The Levi's series consists of paintings made of salvaged Levi's jeans, rescued from a rag warehouse in downtown Los Angeles about to be shipped off to China to be used as soundproofing insulation in car doors. In using salvaged Levi's, I am repurposing, recycling, reliving, resurrecting and giving these blue jeans a second life as a part of works of art. The Depression-era saying “Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Or do without!” applies.
To me Levi's denim is a beautiful medium to work with. I find it to be so strong, responsive, pliable, yielding, forgiving, flexible and adaptable. It is also honest, open, loose, resilient, cooperative, harmonious, and willing to "go with the flow," all qualities that make it a wonderful material with which to create works of art.
On a very personal level, Levi's jeans have always been close to my heart as it is the first pair of jeans my parents bought me when I came to America from South Korea as a nine year old. As a young girl finding herself in a foreign land, I had to develop and embody all the qualities that I described as belonging to Levi's. This explains why from the first day I wore a pair and continuing to the present day, Levi's resonates with my soul and serves as an inspiration to me as a human being and as an artist.
The paintings themselves are all created from cut up denim and composed on canvas in a collage-like fashion. Inspired by the earth's topography, it appears to viewers as topographic landscape seen from above. The strands of fabric further signify to me winding roads, rivers, watersheds, railroad tracks and other path-like passage ways, that metaphorically may stand for life's infinite journeys, rich with textured layers that weave and merge, in and out of each other and resolve themselves in a tapestry that contains feeling and meaning.
With this series, I want to celebrate earth and wilderness with the beauty of recycled Levi’s denim and Levi's history of encouraging self-expression.