defines the term Third Culture Kid as such: A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents' culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK's life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background. "I've always been on the outside looking in. I think that’s where the work comes from, " says artist Jim Meyerson. "It’s like being an accidental tourist. " Meyerson was born in Korea then adopted at the age of four by a Swedish couple from Minnesota, where he lived up until completing his Undergrad Degree at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He then finished his schooling at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he met gallerist Emmanuel Perrotin. “I met Emmanuel at a gay bar…no I’m just kidding,” Meyerson says with a laugh that throws him back into his chair. “Sorry I’m a bit of a smartass!” he quips. “I was working with a dealer in New York with whom Emmanuel did a gallery exchange. He was looking through the gallery archives, saw my work and asked ‘who’s that artist?’ Then he came to my studio and bought a painting from me for way too cheap. But I was obviously extremely, extremely flattered. Working with Perrotin eventually brought Meyerson to Paris where he spent just under five years on somewhat of an artist spirit quest, living within walking distance of The Louvre and the Musée D’Orsay, meeting fellow artists and travelling through Europe. “As someone who has spent half their life in the US, Europe is amazing,” enthuses the artist. “My friend Wim Delvoye lives in Ghent, a tiny city in Brussels with a population of maybe 100,000.
You go to the church in there and there’s Hubert van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece, one of the most important pieces in Western art, in this tiny place. You don’t see that anywhere in the States. It’s like going to your local bar and there’s a Michelangelo; it’s just so profound. We are in Meyerson's studio in Fo Tan, a large open space looking out to mountains and village houses within a rusty old industrial building. Before this, he was working out of a studio in Chai Wan he found through his friend, a studio director for controversial Chinese artist Ai WeiWei. “It became essential for me, when I moved here, to find a sanctuary,” he says. “If New York is a city that never sleeps, then Hong Kong is a city that never lets you rest.“ While he has hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar on play, I listen to him wax lyrical about the masters of fine art, the dawn of the Industrial Revolution and how Chaim Soutine “practically invented distortion”. As much as Meyerson is a mixed bag of cultures and influences, he’s also a mixed bag of interests and passions that takes no definitive form aside from that of the artist himself. It’s intriguing. “The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, which is one of my favourite museums in the world, has 10 Brueghels and four Raphaels – it’s amazing! Why would this tiny museum have all these incredible pieces?” he says in awe, as though he had only seen it for the first time yesterday. “When you love painting and you want to study it, you just can’t do it from books. You cant Wikipedia it. You have to go and see it. That was the most enriching thing about living in Paris; it made me grow in ways that I never could have if I hadn’t been able to stand in front of those paintings.” But as all good things must come to an end and after years of, in his own words, “living like a rock star”, it was time to hang up the cleats. Just as well, as he was invited by the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Korea to do a residency, which he accepted. “It
Published on Apr 17, 2013