In this relief-like painting, Korean mythical creature 'Haetae' is in the combination of variety of patterns and vibrant colors, and is standing in the background of blue and yellow circular shapes.
Haetae 2020 Acrylic on foamcore board 54 x 40 x 4 inches

I'm both a traditional and modern Korean-American. I’ve always had an interest in exploring different cultures, and I think that, in many aspects, the Korean culture, including its literature and traditions are beautiful — even magical! Fantastical animals inhabit South Korean legends, two of the most important mythical creatures being “Haetae” and “Bulgasari,” who were said to protect people from disasters. Artworks (created usually between the 13th-17th century) inspired by them appear in drawings that include very little color.

There is a statue of the Haetae in Seoul, South Korea, where my family is from. It's carved from a stone with no additional color applied. My relief-like paintings combine traditional representation and untraditional 3-d abstraction. I want the colors I use to be seen as delightful and vibrant in order to show the playful, unworldly nature of the creatures, and to celebrate contrasts between the limited palette of classical Korean drawings and the hyped-up, varied colors of my artworks.