Anna Park is only in her mid-20s, but she’s taking the art world by storm. Musicians and filmmakers alike love her grayscale mixed-media pieces.
With an eye for the strange and familiar, this young artist captures the frenzy and confusion of 21st-century life. But Park didn’t always feel plugged into the outer world. In fact, she’s felt like an outcast for much of her life. But this feeling also gave her an advantage: a completely unique artistic perspective.
Join us as we discover how this artist channels life’s chaotic energy through her artwork.
Let’s check it out!
The Story of Anna Park
Anna Park was born in Daegu, South Korea, in 1996. She spent her early childhood there before her family moved to suburban Utah. The artist frequently felt out of place due to the lack of diversity. As an outsider looking in, she became a keen observer of people.
The artist eventually moved to New York City to attend college. She spent two years at the Pratt Institute before enrolling at the New York Academy of Art. Her career accelerated after KAWS, the artist-toymaker, saw her work at a university event. Since then, Anna Park has been featured in multiple exhibitions and even designed posters for a major film.
What Does Anna Park Find Inspiring?
Anna Park finds inspiration in the chaos of everyday life. Many of her pieces reflect the energy and speed of life in a big city. Park says in an interview that she felt overstimulated when she moved to New York and “had to put the energy somewhere.”
The artist also looks through Google Images for creative motivation. Just like big cities, the Internet provides countless rabbit holes of stimuli. These images inevitably make their way into Park’s work.
While staying home in 2020, Park’s work took a new direction: florals. She says drawing flowers gave her peace in a year when few social outings occurred. In addition, these less-frenzied subjects provided a welcome opportunity to be mindful and sit with her art.
Does Anna Park Use Different Mediums?
Park works in a few different mediums. Her tools of choice have changed throughout her career. As a result, Anna’s style and subject matter have also evolved.
The artist’s early work was primarily on canvas. Park used a combination of pencil, graphite, and charcoal in her drawings. These early pieces were figurative and quite realistic. Many of them were portraits or pictures of single subjects.
As her career progressed, Park expanded her use of mediums. She now works on paper in addition to canvas. While she still draws, her recent pieces also incorporate ink and acrylic paint. Her style continues to evolve and moves between figurative and surreal representations of people.
Emotive Pieces by Anna Park
Park’s art doesn’t just capture the mayhem and madness of the outside world. The artist is also interested in emotional and inner chaos. Her work focuses on the relationship between these spheres of life.
Let’s dig into a few of her stunning pieces.
Anna Park completed this charcoal drawing on paper in 2021. It was included in her solo exhibition Pluck Me Tender, which debuted at New York City’s Half Gallery. It’s a striking whirlwind of shapes and grayscale shades.
From a distance, the drawing looks like it could be an explosion. But when you look closely, different elements begin to appear. Faces hide in the margins of the canvas, along with random objects like teacups, paper fans, and arrows. Taken as a whole, these disparate parts begin to tell a strange story.
First Marriage is another charcoal drawing on paper. It depicts a newly-married couple cutting their wedding cake. The drawing is a bit more focused than Intermission, but there’s some controlled chaos here too.
The bride’s bouquet–a tornado of gray shapes–balances between the newlyweds’ hands as they hold the knife together. The cake itself is a swirl of frosting and pieces of fruit. A pair of strangely-lit balloons float in the corner of the frame. The drawing emotes the time-blur of a wedding day, but there are foreboding undertones as well.
Glass Ceiling is a slightly earlier piece than First Marriage or Intermission. Anna Park completed this charcoal drawing on paper in 2019. It was included in a group exhibit, Drawn Together Again, which debuted at New York’s FLAG Art Foundation.
The drawing features several shadowy male figures and a woman in stark white. It’s unclear whether the woman is falling or jumping, but she’s suspended mid-air. Abstract female images are visible in a glass box above the crowd.
The scene looks like it could be a blurry black-and-white photo taken in a club. But the surreal image might just as easily be from a fever dream.
Where Can I See Some of Anna Park’s Art?
Unless you’re in New York or visiting the city soon, you’re unlikely to see Anna Park’s work in person. But her website and Instagram are excellent places to view her art.
Anna’s website features several drawings and mixed-media works along with dimensions, media used, and titles. They’re organized by year for easy viewing. This is an excellent way to get a feel for how drastically Park’s work has evolved over time.
The artist also updates her Instagram page frequently. Although she doesn’t share many works in progress, she uploads finished pieces with close-ups. It’s a great way to absorb all of the energy and detail in her artwork.
Anna Park’s Album Art for Billie Eilish
This young artist’s career took another exciting turn in early 2022. Park’s Intermission was used as the artwork for a limited-edition release of Billie Eilish’s album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Interscope Records coordinated with 43 artists to reimagine the artwork for 50 of its most-beloved albums. These prized records weren’t cheap: each cost $2,500 and came in a box made by Gucci.
The vinyl release followed a group exhibit of the featured artists at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in early 2022. Despite the high price tags for the records, the project was for a good cause. All proceeds benefited the Iovine and Young Foundation and their mission to build a school in South Los Angeles.
Channeling Chaotic Energy
At first glance, Anna Park’s art can feel overwhelming. Actually, it’s supposed to! But when viewers sit with her detailed drawings, a controlled feeling begins to emerge. Though these pieces channel the chaotic energy of life, they also capture quiet moments and emotions.
What’s your favorite piece by Anna Park? Tell us in the comments below.
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