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artisignner Tommy Seo


artist + designer + planner = artisignner! Majoring in both Fine art(Hongik University Seoul, BFA) & Design(Kingston University London, MA) and working as a planner(Daekyo Culture Foundation, Seoul), I have never felt that I was experiencing three different fields. In every art exhibition or fair I have participated in I have tried hard to combine the three together in my works. Fundamentally, Art, Design and Planning are one. When describing me as an ‘Artist’, a ‘Designer’ or a 'Planner', I have always felt that individually, they lacked something to truly describe what kind of person I am. Therefore, I decided to combine Art, Design and Planning in not only my works but also in my title, coming up with ‘artisignner’. This new title completely describes the person I am. However, I would have to make a continuous effort to convince the audience of this term by amalgamating it with the works I create the best I can.


Tommy Seo

artisignner CEO/ Executive Creative Director PERSONAL DETAILS Nationality

South Korea

Mobile number

+82-10-9246-7730

E-mail address

artisignner@gmail.com

EDUCATION 2014. 10

KINGSTON UNIVERSITY LONDON, UK MA DESIGN: PRODUCT + SPACE (Scholarship)

artisignner.com

2009. 02

HONGIK UNIVERSITY, Seoul, Korea

DIPLOMA IN ORIENTAL PAINTING, WOOD WORKING & FURNITURE DESIGN

ART & DESIGN CAREER/ ACTIVITIES 2018. 05

3rd Solo Exhibition (The Protagonist’s Room) at The gallery D

2017. 10

Art works on TV programme appearance, Beauty Battle Show3 in Korea

2017. 03

Installation in the Seoul Arts Centre, Korea

www.facebook.com/seotommy

2016. 12

BlancBleu Hotel Art Fair, Grand Ambassador Hotel in Seoul

2016. 11

Spoon Art Show, KINTEX

kr.linkedin.com/in/seotommy

2016. 09-12 Art works on TV programme appearance, Beauty Battle Show2 in Korea

instagram.com/seo_tommy

2016. 08

Asia Hotel Art Fair Seoul 2016, JW Marriott Hotel

2015. 12

Home Table Deco Fair, Seoul

2015. 01

Installation in the National Theatre, UK

2014. 12

SELECT, Miami Art Fair 2014

2014. 09

TENT London, London Design Festival 2014

2014. 09

Designersblock, London Design Festival 2014

2014. 08

Korea Chronicles exhibition at Korean Cultural Centre in London

2012. 03

Verge Art Brooklyn 2012 in New York

2011. 08

2nd Solo Exhibition (Visual Frame Story) at Gallery M and Gallery Mayjune

2011–13

Artwork (Illusion chair) listed in High School Art Textbook. Chunjae Publishing Co.: Korea

2010–13

Artwork (Illusion chair) listed in Middle School Art Textbook. Kyohak Publishing Co.: Korea

2009. 08

1st Solo Exhibition (Beauty & Honesty) at Gallery M

2008. 08

International Furniture Design Fair at KINTEX (Korea International Exhibition Center)

2007. 03

Seoul Design Living Fair at COEX (Convention & Exhibition Center in Seoul)


#The Protagonist in My Life

Whether we look at others with our own eyes or through the lens of social media, we cannot help but compare our lives to theirs. We get hurt, lower our self-esteem and life becomes increasingly difficult. They’re better than me, richer than me, smarter than me, more Powerful than me. To that we say, give yourself the attention you give unto others and console yourself from any suffering you endure from comparing your life to theirs. I am OK. I am doing well enough. I am thankful to myself. Happiness comes not from overcoming misfortunes but from social comparison. “Life is the stage upon which you are the protagonist� You will find that in my compositions, you will continue to be the protagonist.


#dressing room mirror There are light bulbs installed in my compositions to induce a sense of drama and theatre which will evoke the audience in feeling like the protagonist in my artwork. I wanted to send the message that we are all the protagonist of our own lives and have the right to live a full and happy life. I hope anyone who sees my works can feel this and live a life with a happy ending.

