People may praise work that is bad, and put down work that is good. You need to learn and and trust your own judgement, to know what is your best.
Jenny Lee Robinson
United States (US)
Jenny Lee Robinson is an American-born mixed-race artist of Korean descent living and working in her mother’s hometown of Seoul, South Korea. While she was raised in the predominantly white suburbs of Minnesota, her parents made a strong effort to maintain a connection to the Korean language and culture. She found ways to engage in Korean communities while attending the Maryland Institute College of Art, and following graduation in 2011, she moved to South Korea.
Later in Korea, she completed her MFA in Painting at Ewha Woman’s University 2017 through the NIIED Korea Global Scholarship program in 2017. She continues to live in Korea and creates work related to storytelling, folklore, migration, womanhood, and identity. Her art mediums include put paper installation, printmaking, collage, and book arts, oftentimes using Korean traditional mulberry paper, Hanji.
My artwork draws from folktales and myths about girls and women, incorporating tales and characters that include witches, mermaids, winged figures, and other archetypes that reappear in folklore and myths in different cultures. There is a universality and a general familiarity to these images and archetypes that make them appealing subjects in my work. Due to my international experiences including being raised by a first-generation immigrant mother, becoming an international student in South Korea during grad school, and living abroad for over a decade, I have become interested in making work that is accessible and familiar across cultures.
Therefore my use of the aforementioned figures from folklore in my artwork helps serve that purpose, in that I hope to create a readable visual language through the use of these characters in my artwork. Through these characters, these folktales and myths are cathartically reinterpreted to share stories of women’s experiences of strength, growth, trauma, and resilience. Folktales and myths also have malleability and flexibility, they endure because they are adapted and retold.
My work seeks to continue this tradition and inject modern sensibilities and views to allow others and myself to better identify and relate to these stories. My goals in accessibility also pertain to my art materials. Much of my recent work involved screen printing, book art, and paper art. I am drawn to these materials because, like myths and folklore, they are ubiquitous, unpretentious, and familiar. Ultimately my goal is for the viewer to feel a sense of intimacy with my work, regardless of who you are and what your own experiences are in life.
Inspiration: I get inspiration from artists who work in paper, folklore, and storytelling, including but not limited to Kara Walker, Andrea Deszo, and Caledonia Curry, also known as Swoon. Naturally, I am also inspired by myth and folklore and I love reading books about adapted myths, folklore, and urban legends. I especially enjoy short stories by Kelly Link and Isabel Yap.
Theme: Mythology, Folklore, Magic, Women
- ATH Emerging Artist Award, 2nd Runner Up
- Art Gemini Prize 2023 Shortlist
- Lucca Biennale 2022 Indoor Finalist