Interview with Annette Hur

Could you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what kind of work you make?

I moved to Chicago two and a half years ago, and since then my work has been changed drastically towards abstraction. But I’m not trying to abstract something specific in reality. Every element -space, form, gesture, mark- is literally just what it is. I’ve been making work that has strong believability with narrative potential that lies between sincerity and casualness. I like awkwardness in poise. Or activity in calmness.

Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your works?

Besides all the great artists that I look at, my second greatest resource is the actual people around me; all sorts of people I have to deal with everyday: artists, non-artists, nice ones, and not-nice ones(haha). People always make things happen!


What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

My paint brushes, air brush, and canvas. Dreaming through painting with good music is also essential.


What types of obstacles have you run into in your artistic practice and how do you go about navigating around them?

There are always so-called ‘judgy’ voices all around. It is not a bad thing listening to them, but it sometimes puts me into a state of confusion, and then I start doubting my work too much. When that ‘oh my, I need to believe in myself’ time comes, I just shut myself(my work)down from outer voices for months and just make, make, and make until I feel ok. I think most artists do that.


What do you feel are the recurring themes in your visual work?  

It’s hard to say that my work has particular themes, but they usually have a pleasantly stimulating urban vibe and indication of landscape and figures. Possible suggestions for horizon line, trees, leaves, window frames, clouds, animals, but as I mentioned before, they are not composed to have anything like conventional space or narrative. They are reinterpretations of my collective memories and stories that became what they are. When I start a new painting, I usually collect my sketches, drawings including mark making, cut outs, and short writings to set myself up with a certain sensibility and a very rough plan; and from that, it’s all freedom and careful responses. I’m very into surprise(in the process of making) whether that’s good or bad.


What is the best piece of artistic advice you’ve been given?

You’re not making enough work.

See more of Annette's work in our current exhibition, Surfacing