We had the good fortune of connecting with Sophia Hyun and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sophia, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
My favorite affirmation comes from the S.H.A.P.E. program at Saddleback Church: “I am not who I think I am, and I am not who you think I am. But I really am who God says I am!” S.H.A.P.E stands for Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences. This program inspired me to create my first abstract painting, titled “My Identity,” for a group exhibit at the Saddleback Church Art Gallery three summers ago. In the S.H.A.P.E. class, I discovered God’s purpose for my life, including my gifts and talents. The class helped me understand that I was created with a purpose on this earth and that I must share with others the gifts and talents God gave me, while giving Him the glory. S.H.A.P.E. opened my eyes to a new perspective and a specific reason to integrate art creation into my life. I love this affirmation because it fulfills my longing for completeness in life, and it explains why certain things – both positive and negative – have happened over the course of my lifetime. I often meditate on this affirmation, and most of the time, I find in it the completion I am looking for.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a working artist in the U.S. My abstract works have been exhibited internationally as well, and are held in private collections worldwide. Some of my artworks have been featured in British Vogue, Vanity Fair London, The World of Interiors, and local magazines in Los Angeles. I have found that my faith in God ignites my creative instincts more than anything else. I also feel inspired by traveling to distant lands and opening my mind to a deeper understanding of humanity and nature. My intense fascination with all facets of the human spiritual experience often finds expression in my art. In my former career as a designer, I developed an affinity for color, texture, and composition. My artistic technique involves a harmonious blending of forms and the integration of various materials to express the beauty of movement. Each painting represents deep thoughts and feelings that arise from my very own heart and soul. I wish to create a beautiful experience for each viewer that engages his or her inner world and inspires a unique personal interpretation of the meaning of each piece. This year has been very challenging because of the pandemic. Art Fairs, Biennale, and other exhibitions worldwide have been cancelled or postponed. Unfortunately, my exhibitions in Europe – which I was so excited about – have been postponed until next year too. Some of these events are being forced to shift to new online platforms which can be quite overwhelming for curators, gallerists, collectors, and artists. Everyone has to learn and adapt quickly to the new social forum. Members of the public miss interacting with each other and viewing the artworks in person. A big part of peoples’ enjoyment of art appreciation has been disrupted or lost. However, I believe this crisis has created many new opportunities for artists in other ways. Gallerists, curators, collectors, and publishers are discovering and reaching out to emerging artists through social media platforms worldwide, more than ever before. We are all going through a tremendously impactful learning process. Through all of these changes, I’m learning to be patient and stay focused. Anxiety and worry won’t avert the pandemic. I’m going to stay positive as I set my goals for next year and do my best to take care of myself and my loved ones in every way I can!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When the COVID-19 pandemic ends and my closest friends who are active and physically fit are able to visit me for a week-long trip, I will make sure they have the best time ever. This is the itinerary I’ve planned: DAY 1 – Laguna Beach: We’ll take a morning hike to the Top of the World by way of Car Wreck Trail, where an actual 1946 Dodge coupe is on display. Nobody knows how this antique car ended up in this mysterious location, because there is no road for cars to drive there. This energizing hike offers fantastic ocean and city views. Afterward we’ll have lunch at the Urth Café, and then take a stroll through the quaint and artsy town of Laguna Beach. We’ll visit fabulous world-renowned art galleries and shops, and we must have gelato from the much-loved Dolce Gelato shop. We’ll walk through Heisler Park to enjoy spectacular ocean views. Then we’ll drive south along the Pacific Coast Highway and stop by Victoria Beach to see the famous Pirates’ Tower and take some photos. We’ll continue driving south just a few minutes more to the sandy beach where Treasure Island Park is located. We’ll end our day with dinner at The Loft restaurant on the fourth floor of the elegant Montage Resort, or drive a few miles south to the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel to enjoy dinner while viewing a stunning, colorful sunset. DAY 2 – Getty Museum in Los Angeles, followed by a leisurely tour of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Next we’ll visit the famous Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Afterward, we’ll visit The Grove entertainment complex which includes the historic Grove Farmers Market. Dinner will be enjoyed at Kang Ho Dong Beakjeong, the authentic Korean barbecue restaurant in Koreatown of Los Angeles. The Griffith Observatory will be our last stop of the day where we’ll look at the stars through telescopes and enjoy spectacular views of the city of Los Angeles. Day 3 – Day Trip to Avalon Catalina Island: We’ll take tour with Ridgetop Eco Adventures to see the best views this beautiful island has to offer. We’ll rent a cabana, at the Descanso Beach Club, to relax and enjoy lunch there. For friends who like water sports, we can take a kayak tour or join a Snuba Diving (snorkel and scuba) adventure for our remaining time on the island, and then catch the last ferry ride back to Newport Beach. Dinner will be enjoyed at The Farmhouse restaurant inside the Roger’s Gardens of Newport Beach. Day 4 – Hollywood Walk of Fame, TLC Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theater. Then we’ll drive to downtown Los Angeles, making a quick stop at The Last Bookstore. We’ll make sure to visit The Broad modern art museum as well as the very famous Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). We’ll stop by the Disney Concert Hall, the Los Angeles Music Center, and Grand Park, and then we’ll take a relaxing stroll through the Arts District of Los Angeles, not forgetting to visit Japan Town. For dinner we’ll go to the Takami Sushi & Robata. This restaurant offers excellent Japanese cuisine in an elegant ambiance with gorgeous panoramic views of Downtown Los Angeles. Day 5 – Getty Villa Museum in Malibu: My guests and I are going to love exploring this beautiful museum of Greek and Roman antiquities housed in a re-created Roman country home. Afterward we’ll enjoy lunch at Malibu Wine Safaris, which offers wine tastings, vineyard tours and viewing some exotic animals as well. After completing that experience, we’ll head over to the beautiful El Matador State Beach for spectacular views of the ocean and massive rock formations. Then we’ll drive down to the historic Santa Monica Pier, and on to the nearby Third Street Promenade shopping area to have dinner, hang out, and watch the entertaining street performers. Day 6 – Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino: At the Huntington Library, we will enjoy the many different types of botanical, herb, and floral gardens, the European and American art collections, and the museum’s extensive library collections of historical books, maps, photographs, and manuscripts. This experience will include high tea at the Rose Garden Tea Room where we’ll relax and enjoy some leisurely conversation. Day 7 – Pelican Hill Resort: On the final day of our adventure-packed week, we’ll unwind by spending the day at the Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach. First, we’ll play a nice round of golf, and then enjoy some much-needed spa time. To conclude our lovely, best-time-ever Southern California vacation, we’ll walk over to Andrea Ristorante (inside the resort) for a farewell dinner of upscale Italian food.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to shout-out the Saddleback Visual Arts (SVA) group, led by awesome artist and Pastor Jason Leith, and the wonderful community of artists at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest and Anaheim. I am an artist today because of the love, support, mentoring, influence, and encouragement of this group. I give special thanks to Pastor Jason Leith, Steven Homestead, Rachelle Chuang, Lesli Bonanni, Cathrine Titus, Jay Smith and Lesley Grainger for their leadership and mentorship. Additional shout-outs go to my dear artist friends and supporters Sonya Sheik, Jose Lozano, Barbara Riche, Margo Allsbrook, Sandhya Artique, David Bradshaw, Vojta Safranek, Laura Ochoa, Miya Smith, and Ana De Los Reyes. Last but not least, a big shout-out goes to my dear collectors in the United States and Europe. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of these people!
Facebook: Sophia Hyun