📍 Los Angeles, CA

I wear many hats – a founder, producer, educator, curator, creative director, visual artist, designer and caretaker. I am passionate about building communities, bridging cultural gaps, creating experiences that spark inspiration and sense of connection. I enjoy meaning-making and connecting the dots.  

In work, I value efficiency, alignment and clear communication, and in life, I value people, freedom and openness, but more often than not, work and life are intricately intertwined. 

I’m occasionally a party-thrower, frequently the decision-maker and always a daydreamer.


A multidisciplinary artist focused on creating discursive platforms that hold (and are held by) bodies, inquiries, thoughts, communities, criticality, and multiplicity. Through installations, interventions, performance and workshopping, the opportunities of artmaking are viewed as a way to engage deeply with viewers and participants, often blurring the line between viewer/audience and work/performer. Institutions, organizing, food and labor are common materials used to reveal the power dynamics within the systems, spaces, and relationships we occupy while explorations of rituals, gifting, and hospitality are used to suggest new ways of structuring our society by digressing from conventional categories and boundaries.

(Full artist cv below)

01 consider the cushion on the Ahmanson Patio
March 2019

consider the question on the Ahmanson Patio
site-specific installation / activation
Ahmanson Patio at CalArts

Over the course of a month, I organized a series of workshops with twenty-two 4th graders at a public elementary school in Koreatown, Los Angeles. The workshop was focused on the act and importance of questioning and revolved around exercises that encouraged criticality and reconsiderations.

Of the 368 questions that were gathered from the workshops, 22 were selected to be hand embroidered, verbatimly, on cushions made from indigo dyed cotton muslin and placed on a bigger cushion made with the same material. The questions read:
Why do we dream?
Why wont nature be the same?
Will I pusue my dream
Why are they talking about the border?
Why do people want robots to do everything?
What is arms?
Will I have true love?
Why does people see beauty in different ways?
In how many years longer will there be peace in the word?
How will I become an artist?
What if I get homesick?
How can you grab something that is very small?
What bring the sun and change into the moon?
What if I turn into a boy?
How can people’s eye cry when they get sad?
What is the most important question you have to ask yourself about? What brings friends together to be friends? What brings friends to seperate with each other?
How did the long avocado grow so long?
Does Aaron really like me?
how is god not born? how is god made or created?
Why is some problem easy and some are hard?
What will change in 10 years?

The temporary structure and the cushions lived on the edge of the CalArts campus, facing out from the institution. Readings, critiques, sound bath, lunch, dates, daydreaming and naps took place.

02 Be True (and Endure)

Be True (and Endure)
darkroom installation, instant film photography, pigment print on fine art paper
Beomeo Art Street, Daegu Foundation for Culture

Being an artist is like being a farmer. Farmers plant their seeds in good soil, and although they might not see much growth for weeks, they make sure the seeds have enough water and nutrients. Their work is routinely and deciplined. In the process, Mother Nature might gift the plants a little more vitality with her sunlight, wind, etc. but this is in no control of the farmers. Yet in time, the plants will bear fruit and at this time, farmers see the outcome for the first time since sowing. If one plants grape seeds, a grapevine grows and if one plants apple seeds, an apple tree grows. It is quite an honest process and this process must be repeated endlessly to continue harvesting. 

What seeds have I seeded and watered?

Be True and Endure consists of iPhone images of everyday life taken from 2013 to 2016. In response to my experiences working in the commercial art scene in Seoul, I asked myself what it meant to be true and what the definition of art and artist should be if I am true to myself. In asking these questions, I came to the subjective conclusion that the difference between a product and an artwork is that an artwork should be supported by the artist’s life. In other words, life and work should not express separate principles. For this exhibition, I wanted to do just that: show my life in the most transparent way. 

For the prints hung on the outer walls, I enlarged the pixels of the digital image so that the pixels are apparently visible to the audience. Exposing the pixels meant a certain kind of transparency and honesty as well as the courage to be transparent and honest. The cube in the center of the gallery space has an opening that invites the viewers to walk inside the dark corridor that leads to another opening covered by a curtain, and behind the curtain is a red room filled with images and stories from my personal life. I wanted to create a space that is representative of an artist’s studio, a darkroom in this case. If an artist’s life represents his or her artwork, the kind of works that are presented publicly should reflect the artist’s studio and vise versa. 

