Eccentric, weird, black sheep, dark, emotional, firecracker are some of the words that people call me. I’m Korean American and struggled through identity my entire life. Ever since I could remember, I felt misplaced, unguided, and neglected. Being a daughter, a female meant nothing! Son’s are cherished and loved. That being said, I needed art, art became my therapist. Art was and is my escape. Due to my history, my life cannot proceed unless I create art.
My artwork is my therapy in searching for who I am. I use different types of mediums throughout my work because I cannot convey the frustration and chaotic representation with just one medium. I adore new mediums and fearlessly use them aggressively. My lines are defined and strong because that represents my personality. Even though the nose may be crooked or the eyes are too droopy, that to me is art. Making mistakes, discovering the flaw is key to my work.
Moving on to my new discovery, stencils. I use stencils to show the shadows of one face or light on one individual. Stencil is a vibrant way to show the colors in which I make myself with acrylic in a spray bottle. I enjoy the thickness and the layered effect on paper. By using a dryer, I am able to layer color on top of color to show gradation. The process of this method is very important. Texture is the main factor in my work. I show emotions through texture and color. My subject is the human figure, however, texture is what I study and strive for.
My subject is the human figure; I focus on the head and hands. It’s what I see everyday and everywhere. It fascinates me that everyone has different features. The society judges quickly and categorizes us into ugly and pretty within seconds. That flawless face with that perfect nose, doesn’t interest me but rather the different or unique looking actually captivates me. The fact that they are unique, makes me want to study them and paint them. When I look at anybody, the first thing I do is look at the structure of his or her face.
Moreover, I rarely enjoy drawing or painting the figure with a smile. To me, most smiles are not genuine, there’s always something their hiding. It is sadness, fear, regret, or anger; I want to feel their vulnerability; I want to know the truth. And that, to me, is an escape but also a resolution to live on.
Life is hard. Life is unpredictable. Life is full of surprises.
I have been depressed ever since I could remember. My depression took over my life. Being medicated and pretending to be happy was not the solution for me. I was raised in a family where feelings and problems do not matter. My father is an alcoholic and my mother treats me with underserving love. Though, everything seemed to be perfect on the outer appearance but inside the walls I was controlled and told how I felt. But the hardest thing in life for me was the fact that I was different and unwanted.
I was confused my whole life and those feelings were seen as disrespectful. Art helped me, and conquered my depression. I survived and even though I was told that I wouldn’t be able to be an artist because my drawing skills were inadequate.
It was difficult calling myself an artist. Do I show in galleries? How much money do I make? What defines an artist? How many followers do I have on twitter, instagram, and tumbler? How much talent do I have? How much skill? How much education? The society categorizes and judges artist so quickly and that is so discouraging.
I couldn’t change who I was. I wasn't encouraged for my individuality but rather ridiculed. How come I couldn’t be like others? How come I couldn’t blend in? How come I couldn’t be a daughter that they wanted me to be? These questions were always rambled in my head. I felt useless and dumb. Whenever I reminisce about my childhood it brings sadness, but surprisingly it made me stronger in who I am.
As I persevered and fought myself through the ridicule, criticism, and embarrassment, art to me, defined me and makes me whole. I don’t do it for the money. I do it for me. I do it for my sanity. Although, it would be nice to be acknowledged as a successful artist, but it is not my main goal. My main goal is to heal others and myself. To be able to touch individuals and capture the audience would bring light to my life.
-Art-Loft of the Florence Mill Omaha Nebraska 68112 $1,000 honorarium, 2008
-FIGURES: Monologue/Dialogue LH Horton Jr. Gallery Delta Center for the Art Stockton California 95207, 2010
The Painted Veil Bill Lowe Gallery Santa Monica, California 2007
-TARFEST Festival of Film, Music, and Art The Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles California 90024, 2007
-Under the Influence of the Hi-Desert The Red Arrow Gallery Joshua Tree California 92252, 2007
-The Blanche Ames National Juried Art Exhibition North Easton, Massachusetts 02067, 2007
-Knobturnal Mountain Bar: Los Angeles California 90012, 2006
-Different Stroke SCURR Los Angeles Conference: Los Angeles California 90041, 2006
-Cross Culture CSU Fullerton Exit Gallery Fullerton California 92634, 2006
-A New Beginning Cerritos College Art Gallery: Norwalk California 90650, 2004
-News Press, Nebraska City Nebrasks, 2008 Pg.B2
- Korea Times, Los Angeles California, October 1, 2007
-HWY 62 Joshua Tree California, 2007
-Hi -Desert Star Joshua Tree CA Wednesday, 2007
Titled: Night Painter: Sariah Ha
-TARFEST Festival of Art Los Angeles California, 2007
-Hi-Desert Star Joshua Tree California, 2007
-Edenfred Residency Madison, Wisconsin 53705, 2009
Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts Nebraska City, Nebraska 68418 Studio/Grant $600, 2007-2008
-Joshua Tree Highlands Joshua Tree, California 90291, 2007
- Connor Meigs Award $1,000 Honorarium, July 2008
- Kimmel Harding Nelson for the Arts Award Grant $600, January, 2008
- California State University Fullerton Founder and Leadership 2007
- Cerritos College Student of the Year Curricular Art Award 2003
- Department of Art and Design Scholarship John De Mott Award 2003
-California State University Fullerton Deans List 2004-2007 Phi Theta Kappa 2004-2007 Golden Key International Honour Society 2004-2007
-Cerritos College Phi Theta Kappa International Scholastic Order 2002-2004
-FIDM President’s Honor Roll 2000-2002
-California State University Fullerton Bachelors of Fine Art Drawing and Painting 2007
-Study Abroad Spain & Morocco 2006 Italy/Rome 2004
-Cerritos College A.A. Fine Art in Drawing and Painting 2004
-The Fashion Institute of Design Merchandising A.A. Marketing & Product Development 2002