Atypical Kid-Pick of the Week

Take your kids to see some new art @Irrelevant: Local Emerging Asian Artists Who Don’t Make Work About Being Asian
Opening Thursday, July 1st, from 6-8 pm @ Arario Gallery 521 West 25th Street, New York, New York; the show runs Jul 1 to Aug 6
Guest Spotlight: Hein Koh
Hein Koh is what she wanted to be when she grew up (an artist). [She also wanted to be a fashion designer, surgeon, teacher, psychologist, musician, and DJ.]
Each morning she bikes to her studio in Long Island City and begins her work by writing or sketching in a journal. "I don't paint until I feel like something is seizing me to do so," she says. That doesn't take long, but then again, she is one of the few New Yorkers who doesn't keep track of time. And one of the only ones who gives herself enough of it to do what she loves.
Hein's work is at turns childlike and futuristic, funny and dark, full of both raw energy and years of careful thought about what it means to be an artist, how to live purposefully, how to push yourself to the edge and still stay centered. In between painting, making jewelry with cancer patients and teaching art classes to kindergartners, Hein took the time to answer a few questions about her days, her art, and what advice she has for others.
What is a place that inspires you in NYC? I just found a new inspiring place the other day--the Hudson River by 69th street. There's a cafe and pier over there, and some grassy areas to sit on right by the river. The view of the sunset is incredible. The other day, I sat underneath a willow tree on the bank, and found it so rejuvenating. I had brought a book, but barely read it because I enjoyed being mesmerized by the water. I found it very relaxing and meditative.
How do you spend your evenings, after you leave the studio? If I'm not hanging out with friends or going to openings, then I usually have some work to do in the evenings--there's a lot of hustling involved in being an artist, trying to get studio visits, shows, applying for grants and residencies, updating my website, etc. So there is actually a lot of time spent on the computer! Also, Jim (my husband) and I have dinner together most nights, and we talk and goof around a lot. At the end of the night, I like to wind down by taking a bath and then reading in bed until I fall asleep. I also write in my journal a lot, not just in the evenings but throughout the day. It's just something I have to do to get things out of my system and clarify my thoughts, beliefs and values.
Any advice for young artists? DON'T BE AN ARTIST! Seriously, it's a hard life, and I wouldn't tell anyone to choose it. I don't feel like I chose it either, I just feel like it's something I have to do for my own sanity. At the same time, it can also drive me insane, so it's a Catch-22 that I'm living. If you really must be an artist, practical advice I would give is to find a job that you like, such as teaching, so that you're not feeling tortured and desperate as you wait for your "big break." In most cases, that "big break" is not going to happen and you have to expect a long and difficult road ahead of you. Take care of yourself by exercise and eating right--taking care of the body is essential for mental health, and as an artist you're going to need all of your mental reserves. Stay in touch with other artists because community is so important in the art world. Most of the things you will get will be through connections, and it's important to have a good group of friends to lend support and encouragement to one another. I could go on and on about this, but I'll stop here and say it's a singular experience for each artist, so you just have to figure out a way to make it work!
What is your favorite color? It's hard for me to pick a single color as my favorite, because I love all color too much, and it also depends on its specific use. I can say for clothes though, I like black, white and red, but I only like white in combination with black and/or red. I love that black goes with everything, and red because it is fiery and stands out. White goes with everything too, but I like the more dramatic effect of black paired with other colors. The funny thing is that while I used to paint in a lot of bright colors, lately I just paint in black and white, and occasionally red. So maybe I can say these are my favorite colors, overall.
Opening Thursday, July 1st, from 6-8 pm @ Arario Gallery 521 West 25th Street, New York, New York; the show runs Jul 1 to Aug 6


  1. I really enjoyed this piece, especially in Q & A format. Hein Koh's approach to life is endlessly inspiring. Thanks, Rachel!

  2. You guys are too much! :) Thanks!!!


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