I like to put my hand out the window of a running car, but in order to not be blown away completely, I must keep a certain strength in my hand. To me, this is what being true is. It is resistance, something to be endured, yet the endurance comes with great pleasure and liberation.

03 Eighty One

Eighty One
mixed media drawings and meditation

My aunt passed away in January. Her death was the first in my family, as long as I know. Mom told me that she loved me very much, but I didn’t think we were so close. I have three images in my head that I keep returning to when I think of her. First is of an envelop she gave me right before I moved away for college. It had (I think) two hundred dollars and a little note saying that she was proud of me. I bought beddings for my dorm and I still use the same duvet, pillow, bedsheet, and all. The second is the food she packed me and my friends when we visited her in Pennsylvania. It was in a red grocery bag and she even packed us ketchup in a tiny container that was smaller than half my palm. The food kept us in good company through our drive back to New York. The third is of her lying on the ER bed and eventually walking just in front of the doorway to wave goodbye to me, my mother, and my grandmother. That was the last time I saw her. So thin, so small, so weak.

I began this project a few days after her death. At the time, anxiety, guilt, sadness, and fear were some things I felt on a day-to-day basis. The repeated days of overpowering emotions made me think that this was somehow normal. For quite a few years, I have been drawing circles whenever I had anxiety. No matter how much I practice, I can never draw a perfect circle and this thought relieves the anxiety a bit. On January 9th, I drew my first circle of 81, out of anxiety, out of fear, out of frustration, repression, and doubts, not knowing this would grow into a project of its own and a project that would change the way I see the world.

I drew a circle every day, for eighty days. There isn’t a complicated meaning for the number 80, but 80 is a good number, and a very very round one too. Although, I did think of the number forty, how it reoccurs in the Bible numerous times as a symbolic number for a period of discipline or cleansing, and how there must have been forty suns and forty moons that make up those forty days. Though there are 80 circles, the project is titled Eighty-One. “One” is how you would pronounce the word circle in Korean. It’s also how the word wish sounds like. Somewhere in the process, I thought about what fear is and landed on a rather obvious insight: fear is something that is felt in reaction to a want. In other words, I am only fearful when I am in want of something. All this time, I did not realize that I had been drawing circles whenever I had a wish. 

These eighty wishes are a reflection of my everyday — sometimes of emotions, sometimes of an incident, others of thoughts and intuition. They are also means for self-discipline and self-therapy, as, arguably, any art is.

04 it’s hard at first but things will get better

it’s hard at first but things will get better
left-handed drawings on paper

One day, I found my father on Facebook. We had been out of touch for several years and it took me several more years to actually reach out to him. It took so much courage, but I had one thought in my head: regardless of what he had done to me, I felt a need to ask for his forgiveness for neglecting him and leaving him alone and lonely for all these years. it’s hard at first but things will get better is a series of left-handed drawings I made in the summer of 2013 when I met and was reconciled with my father for the first time in eleven years. I had prepared a medium format camera to document this important moment in my life, but in reality, the relationship was too fragile and I could not make myself point an intimidating machine at someone who has been hurt for so many years, not to mention my own instability. There were rejections, anxiety, hostility, and lots of sadness and this was too much for me to bear, but one hopeless day, I had an epiphany. It suddenly felt obvious that the reconciliation came with many difficulties since it was the first time I am reconciling with my father. As there was a first time for everything, I drew with my left hand for the first time in my life and I did this every time I needed to gather myself. In time, by drawing with my left-hand, I learned to be more comfortable with things I am not in control of and eventually to embrace the lack thereof. With a lighthearted tone, these drawings talk about the simple thought of hope and progress in the most honest and candid manner.

When I returned to New York after that summer, I realized I wasn’t drawing anymore. This was a sign that things were, in fact, getting better and that things could get better even if circumstances might not have changed. Twenty drawings were made into a unique artist book shaped like a notepad and the second to the last page is left blank to represent the time when I naturally wasn’t drawing anymore, a time when things were, in fact, getting better. The last page of the book is a drawing I made after returning to New York, questioning myself why I had stopped drawing with my left hand, as well as giving myself an impossible task of drawing a perfect circle, in case I become too good at drawing with my left hand. 

