‘Injung Oh Rocks! Keeping it Fresh! Mixing it Up with New Trends!

Feb 11, 2017 4:17PM

Presented by ACS Magazine 

IinJung Oh  “Art is a magical tool, a place, a best friend to fill the missing piece in life to make it whole”   Photo credit to Erin McClellan Zhoushi


As a Chicago based Korean-American artist, Injung Oh’s art collection reflects a self-discovery journey that she personally embarked on; how she has managed to make peace with her dual identities and accept the dissimilarity. Oh received her BFA and MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has had solo exhibitions at the Ed Paschke Art Center in Chicago, MIIT Museum in Turin, Italy and Bluerider Art Gallery in Taipei, Taiwan. Reviews of her work have been featured in Italia Arte Magazine, China Times and The China Post and her works are in numerous private collections. She is a resident artist at the Zhou B Art Center. 


InJung shares “My family has been a major influencing factor that has inspired my art career. Growing up in a very traditional Korean household, my father is the "King" of our home. Growing up he would tell me many great Korean tales of the famous Kings which has taken shape in my works that I have created today. First with the "King and I" painting I created in 2005 evolving into my ‘Volossom’ series of today. I would not be where I am today without the influence and support of my family. I'm very grateful each day for their constant support and inspirations. I believe that the more I see and experience in my everyday life my art will only grow stronger and bolder through time.”


For the last decade, InJung has been interpreting her visions in 2004 of herself floating in the sky with her body represented as stamen in the shape of a flower. InJung branded her visual form with the title Volossom, meaning manifestation of wish or will. Volossom is an important symbol in her paintings. It represents life and existence. It serves as symbol of the different stages of life people may encounter along the way. Since the debut of the symbolic form Volossom it has evolved from a literal depiction to an elaborate, layered structure of interconnected ideas. 

InJung Oh and her husband Michael Zhou

InJung’s artistic process is constantly changing and evolving over time. As an artist she believes that you have to challenge yourself and push yourself during the creative process in order to break through. She has been working intuitively.  InJung explained “My hands move faster than her brain which means that I understand what I have created after the creative process. When I get an idea that makes my heart beat so fast. I tend to make it first and evaluate after. As I mature in life as an artist I think the execution of my work will be greater. I believe that you can only create the art; even it is a “mistake” it is what you are feeling at that moment. So while I am juggling being a mother of two (2) children, a wife, and an artist, which can get chaotic at times, I am driven to continue to be creative and productive. This is my way of express myself and connect with the audience by sharing your art.”


During InJung’s years at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she was at her studio every day from morning to night even over night at times. InJung’s studio is her laboratory, her playground, her church etc... But after she began a mother for the first time, she learned to balance her art practice with motherhood. Now a mother of two (2) adorable children, InJung schedules her studio work a couple times a week while coordinating her art administrative work and art meetings. No matter how busy she gets she always tries to find time to work in her my studio. 

InJung shared “The Zhou Brothers has inspired many artists and me. Being fortunate to observe closely and being closely surrounded by their influence has motivated me and the strength to move forward.  It is truly amazing how the Zhou Brothers started from humble beginnings to be a catalyst for positive changes in the Chicagoland art and international art communities. Their life journey provides artists with the encouragement to persevere and move forward. Their experience reminds you when the going gets tough to remember to dig down deep and never stop following your dreams. The Zhou Brothers have created an extremely special place for the artists at the Zhou B Art Center. Having my studio at the center along with my fellow Zhou B artists is very inspirational and together we have the confidence to pursue our artistic talents.”


InJung shares that her husband (Michael Zhou) really makes it possible for her to be an artist. Not only does he support her art practices he encourages her when she is feeling overwhelmed and gives me the strength to keep going. If did not Have Michael supporting me, it would be impossible to create and maintain the balance between my personal life and art career. 


InJung Oh says “In order to pull off a solo exhibition you have to be a very dedicated artist! I was very blessed to have my solo exhibition at Bluerider Art Gallery Taipei, Taiwan in 2013. I was the first artist to exhibit in the new gallery and was very fortunate to have great results from my exhibit. After the success of my very first solo exhibition in Taipei I had my second child and then my art was put on hold once again. This was the first year in a very long time that I had really promoted my art through an exhibition. I have had three solo exhibitions this year from the Ed Paschke Art Center to the Zhou B Art Center during the center's 11th year anniversary celebration. With any exhibition I always try to learn a lot by examining, engaging, and sharing my art with my viewers. After an exhibition is over it gives me personal closure and I can reflect on what I can do to improve my presentation and take my art to another level.”


Tell us about your international exhibiting experience.

