art 3mph: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Blond Jenny: I was born in Seoul, South Korea. I started learning drawing and painting when I was in middle school. I have a Masters and Bachelor degree in Fine Arts from Gachon University, South Korea. I formally taught Korean Art History and Drawing at Gachon University and my own art institute. I owned a gallery in Seoul for the 3 years prior to moving to New York to pursue my artistic life here where I have been the last 7 years. In New York, I have been fortunate to meet many artists including Karen Gutfreund and Priscilla Otani of the Women’s Caucus for Art community and Marilla Palmer Zeremna who included me in her group show at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts gallery in Chelsea this past Spring.
art 3mph: What is the story behind your name ‘Blond Jenny’?
Blond Jenny: As a child growing up in Seoul, Korea, my parents didn’t let me play with dolls. I was in love with the doll-like blonde hair Japanese characters I saw on TV but never had the plastic toys that all my schoolmates had.
So, I drew my own characters then made cutouts of my drawings to play with in place of the dolls I couldn’t have. My favorite character was Jenny, a blonde haired cartoon with big eyes. Eventually, I made a mask and was able to become my own life-sized doll, Blond Jenny. I used her as a way to escape my fears and tell my stories.
art 3mph: Your work is an intersection of photography and alternative processes. How did you start developing your artistic practice?
Blond Jenny: When I studied in Korea, I was lucky to learn about multimedia. I started with photography when I was in second grade. After that I started exploring with painting, then video, and finally I made my Blond Jenny mask with resin so I could use it to perform. The medium doesn’t matter to me. The most important things are the ideas and story that I want to share. Sometimes I take videos. Sometimes I capture one image from a video to use as a print. I also like to capture video clips of my process to make storytelling videos. I continue to develop my techniques so I can challenge the boundaries of my expression. I like to explore new media and play with it as part of my overall story.
art 3mph: How do you decide which materials, colors, patterns etc to use to disrupt your photos? What do the materials represent?
Blond Jenny: My experience evolves with the weather. During Winter I use black and white or negative photos. In Spring I am looking always looking for colors. Right now, my work has inspiration from the darkening night sky. I participate online with artists groups where we collaborate and share pieces inspired by each other. This helps me to think about my art in different ways and forces me to create something new every month.
art 3mph: With viewers interacting with your work and bringing their own experience to them, what is the impression you want them to leave with?
Blond Jenny: I want them to be comfortable with me. I really enjoy feedback and opportunities for collaboration. Then we could create something we both like more and more. I also want to give people the feeling of freedom from my nature work. Nature is important so I look for ways to surround people with it.
art 3mph: What do you like about living and working in Bushwick? What’s a day in your life like?
I love to be in an artistic environment with other artists. I love to meet so many creative people that give me the energy to pursue myself. A day in my life is just opening my eyes, listening, and touching. I enjoy walking around all the graffiti while capturing 360-degree photos and then coming back to my studio to water my plants.
Blond Jenny is a painter, photographer and performance artist based in New York City. Her work is a mix of storytelling through her alter ego cartoon character Blond Jenny, her self-portraits, found objects from nature, 360 photos, and video as well as lenticular. Her work talks about her life experiences, social evolution, and culture. She has shown in the Photography Department for Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, Hong Kong Affordable Art Fair, Clio Art Fair, Spectrum Miami Art Show, and Nabi Museum of the Arts. Her work has also been selected by the following shows Hipster & Otaku Photography Exhibition CICA Museum, Trending: Contemporary Art Now Exhibition Target Gallery for the Women’s Caucus for Art, Duality of Feminine and Feminist Exhibition Gallery 66, NCWCA-sponsored F*ck U! In the Most Loving Way Exhibition Arc Gallery, Vision: An Artist’s Perspective Kaleid Gallery for the Gutfreund Cornett Art and UniteWomen.org.