From Wearable Art to Textile Waves, NYC-based Visual Artist Ami Park

Ami Park, born in Seoul, Korea, is a visual artist based in Queens, NY. She mainly works with textiles embracing irregular and infinitely variable natural forms driven by deep scientific and spiritual curiosity. Park’s upcoming show includes the AIM Biennial at the Bronx Museum in 2024. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at Ethan Cohen Kube, Chashama, New York Live Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, SVA Flatiron Gallery, Project V Gallery, and The Royal Society Of American Art in NY; The Holy Art Gallery in London; Gallerie Dièse in Paris; CICA Museum in Korea, among others. Her wearable art contributed to a multidisciplinary project Beauteous, MoMA poprally x The Bronx, at Andrew Freedman Home(2019). Park has been awarded fellowships and grants by The Bronx Museum(2023), New York Foundation for the Arts(2022), Cerf Plus(2023), and The Puffin Foundation(2021). She completed her residency at Uncool Artist and Interdisciplinary Practices in Bio Art at the School of Visual Arts. Her work was featured in Fiber Art Now, Kaltblut, Jute, Huf, and iMUTE, to name a few. She holds a BFA in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design.

Satellite, 2019-2020. Yarn, embroidery thread on linen fabric. 50×66 in

We’d love to hear how the journey has been so far, Ami. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Ami Park. I was born and raised in Seoul, Korea. I was going to Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul for Art and Crafts major. But then I followed my heart to study fashion design, so I moved to NYC in 2011 to go to Parsons School of Design. After graduating, I was a fashion designer with a wearable art collection, “Mold,” exposed by numerous press and exhibitions. And I finally came around to contemporary art with such a background to extend my imagination beyond clothing. I’m currently based in Queens, NY, mainly working with textiles and painting.

Bountiful Edges(left), 2022. Yarn, cotton rope, fabric and acrylic. Approx 5×7.6ft

What brings you to art? What ideas are you exploring in your creative practice? 

I’m fascinated by the universe, how everything works, and how they correlate. I approach my work through science and spirituality, investigating the measurable and immeasurable. 

We can see the world because of light waves. We hear the world because of sound waves. Likewise, I’m obsessed with the vibrations of objects, minds, and even emotions. I use waves of thread and fabric to visualize the natural movement to understand this wavy world that interconnects thoughts, emotions, relationships, and nature.

Blooming, 2021. Cotton rope, yarn, and fabric on cotton canvas. 48x36x1.7 in

Is there a topic or theme that you are currently addressing?

I was exploring more of an internal process of finding self and healing throughout the pandemic time. Now, expanded from there, I’m interested in seeing the self located in relationships. As I was born and raised in South Korea and then started my adulthood in the U.S., I faced the cultural conflicts between originating and immigration and still deal with acculturation. Such migrating experience serves as the lens of the subject I want to bring out to the world. 

Lips, 2020. Yarn, cotton rope, fabric, and acrylic on canvas. 11x14x1.7 in

What is the most exciting project you have been working on recently?

I’m working on a few new projects. And the one I want to share is called the Sweet Spot series, which is to promote a positive self-image without societal norms, celebrating individuality and self-expression. I have been asking my friends about their sweet spots- a part of the body they most adore, which doesn’t have to be the so-called sexual part and have conversations about how their upbringing affected their ideas about body image. They share photos of their body part if they feel comfortable, and I start to make textile works inspired by them. I’m thinking of making installations with the pictures too. I hope to meet more people to talk to regardless of gender, sex, and race for this project so I can establish a cultural and social dialogue, promoting the values of a collaborative space between artists and viewers from different backgrounds.

Sweet Spot Series #1, 2022-23. Cotton rope, yarn, fabric, and acrylic on canvas. 12×13.5×1.7 in

What does “community” mean to you? Has your local community inspired you as a creative?

I think to artists, the community is almost everything. When I began my art career, knowing where and how to start was hard as a non-art graduate. At that point, I was lucky to be in a local community, and gaining resources and meeting mentors was incredibly beneficial. The colleagues I met at that time are now like family who dearly care for each other. We hang out, have picnics, go to each other’s show openings, share opportunities, and are there for each other. Being an artist can be very difficult with unpredictability and heavy competition. In such circumstances, it means a lot to be in the right communities where I can share my ups and downs because artists can genuinely understand what artists go through.

We All Have a Thirst For Connection, 2021. Cotton rope, yarn, and fabric on canvas. 36x36x1.7 in

Do you have any advice you would like to share with others?

Don’t compare your process to others’ results. Be grateful for what you have now and how far you have come. Be happy for those who have what you want. Don’t overthink and just do it. Remember why you chose to start this career. And finally, be kind to yourself! These are advice that applies to me too. I know it’s easier said than done, but I try to remind myself of these whenever I feel anxious or achieve something to keep myself going on this lifelong journey.

Growing Field, 2022. Fabric, Physarum polycephalum (slime mold), agar, oats, embroidery thread. Approx 50×70 in each

text & photo courtesy of Ami Park

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