Jinwon Chang is a Korean artist who studied Korean traditional painting in South Korea and moved to New York in 2004. Currently based in New York, Jinwon Chang focuses on life and God in his pieces and uses art to grasp the concepts of invisibility and the spiritual world. He uses art as a tool to overcome his confusion on things he cannot see, and as a starting point for understanding and telling the stories of his personal struggles and triumphs in regards to his faith. Jinwon Chang continues his pursuit of ultimate truth, he creates all of his pieces with the underlying idea that his works are not his own, but rather pieces of truth that are translated through his being. In this way, he views himself more as a vessel than the creator and believes that art is one of the most effective methods of sharing eternal truth with others. For Chang, art is just as much a matter of listening and suppressing as it is a matter of speaking and self-expressing.
Chang learned in his native traditions and practices of Korean painting, his materials of choice were Sumi ink and Japanese pigments (“Bunchae”) on Hanji paper. In 2004, Chang moved to New York where he immersed himself in a new freedom found in painting. Departing from the Korean traditional brush techniques, Chang began to use a roller and squeegee with acrylic and charcoal for the following three years. Afterwards, he reincorporated the Korean tradition into his new contemporary abstract process of using the brush with sumi ink, acrylic, metallic paint, charcoal, and pigment pen on Hanji paper. Chang’s work has traveled internationally and is currently part of the Venice Art Biennale 2022 in partnership with San Clemente Kempinski Palace, Venice, Italy.
Jinwon Chang has had several solo exhibitions across the United States such as Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, Saginaw County MI, McGregor Memorial Conference Center in Wayne State University, Detroit, MI and the Dennos Museum Center, Traverse City, MI. Chang's work has been included in group exhibitions that include “Infinite Grace 2", Alpine Mansion, NJ and "Dismantle The Core", Elaine L Jacob Gallery Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. His work is part of collections internationally from Archegos Capital in NY to Wiesbaden City Hall, Germany and Gwangju City Museum in Korea.


Thank you Jinwon for your time! For our first question, I would like to know what is ART to you?
To me, art is an act of revealing the beauty of the Truth that God has breathed into the world at the Creation of the universe and helping people experience that beauty.

Since when did you think about becoming an artist and what motivated you?
I started to learn how to paint in high school in an art club. Looking back, rather than having a strong motif for art, everything happened like a destiny. The first time I thought about becoming an artist more seriously was in 2005 when I moved to the U.S. for grad school. I used art for dispelling the negativity that weighed down on me by disclosing past wounds. For the first time, I found joy doing art as my heart was being healed through art. The second momentum towards becoming an artist came in 2008 when I was converted into Christianity. At this time, I realized that an artist’s job is to find the spiritual beauty that the Creator had hidden in the world and reveal it to the people. I think these are my reasons and motivations for why I am living as an artist.

It sounds like God was guiding you step by step to bring you to where you are as an artist this day. Then, what would you say motivates you today to move forward as an artist?
My motivation as an artist lies in my relationship with God. If God does not allow His light to be shone in my work, my work is like an empty shell. It is like us - incapable of doing anything without God’s grace because of our sins. In the same way, God’s grace is essential for my life and my artwork.

So, the center of your life as an artist is God. He guides you, motivates you, and empowers you. You shared briefly earlier, but what has been the happiest moment and the challenging moment living as an artist?
The happiest moment as an artist is when I discover an indescribable beauty in the completed artwork. Such joy is incomparable to the happiness I feel when finishing an exhibition, receiving an award, or hearing a good assessment of my work. The most challenging moment is when I search for something enlightening in the dark shadows of my sinfulness. In such moments, unknown fear accompanies me.