“It is truly a blessing to be able to exhibit my art all over the world. I am very fortunate to be able to work with many passionate individuals who believe in me as an artist and in my works. I still remember my first solo exhibition in Taipei, it was truly special to have my close friends and family to attend the opening of my exhibit in Taipei. That was really a highlight of my young art career. After Taipei, I was very fortunate to be included in many group exhibitions curated by the Director of Exhibitions of the Zhou B Art Center, Sergio Gomez. It is truly an artist's dream to have the works created inside your intimate studio space being able to travel the world. Through those experiences you are able to gain a new perspective with your works and grow from the feedback you receive from your audience.”


Tells us how significant collaborative partnerships have been in your career and being involved with an artist community.

“I think by being a part of the Zhou B Art Center it really activates your collaborative spirit. By that I mean, the Zhou Brothers have one of the most amazing collaborations of our time. They have been collaborating over 40 plus years with their art practices and every single works of art created by them have been created together. Their creative spirit really lives inside the center that they have created for artists. Recently, I was fortunate enough to collaborate with the Ed Paschke Art Center, Jefferson Park District and the University of Chicago for my Thousand Wish Project. The Thousand Wish Project is an important element in the ongoing transformation of Volossom. It is my vision transformed from  the wishful world of my own studio and into the local community. It is an ongoing interactive visual workshop, which encourages participants to explore, articulate and give shape to a latent wish or desire using creative art mediums. The collective and diverse visual wishes will ultimately create a united voice. Besides institutional collaborations, I also collaborated with an emerging Chicago based fashion designer - 84Rockwell. Together we created a limited edition InJung Oh Artist Series leather belt bag. We had a great launch event at VMR boutique in the Gold Coast recently and have been receiving great response from our collaboration. But all of this would not be possible if not for the Zhou B Art Center. This special place has given me and many artists the magic key to unlocking our art careers.”


Tells us about your non-for-profit organization, how it has inspired you and how this the organization has influenced your art practice.

“After I finished my Master of Fine Arts studies at School of the Art Institute. I began to help my pastor from my previous church in Northbrook with their arts education program for two (2) years. At that time I also had my studio at the Zhou B Art Center. I have exhibited the works of my students during one of our 3rd Friday openings. After spending more and more time in Bridgeport The Community of the Future what most people call it, I felt that there was a need to offer some arts education to the community.  This led to the Family Celebration Day offering 12 various creative workshops for the community with the help of fellow Zhou B artists. It was natural how Zhou B Art Center was the only place which was created and founded by the artists for the artist and the community. I found my non-for-profit organization in 2013 and with the guidance of my advisers it is currently going through some changes. OH, which stands for Open Horizon, Art Foundation will offer special art educational opportunities to the students and community. This organization goes hand in hand with my Thousand Wish Project which is very important to the evolution of Volossom.” 


Tells us about the recent expansion of your brand to various products.

“After my Volossom Decade solo exhibition at the Zhou B Art Center. The image of Volossom as wish flower image is developing into its own identity through various projects and collaborations. My Thousand Wish Project that I have activated has created a platform to were local community residents with no arts background can  express themselves creatively through art. I also have been collaborating with an emerging Chicago based fashion designer to launch our art + Fashion collaboration events throughout the city. Together with 84Rockwell we have launched our limited edition "InJung Oh Artist Series" wearable art in a well-crafted leather belt bag made in USA painted uniquely inside my studio at the Zhou B Art Center.”


As an emerging artist Injung Oh believes that the art grows as the artist matures in life so she does not believe in overnight success. The ones that we see as the overnight sensations typically do not have the staying power to withstand the test of time. Almost all of the highly successful artists all have a tremendous amount of work ethic. She believes that hard work and persistence is the key to success for anything and everything in life. Injung Oh shares “Do not ever give up on your dreams. If you believe in something you have to work hard and fight all the way to the end to reach your goals. So if this is what you really want, find the way to make it part of your life. Think about how you can last 20 or 40 plus years like the Zhou Brothers to create and maintain what you love.”


Canvas Sculpture by InJung Oh

InJung Oh at her studio in the Zhou B Art Center . 

Secret Garden by InJung Oh  

For exciting updates on what is happening with InJung Oh for 2017 visit her website at http://www.injungoh.com

Take a glance at InJung Oh who graces the front cover of this issue and the article is ‘Injung Oh Rocks! Keeping it Fresh!  Mixing it Up with New Trends!’ in the ACS Magazine January/February 2016 issue at http://www.acs-mag.com/acs-magazine-jan-feb-2016. Renée LaVerné Rose (Publisher & Editor-in-Chief)