Story by Abigail Kim
Photo by Coffee Kang
From August 6 to August 9, Hajean Kim, Lumi Lee, and two SPHS seniors Joon Lee and Brandon Park displayed almost 30 works of art in the LA Artcore museum. The exhibition, titled Plastic Playgrounds, included works of all mediums, consisting of photography, ceramics, paintings, sculptures, and textiles. The four artists currently take classes at Drawwing Cabinet, an art studio located in La Crescenta.
LA Artcore is a non-profit organization that resides in the Union Center For The Arts in Little Tokyo. In 1993, the center was remodeled into what it is today, hosting not only LA Artcore but also East West Players, a theater group, and Visual Communications media, an organization designed to help AAPI filmmakers. Additionally, LA Artcore has another location in the Brewery Arts Colony.
The opportunity to have their art displayed was made possible by Drawwing Cabinet’s Exhibition-Making class. The four artists spent around four weeks coming up with a theme, connecting their works, making visuals for posters and coming up with the title.
The title of the exhibition, Plastic Playgrounds, alluded to a playground symbolizing growth and plastic indicating one’s easily moldable self. Although there were 29 unique works, they were all connected through the feelings of individuality, finding themselves, and ultimately finding the definition of their own playgrounds.
Lee’s exhibition revolved around his ten piece artwork, “Letters.” The 12 letters all address and reference key points of his world. For example, “Dear Pearl,” one of the letters, references a pearl he believes lives inside of him, defining him and his world.
“[It represents] the importance of re-interpreting the world, as opposed to taking the pre-established definitions of it,” Lee said, “the letters contextualize my existence by recognizing my surroundings in my own interpretation.”
Also partaking to the exhibition was SPHS senior Brandon Park, who added 11 art pieces to Plastic Playgrounds. Park was influenced by his mother throughout his life and childhood.
“I’ve been into art…probably my whole life,” he said. “My mom was also very into art back then.”
He got into art through various cartoons and animations and as time went on continued to be inspired by the human figure. He contributed works of oil, ceramic, charcoal, mixed media, and denim. Some of his more unconventional works include “Shattered Lanes,” a ceramic sculpture, and “Parkers Jeans,” a denim textile piece.
Many of Park’s works reminisce about his childhood and his family. He describes it as “memories I didn’t want to lose, family, and the connections everybody has together.” This theme is centrally showcased in his painting “Room #105,” where he depicts his childhood room through oil on canvas. “Room #105” is actually the painting Park resonates with the most.
“I resonated the most with this work, since for me it summed up my life in that apartment and it feels the most real for me,” Park said.
Other works portray his childhood shopping center, his aunt’s house, and his old school bus, which all tie back to his central theme of keeping memories.
“The message I hope people can take away is to be more in tune with your memories and try not to forget where you come from,” he said.
Park also uses his art to connect different generations and time periods. In “Parkers Jeans,” Park links his father’s old jeans to his friend’s new ones.
“I found this to be a very strong symbolic representation of the idea of ‘shared experiences’ across cultures and generations,” he said.
Both SPHS seniors plan on pursuing fine art in college. Lee and Park hope to get into colleges to continue to learn and improve.
“My dream is to just do what I’m doing right now, have fun, and sell my paintings and arts,” Park said.