Korean-born artist Nina Jun presently lives and works in Orange County, California, where she sculpts and designs installations. Nina earned a Master of Fine #Art in Sculpture from California State University Long Beach. In Nina’s hands, objects such as beach balls and mylar balloons become fine art. For the past twelve years she has used ceramics to make startlingly realistic—and heavy—portrayals of these traditionally very lightweight objects. Nina frequently exhibits her artwork at galleries and major art fairs and recently spoke about her experiences working in the field of art

Beginning 

Blasting News (BN): What provoked you to become an #Artist?

Nina Jun (NJ): I started my career as artist when I was in my late thirties.

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I came from Korea and ran a small business with my husband in Long Beach, California. When my daughter turned three I decided to go back to art school to put my artist dream. Working as an artist was my goal and allowed me to fulfill my American dream. I am now a full time artist.

BN: When you were staring out, what art inspired you?

NJ: When I was young, I was inspired by Van Gogh’s comment that he wanted his paintings to be hung in each room of working class mining families’ homes so that their dark homes could become bright and happy. During art school, I found that I liked building things with my hands and three-dimensional works interested me. I was impressed by Jeff Koons’ bronze boat and stainless steel balloon rabbit in its transformation of inflated objects into different materials.

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BN: How do you describe the essence of your work?

NJ: I find similarity in our life; transcendence, happiness and force to fight gravity. The resemblance of the pieces showing details of the real balloons could fool eyes of the viewers as if the real balloons. I like novels and movies that have twists at the end. I like visual arts that have flip sides and layers of messages. I hope to wake our perception through arts.

BN: How did you get your art recognized by galleries?

NJ: I realized you have to approach galleries. I participated in an art fair in Miami through a small gallery and handed out my brochures to the people attending other larger art fairs in the area. I got an email from an art historian from Germany who saw my brochure and recommended me to a prominent London gallery that introduced my arts to larger art fairs. 

BN: How would you say you developed your style?

NJ: I like to work forms from the common objects around me. One day I saw a mylar balloon fly in to the sky. I felt sad and at the same time it reminded me of my interest in stars and universe. To make ceramic mylar balloons, I developed making plaster molds.

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The colorful dots on my balloons represent stars and galaxies which are orderly and yet chaos in the infinite skies.

Future

BN: To date, what’s the best part of being an artist?

NJ: I produced an installation show using videos in collaboration with the involved participants for a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles who helps survivors of domestic violence. I was happy to see a photograph of my ceramic balloon hung in a children’s room, taken by my friend who randomly visited a condominium in Brentwood area of Los Angeles with her real estate agent in interest of buying a home. She readily recognized that it was the art work that I made. Like Van Gogh said, I want my balloons to brighten many homes and places.

BN: What advice can you give to budding artists?

NJ: It is important to know that you need to invest a lot of your time in practicing and devote your heart into searching for new ideas. Being an artist makes you a happier person because creating art pieces is a happy process.

BN: Are there any forthcoming events that you want to mention?

NJ: I will be exhibiting my ceramic balloons at the Korean International Fine Art Fair in Seoul, Korea, from October 12 to 16, 2016. I am currently exhibiting my works with Skidmore Contemporary Art Gallery in Santa Monica, California. #Interview