Artist interview with Cho, Hui-Chin

Cho, Hui-Chin   (Japanese: 卓 卉芹 (たく きせり) )

Born:   Tainan, Taiwan

Lives:   London, UK




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Cho, Hui-Chin finished her Bachelor of Fine Art degree at Slade School of Fine Art in 2018. She graduated with first-class honours and made the dean's list. Having grown up in a multicultural country, she prefers to use an amalgam of materials, especially vintage or antique materials, to prompt philosophical dialogues about the distortion of subject matter and abstract motifs, especially the grotesque iconography of babies as the motif sustains her work.

Through a practice primarily consisting of painting and sculpture, Cho investigates vintage materials and the dilemma of using materials. Cho is interested in exploring how metaphors are overlaid and integrated into our ordinary perception of things, simultaneously depicting the manifestation of antique materials with ambiguous identities , and she insists on responding to the metaphors hidden in the materials. Her work is concerned with a miscellany of incongruous figures and motifs; fragments form a narrative that is grotesque but still compelling. Her inquisitive artistic approach leads to introspection and a reflection on humanity, desire, fetish, ambivalence, sadism and obsession.

Cho, Hui-Chin currently lives and works in London.

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Who would you like to buy your art? A famous person? What would you tell him/her about your art so he would buy it?

I am elated that a lot of my works have been collected by influential collectors! (I apologise that I cannot mention their name, who are the famous composer/artist/notable individuals, in this interview because it is quite important and basic to protect their privacy.). I still remember that at one time (honestly the circumstances happened a few times),  in an usual morning I got e-mails saying that they would like to collect my works, and at that moment I had no idea who the collectors were, and I was amazed that why they would like to collect my work without knowing my conception? Therefore I insisted on inviting them coming to my show/studio so I could explain my conception of the works, which they’re interested in, to them, and yes, they did come and listen to me. And afterward I just realised they are the famous celebrities or the notable individuals; I really admire my collectors who respect the artist and the artworks, and I am grateful for having their appreciations.

I would say if there are any new collector who might be interested in my works, I am absolutely happy to share my idea and concept; however, I will not persuade them to purchase an artwork which they are not interested in at all since that is meaningless. From my perspectives, collectors should treat the artworks with more respects instead of taking an artworks as an item. As being an artist, I would be very much thankful to the collectors who cherish my artworks just like how I do to my artworks.

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How would you describe yourself? And your artwork?

Both me and my artworks are grotesque but serene.

Honestly I am such a timid, shy and introverted person, and facing a crowd would scare out of my wits (but you can’t tell I am such a person when you literally look at me.)

My artworks is my solace when I feel insecure about my ability, my artworks bring me the sense of accomplishment. My artworks as the platform will help me communicate with the world of temptations or the world of sensual pleasures and vanity.

What drives you?

I very often amalgamate multiple references as materiality is a crucial facet to my works. Sometimes choosing certain materials is periodically correlated with personal preferences, but I have been attempting to eliminate such personal instinct, rather than consider certain metaphors hidden in the materials which are chosen.

My works are like a chaotic consolidation in which leather or fur (which MUST be the vintage, antique or something expired) are the symbols of both ‘indulgence’ and the ‘existence between life and death’, showing the inevitable relationship between obsessions and humanity with my grotesque iconography of babies.

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What is your definition of art?

Every single time I have such a soar feeling when I heard someone’s saying that:

“ something is ‘cool’ so it is ‘art’, or ‘someone’ is ‘cool’ so the person is an ‘artist.”; I am completely irked by hearing these statements.

‘The definition of art’ depends. For me, my definition of art is the dialogue between my aesthetics, symbolism and the latent meaning. The postulate in my works is that painting, sculpture, photography are the same manifestation. All my works are identifiable in the ambiguous depiction of concrete dimensions, and such ambiguities could be conveyed into a variety of compositions and motifs.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I am very often inspired by the iconography, and I have the predilection for baby figures such as the Putto in Italy. Since I am a Buddhist and I do believe reincarnation, interestingly I take ‘baby’ as an ambiguous creature in between life and death in a series of movements in my artworks. However, I would not reckon that my works are particularly religious even though I arrange various repetitive motifs as the symbolisation of the idea of reincarnation.

Generally speaking I would say that I am obsessed with the subject matter about the darkest humanities and the fetish including the existence in between life and death, and I have been trying to convey such ideas into the cute motifs with grotesque figures which are ‘sugar-coated’. My idea of every single fact, unacceptable or cruel, being ‘sugar-coated’ is very often arranged in both my paintings, sculptures or the reason of choosing certain materials and references.

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I know my artwork is finished when…?

In the past, I overly relied on the ‘instincts’. I might be waiting for inspirations coming to me; this is because, in my paintings, I was seeking the sense of being loved, namely intimacy and romance which couldn’t be achieved in the reality; it was difficult to tell people a practical reason why I reckoned a work was finished since it would be associated with unconscious choices.

Now I often compel myself to follow the schedule, even though sometimes I would be sitting in front of my works, wondering something else or doodling; the first brush very often is done by instincts though. I am struggling not to absolve all of my mind. I did not ‘intentionally design’ anything in my artworks; I would say my works are accomplished within the process of accomplishing the icon which could be easily told by a grotesque figure with two red cheeks. It has the ability to record my vague human, and for me it is the most immediate way of expressing myself; in the meantime, I tend to understand my current state of mentalities so that I could think of the subject matter and equitable arrangements into the artworks in a logical way with my instinct as well as aesthetics.

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Can you tell us what you have going on right now?

I will compel myself to leave the comfort zone and intentionally organise the intense schedule to myself.

For example, I graduated from Slade School of Fine Art, University College London with my BA Fine Art Degree in 2018, and I am talking a gap year doing the intense residencies also breaking the block in my artworks. The intensive plans during my gap year, especially the summer time in Japan, for me is just starting to warm up as I am going back to London in September to do my MA Painting at Royal College of Art.

I am fairly clear about the direction of my artist career, and I am certainly gain in confidence over the hectic schedule; I even uncover myself relish giving an artist talk during these intensive plans! I am looking forward to thought-provoking subject matter or new mediums. Artworks themselves are still the most compelling facet to my artist’s career. I reckon that being experimental toward mediums could help confront the limit of the perception as being an artist.