5, most parents also exhibit unconditional love to their children. So, then, is unconditional love not exclusive to God only? Or is God's quality being embodied in the parents? If yes, then are you embodying the qualities of God by loving the plants unconditionally?

Yes I think so..

I Love You Like I Love My Fiddle Tree, 2023, Acrylic on canvas, 162.2 x 112.1 cm (64 x 44 inches)

7) A main question then becomes... while your artist statement claims that you intend to nurture and love the plants unconditionally, just the way that they are, how is this quality of unconditional love reflected in your paintings? What are the specificities in how you conceived of and executed the paintings that indicate this quality?

There were many mentors in my life but I remember this mentor most because she led me to have the faith for Jesus, the Son of God. She had taught me Christianity as well as art. She for herself had love for all students but above it, she had turned over her faith to me. I was no longer lost and had come to seek God. I gradually realized that I am a Child of God. She had a Fiddle tree and the tree looked so loved and healthy by her love of the tree. I remember Fiddle as a memory to properly mourn her death and to remember her love through Christ.

Closer Like Fiddle Tree 1, 2023, Acrylic on canvas, 162.2 x 130.3 cm (64 x 51 inches)

8) Who are your main influences in terms of contemporary and historical artists?

I mostly prefer gestural paintings, not pop art. I say I am influenced by pop art because of the fact that I don't like them. I do agree that they are historically important, but I think historical importance in art is just like seeing art in a social or political context. My works may look like “cartoons” or “pop art”, but they are not those things. The paintings are only looking like those two in terms of the appearance, which I borrow for my painting. Beneath the surface is witnessing, discovering and observing.

Love Fiddle Tree Leaf 3, 2023, Acrylic on canvas, 130.3 x 97cm (51.3 x 38.2 inches)

9) What are some philosophical and theoretical ideas that you play with in your art? How about other religious ideas?

I make paintings to sing for Jesus. I will sing for His Love forever and more.

We have to remember our Creator in the days of our youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when we will say, “I find no pleasure in them”.

If any of us lacks wisdom, we should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to us.

…and also without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Under Tree, 2021, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches(76.2 x 101.6cm)

10) What are your dreams and goals for the future? Where do you see yourself in the next five years? Do you intend to apply to graduate schools, and, if yes, in which country?

My dream is to follow Jesus more. I hope to study more from the world side and help people realize that there is God. I really want to make the two different ideas of Christian and Nonchristian into one. I hope my painting can lead me to that. It is just like Derrda’s Deconstructionism. There is no binary between Christian and Nonchristian because in one context they talk about the same thing, God. If there is an idea, that means that there is. If not, why would there be such a word?

Additionally I am thinking of staying in my hometown for a while, but I know that where I am staying doesn’t matter. What matters is that I keep painting to sing for Jesus of His grace. The essential thing is to grow the faith in Him and to keep my faith.

Additional Works:

Tree Lights Fallen Unto, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 24 inches(76.2 x 60.96cm)

Papa, 2013-2014, Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 28 inches (91.44x 71.12cm)

Amy, 2013-2014, Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 15 inches (50.8 x 38.1cm)

Umbrella Couple, 2013-2014, Acrylic on paper, size approximately 20 x 13 inches(50.8 x 33.02cm)

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