About the Work
Windows usually serve as a transparent passage into another realm, but for artist NANAN the window provides a dynamic canvas for her art. By drawing attention to the threshold between interior and exterior, she creates semi-public art and reconciles the viewer's crossing into the next world. Her painted windows are an inter-dimension that is ever-conscious of how the natural world affects our manmade world. Other times, she draws a tableau in which the viewer can insert their face into the scene and the window becomes interactive. Inspired by the open-ended possibilities of New York City, Korean artist Nanan decided to bless the city with “window paintings” around the neighborhoods of Downtown. Using a paint pen, she creates fanciful landscapes strictly from memory. Much like the art nouveau works at the turn of the last century, her paintings echo a romantic sensibility and optimism of a new era, whilst addressing the constant flux and evanescence of time. Rather than painting a mural that is an expression of the moment of completion, her works recognize how time will affect its appearance. Her method is to paint a few hours over a period of several days. By letting the painting rest overnight, she allows nature to have a voice in her composition: sunbeams creating reflection in the glass and morphing shadows on the floor. “Like charging a mobile phone. I need to charge my self with new ideas?or inspiration that will grow my artistic vision,” the artist says of her process.
She has the acute awareness of the environment similar to installationist or a street artist, the freehand skills of a tattoo artist, and the sense of humor of a cartoonist. Windows are NANAN’s way of communicating: a connection between herself and the world, herself and god, the viewer to their self, and nature to humanity. In elevating the humble functionality of these semi-transparent openings, her paintings are a modern interpretation of the stained glass windows of the great churches and cathedrals. Her spiritual love for humans and nature can be seen in the gentle curvilinear designs, as well as her incorporation of the surrounding environment into her composition.
NANAN - whose self - coined name is a play on the word Korean word for Me “Na” - was born in Mun Kyung, Korea in 1979 and has resided in Seoul since she was young. She studied Creative Advertising at Seoul Institute of the Arts. At the fresh age of 22, she was recruited by LG electronics to art direct their youth magazine Khai where she developed her skills over a four-year tenure, and managed to also build an enormous fan base. Her popularity as an artist and her creative methods drew the attention of RESfest Korea, who commissioned her to create special artwork in conjunction with the screening of a documentary about her art. She’s also created custom designs for MTV, Samsung, Papertainer Museum, Adidas, and appliance company Dim Chae. Her artwork has been featured in several Korean publications such as Vogue, Bazaar, and Elle Girl. The concept of window painting dawned upon her after waking up one morning at a friend’s apartment to discover that the light shining through her late-night painting on a window created a divine piece of art. She decided to spread this glory by painting the windows of all the great cities of the world. NANAN is also working on a series of indoor window paintings that can be hung inside as a more personal piece of art.