I was going through some of my past interviews and wanted to share this piece I did with my gem Helen Koh. This is so old!! And my questions are so safe. We’ll have to re-do this one.
It’s always hard finding the right words to say when you don’t want to fuck up someone else’s cool—so with that being said.. her name is Helen Koh. She was raised in Chicago, spent some time in Ohio and now resides on the east coast. She’s an incredible artist from the surface to the core, so get to know her after the jump!
Credits: Artwork By Helen Koh
Name Helen Koh
Hometown Chicago, IL
Favorite art supplies
Traditional materials that I fancy these days are charcoal dust and black ink diluted in water, sprayed with brief gusts of wind to create spontaneous shapes.
Otherwise, almost all my work include stretched stringy things - strings, twines, hemps, wires – in combo with unconventional materials like naked umbrellas, old shoes, garages, wooden chairs, x-rays, and people.
What is the inspiration to your art?
A hard question! because inspiration comes from anything and everything, as long as I remember it. For instance, I can be inspired by the rusty door of a crashed car on the highway, or a conversation between trees I overheard in the night, or the slimy feeling of wet lychee between my index and middle finger.
If I’m in the mood of seeking inspiration, I find the detailed things.
Besides drawing/painting, is there anything else you work on?
I love love love apparel design and everything that comes with it: styling, hair, make-up, photography. This summer I started to make some garments myself, although not as elaborate. (This is due to a lack of a mannequin! So if anyone has a spare, or knows a place where I can “borrow” one, please toss me a holler.)
Who, besides a family member, do you find inspirational?
Alexander McQueen. Alexander the Great. He is ingenious. He is fierce. He’s the man. Love it.
What is your favorite piece created?
I’m going to break the rule and state two pieces. One is a Cello*Chair: a chair with four strings drawn over it. It is a simple piece, but this is where the idea and creativity is king and queen that it doesn’t matter how long the piece took or how elaborate it is.
Another is what I like to call Skinstallation. This is a huge, 7-story installation done with a friend for a final project. Inspired by the skin-like features of a spider web, we stretched yarn, twine, and string over railings, plumbing, stairwells, and ceilings. The most memorable part is that we both were gimpy when we installed, I with a fractured elbow and she with a torn ACL.
Nonetheless, we made it happen. It was fierce.
If you had the choice to draw for anyone, who would it be and why?
I’d draw for the wall, and no one else.
What is/was your biggest challenge as an artist?
I personally don’t find any challenge at all. Just that there is a consensus that artists aren’t quite intellectual for the modern ‘rationalistic’ world. Bullshit. We sure as hell are intellectual. We just don’t get the money.
Any advice to aspiring artists?
Learn to not give a shit. But at times, learn to listen. Learn to look, speak, smell, touch, respect the senses, and appreciate. Learn to learn.