PEOPLE IN ART
SAE HOON JANG
NEW YORK CITY
My name is SAE HOON JANG A.K.A Socko. I’m originally from South Korea, I spent my high school years in California at the Idyllwild Arts Academy. I moved to NYC for the undergraduate and learnt more deeply about art. Therefore, I matriculated to School of Visual arts and attained my BFA degree with illustration major. I’m 27 years old and I’m an art director as well. I curate diverse young artists' works and promote them to public and I’m overseeing an overseas' commercial Director of Fashion Brand “Kilijaro”.
What is your first memory of art?
My first memory of arts is probably when I first saw my mother’s old portfolio inside my house's closet. My parents are both in the fashion industry; my mother had this old fashion Illustration portfolio files. I was about nine years old and I believe it was my initial time when I actually felt what an art looks like, including beauty of the marks and the lines gave me chill and I still vividly recall that moment.
Why did you decide to pursue an art career?
This answer is related to my previous answer - my childhood memory is full of arts and fashion. Since both of my parents worked in the fashion industry, I was able to see variety of colors combinations, different art works and designs. I assume I got naturally soak into that area without any external influence. In addition to that, I assumed it was super cool and liberating that somebody could generate something from scratch and everybody could be obsessed with the person.
Tell us about your curation process, How do you select artists? What themes or subject matters do you like representing?
There are a few ways of my curation process; first, when I select artists I sometimes contact them first if I see artists' great potential and I reach them first through IG (Instagram) or Email. Otherwise I collect resumes and portfolios from different artists who want to exhibit their works or to promote themselves. Regarding Theme and Subject - I talk with artists and attempt to relate from their works. It can also be the world-wide issues or trends. For instance, the third exhibition that I directed was about the theme of “Women artist only”. It was the group exhibition with only women artists.
What do you enjoy about curating?
There are so many things that I enjoy about curating - I could meet variety of the artists from all over the world with the different cultures. From the artists, I learnt so much, including their attitudes and passions. To be honest, every single curation process is challenging and sometimes stressful; however, I recognized that I feel so grateful during opening receptions when people enjoy art works and express full of smiles. It’s almost like addiction that I cannot stop.
What do you think of the NY art scene right now?
I think NYC art scene is on the golden age as the limitation of arts are now somewhat destroyed and became all in one. A lot of young artists have opportunities to work in different areas, including fashion industry. For example, Brooklyn-base artist “KAWS” collaborate with Dior and his signature character BFF pink versions are all over the world. Furthermore, young generation is connecting into the art scenes in NYC, so the markets are growing up larger than ever in my knowledge.
Who are some artists that you really admire?
There are several artists whom I admire but to start off with, “KAWS” (Brian Donnelly) is one of the best artists who I admire the most. He is the reason why I decided to attend School of Visual Arts (SVA). His explorations and propelling attitude inspires me immensely. He provides a great faith among the toy artists. Moreover, Donnelly gives huge impact on the high-fashion field with his Dior collaborations. Lastly, he always break his limitation and develop himself deeper than ever and moving forwards which I admire the most.
Who are some of the artists in NY that you are looking to work with in the future?
My dream is working with 'KAWS' as he is my muse and a roll model. It would be my honor to work with him. As a matter of fact, I saw him when he visited Korea for the “Kaws holiday project”, I was so excited; but did not have the chance to talk to him!
How do you go about discovering new talent?
I reference their uploaded images from SNS and reach out to them directly. I also take referrals from my friends and contacts; I meet the referrals in-person, review their portfolios and interview them to make final decisions.
What are your thoughts on the acceptance of art within the new generation?
I think current days of young generations are accessible to arts - since we have humongous SNS users whomever share their works or check with each others. I strongly believe that this is a great sign that young generations are involved in the art scenes, so they can have wilder experiments with full of trendy ideas.
What impact is culture (music and fashion) having in art and how does art impact culture?
The art forms are integrated these days. For example, the illustrator 'KAWS' and high-end fashion brand 'Dior' have collaborations. In addition to that, the Head of Director from 'Louis Vuitton' - Virgil Abloh and MCA have the collaboration as well. There are also rising musicians Billie Ellishe and Takashi Murakmi's collaboration has an excellent praise from audiences. Art forms these days - such as music, visual arts, fashion, architectures are all being integrated together to project their advantages and considered to be an excellent type of art.