Narrae Kang

How did you arrive at the Brookline Arts Center?
While spending most of the time drawing at my place, I wanted to have an opportunity to explore the new society and communicate with them by showing my works. I saw the open call of residency at the Brookline Arts Center, so I visited the community and the Center to see what it is like. As you can expect, I loved the cozy and beautiful atmosphere a lot, and I applied for the residency program right after.

Tell us about your background. How did you become interested in art?
Honestly, I don’t know how I became interested in art. It was just natural that I loved to draw at any time, and I guess it was because of my mom. She is an artistic person, and also I have many relatives who are artists. My mom was especially interested in the interior, and she did various real practices in our house. Whenever she did her projects, I was her best assistant when I was a kid. So I think this kind of environment always made being an artist one of my dreams. However, in a very competitive society in Korea, I didn’t think about going to an art school for some reason. The art teacher at my high school strongly recommended me to apply for art school, and I suddenly came up with my old hidden dream.

What passions do you bring to the BAC community?
I have spent most of my time in my place alone since I came to the U.S. about two and a half years ago, and it led me to appreciate surroundings and take them as my theme. It allowed me to love little things in everyday life. So I hope people who enjoy my work can also initiate their practice to rediscover their surroundings. Because the unnoticeable things around you, which were nevertheless always there, can be seen differently at any time. And it will give you valuable freshness and happiness.

What do you enjoy most about the BAC?
I worked on archiving found things of the Center during the residency. It can be objects, architectural elements, or any markings on the wall. For the archiving, I observed the inside and outside of the building and found various features. I really enjoyed the adventure of the Center. It is an old fire station building, so it is the combination of old and new, which made my work way more interesting. And I love that I have some connection between the elements and me by exploring and working on my project, and that I get personal meaning from them. Also, I was really pleased that I could share my adventure with the community and staff of BAC.

What was your favorite childhood art project?
I think I have two. The first one is the piece of my mom reading a book. When I was a kid, I loved to see a collection of famous paintings in the living room while mom was reading a book on a rocking chair that I also adored. I captured her since I thought that she was so pretty at the moment, and it became my favorite piece since I can recall the warmness again. The other one was for my diary. In Korea, kids usually have the assignment of a journal with drawings. Since I watched Disney’s The Little Mermaid with my family, a cousin, and aunt on that day, I decided to draw Ariel and Ursula for my diary. Unfortunately, it was too difficult for me to present the octopus villain, so my aunt helped me with it. But the Ursula she drew for me was too scary and seemed like it ruined my pretty Ariel drawing, so I cried a lot. When I looked it up again after I became a grown-up, I finally realized that my aunt was very talented in drawing.

Who are some of your art heroes?
Kyutae Lee (@kokooma_). His illustrations are so beautiful.
David Hockney. I love his drawings.

Narrae’s exhibition, Here, is on view at the Brookline Arts Center February 7-March 6, 2020.