Seonna Hong
Animus, 2005
Materials: book
Dimensions: 5" x 7"

Nothing has influenced me or my work quite like being a parent. It has challenged my studio practice and has provided relevance and vision. I learned to focus and produce when a window of time presented itself, and not necessarily when inspiration did. My editing skills sharpened as I didn't have as much time to indulge, obsess or doubt. My work was already inspired by the ephemera around children... toys, picture books, cartoons, dolls... and became more so when those purchases could be justified by the arrival of an actual child. It was then that my two worlds, as a parent and as an artist began to converge. I was already thinking about what I wanted to communicate with my work and, in a parallel way, what kinds of messages I was giving my child.

I was discovering how the messages we receive as children make an indelible imprint on us as adults. I saw how social and cultural propriety dictated "good" vs. "bad" behavior and how my own self esteem had been oriented toward praise and outside approval. I wanted to take all the things that messed me up as a kid and do something different with my own. Doesn't everyone?

"Animus" was a series of paintings for my first solo show in New York. I had culled a narrative from a difficult personal experience and when the opportunity to publish it into an actual book arose it seemed to make perfect sense. Working through some issues with "Animus", I had come to a resolve that as an adult, felt belated and awkward. In some way I wanted to spare my daughter, not from the challenges she would face in her life, but her own expectations of them. Through the medium of a picture book, I was able to relay a personal story that was universal in themes of rejection, miscommunication and fear and that I thought anyone, of any age, could relate to it.

Seonna Hong