05 Between

pigment prints on fine art paper, pigment print on vellum, large format lenticular prints 
Jeju Art Fair

New York was a city to be left behind. To be in New York meant that I was going to be left behind by somebody at some point. This thought grew into an obsessive attachment to my beloved ones in New York, and I began photographing them, one by one, so that when it was my turn to leave the city, I could take with me their faces, their gestures, their voices, and gazes. 

The two to three hour long, one on one studio sessions were undisturbed moments in our relationships, amidst a city where everyone is always busy. During each session, I exposed twenty 4x5 negatives in between conversations and I recorded these conversations from beginning to end. I am still thinking of a sophisticated way to integrate these recordings into the series since some of these recordings are much too intimate to hastily reveal to the audience.

The series was first shown in diptychs, hoping that these diptychs would show something that is not visibly seen with the photographs itself. I wanted to capture what was in between the two photographs— short, intimate, fleeting moments too easily disregarded yet so cherishable and delicate. 

In late fall of 2015, I was invited to an art fair in Jeju Island. The fair was held in a historical street in the city of Jeju, where most inns of the island were gathered for decades. Today, many hotels, motels, and guest houses are running their businesses on this street and the fair rented out one floor of each of these buildings for the Young Artist Festival. Taking into account the intimacy of the venue, I decided to show the Between series. I recreated the above-mentioned diptychs into large format lenticular prints. The subjects in these prints would open and close their eyes, turn their heads, and make eye contact with the viewers as they transitioned within the motel room. Along with the lenticular prints, I also showed the double exposed photographs as well as a few quiet single portraits. 

Artist CV

2020    Reef Residency
        Nick England Intercultural Arts Project Grant
        Greenberg Fund
2019    Interdisciplinary Project Grant
        Dean’s Reserve Fund
2018    Lillian Disney Scholarship
        Beautiful Gathering Scholarship
2017    The Moving Scholarship
2014    Artistic Excellence Award
2012    Petrie Foundation Scholarship
        TSOA Study Abroad Scholarship
2011    Hyndol Mission Scholarship
2009    Provost’s Grant
        J. Eckhouse Scholarship
        Tisch Scholarship

2019    consider the cushion on the Ahmanson Patio; Ahmanson Patio, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA
2017    Be True and Endure; Beomeo Art Street, Daegu Foundation for Culture; Daegu, South Korea
2015    The Washroom; IT Studio; Samseong-dong, Seoul, South Korea
        Between; Jeju Art Fair; Jeju-si, Jeju Island, South Korea
2011    Windows; Promise Theatre Gallery; New York, NY

2023    Red Night; Beck + Col; the art room / Lauren Powell Projects, Los Angeles, CA
2021    Weird Alms; Todd Madigan Gallery, Bakersfield, CA
2020    object subject for OPaf 2020; Los Angeles, CA
        Time Out of Joint; Mackey Apartments, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, CA
        Once More, With Feeling…; New Wight Biennial, Los Angeles, CA
2019    Nowhere Better Than Here; 2019 Venice Biennale, Nomad Pavilion, Venice, CA
        Acqua Alta; Main Gallery, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA
        Out of Site / Body / Mind; D300 Gallery, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA
        20/20; A402 Gallery, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA
        Integrated Media End of the Year Farewell; Integrated Media Lab, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA
        Sculpture Garden Show; Friendship Park, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA
2014    BFA Thesis Exhibition; Gulf + Western Gallery; New York, NY
        Global Projects; Broadway Gallery; New York, NY
        SHOW ONE; Department of Photography & Imaging 8th Floor Gallery; New York, NY
2012    WIPE Exhibition; Department of Photography & Imaging 8th Floor Gallery; New York, NY

2019    The Revolving Lumpen (Performer for Beck + Col); Human Resources LA, Los Angeles, CA
        Readings & Performances; How Are You (with Woohee Cho), Emotional Store, Los Angeles, CA 
        Performance Night; Balloon Piece, The Reef, Los Angeles, CA
        I Pour Into You / Experiences of Proximity (Performer for Lucinda Trask); CalArts, Valencia, CA
        Shelter or Playground: The House of Dust at the Schindler House; MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, CA
© 2023 Sohyeon Jenny Eom. All rights reserved.