Jesse Olwen is an interdisciplinary visual artist based in South Korea, whose talents span across painting, drawing, sculpture, and more recently tattoo art. Recently awarded 5th place in this year’s International emerging Artist Award Golden 10 Section, the artist has quite an amazing background, having worked for nearly a decade as a glass artist and in 2011 completing a 7700km bike tour across Canada.
Jesse aims to create art accessible for the large public, which can be admired both in the gallery, but also outdoors. Most of his recent work features acrylic paintings on wood which he then installs outdoors, in unexpected locations. Here’s how the artist explains the concept and motivation behind his graffiti-like art:
My intention is to create versatile artwork that can function on the crisp white gallery wall as much as the alleyway behind it. I am fascinated with tag-culture and I appreciate fine art; I’ve got a pencil to the ground drawing a line between the two and am trying to walk carefully upon it. I cut graffiti-like shapes from wood and paint imagery of what I conservatively consider to be precious, delicate or valuable to most people like flowers, diamonds and cute kittens – an attempt to contrast the grit, risk and adrenaline of graffiti/tagging.
I aim for kitsch, but I find melting the two worlds often creates pleasant results. Placing the work outdoors brings a new light to the pieces and opens a door to accidental viewers who may not be regular gallery-goers. Ultimately I believe art should be for everyone and that we should try to open ourselves to discovering beauty in unexpected places.
The artist’s recent work features a stained glass phone booth piece, made from acetate and paper, as he works now as an elementary school teacher. The artist is constantly producing new work. Check out a selection of his most recent pieces below.
Photo credit: Jesse Olwen
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