The Protagonist in My Life 2-3 / 62 X 77(h) cm / mixed media on Korean Paper


Tommy’s Mirrors and Tables “Lots of our actors have said how beautiful Tommy’s mirrors and tables are. Often things backstage, which are not seen by the audience, are plain and functional. It’s lovely to have such attractive things to work alongside.” Eric Lumsden National Theatre Head of Stage Manager

“I think Tommy is an extremely talented young man and I am looking forward to seeing more of his work.” Everardo Miranda Noël Coward Theatre Manager

“Tommy’s dressing mirrors are very beautiful and I wish him every success.” Actress, Caroline Carver “His innovative, elegant and illuminating mirror was a good fit for our customer fitting room for our bespoke tailoring house at number 10 Savile Row.” Cass Stainton Dege & Skinner

The dressing room is a communal space for and home to great performers of the arts and to have transformed what were just functional mirrors into a piece of art, fitting with the meaning of the room - I was very impressed by Tommy’s creativity Woo Je Yang Seoul Arts Centre Manager


#mirror I install mirrors in my works which makes the whole composition unique to the observer as they become the centre of it. Even when the observer stays the same, the artwork will look different over time as we inevitably age and experience life. At no single moment in time will the artwork be alike another, and may only be considered complete with an observer at its heart. It is not “I think, therefore I am” but “I see this work, therefore I am complete”. Like a stage does not exist without its protagonist, there is no meaning to life without your existence. I hope to convey this message through the mirrors I incorporate in my works.


#harmony My art is visual; I create works to show it to people. It is often the case that paintings are simply hung on a backdrop of plain white-washed walls. I want to ensure that the concept behind my artwork allow effective communicate between the art itself and where the art is displayed. When working on my art, I emphasise the fact that a painting can be considered complete as a piece of visual art only if it harmonises with its surrounding space. Therefore, I use a lot of material used in interior design to form an intersection between the artwork and its displayed space.


#Breaking the Frame Breaking out of familiarity is difficult: waking up early, exercising an hour a day, eating less. Routines end up shaping us but imprisoning us from trying something new. I wanted to break out of my frame of habits, stubbornness and fixations. This is what my broken frames signify.

Empathy20F Gr 70 X 83(h) cm / mixed media on Korean Paper

Empathy20F Re 70 X 83(h) cm / mixed media on Korean Paper

Empathy20F Vi 70 X 83(h) cm / mixed media on Korean Paper


#Breaking the Frame Breaking out of familiarity is difficult: waking up early, exercising an hour a day, eating less. Routines end up shaping us but imprisoning us from trying something new. I wanted to break out of my frame of habits, stubbornness and fixations. This is what my broken frames signify.

Empathy30F Blu 82 X 101(h) cm / mixed media on Korean Paper

Empathy30F Gr 82 X 101(h) cm / mixed media on Korean Paper


#Butterfly and Bamboo We usually call a straightforward person ’upright’. However, a straightforward person is considered too stiff, too prim, too proper. On the other hand, someone who obsesses on what is beautiful is considered too dissolute, too lazy, too idle. These two things seem like two rabbits you lose if you chase both. In my work, the butterflies symbolise ‘beauty’ and the bamboo represent ‘uprightness’. Through the harmonious way the butterflies flutter through the field of bamboo, I wanted to show that ‘beauty’ and ‘uprightness’ can also work together in people.


Visual Frame Story80 / 145 X 1120(h)cm / mixed media on Korean paper


# Perspective The environment in which we are born and and grow up in shapes our values and paints the colours of our personality. We therefore look at the same object or phenomenon in our own way and interpret it differently to others. We are sometimes stubborn in our own views and interpretations, forcing them unto others. Although we may see things in one way, we must recognise and respect others’ ways of looking at things and this is what I have attempted to portray.

Perspective 50F White Wall / 101 X 127(h) cm / mixed media on Korean Paper


The DMZ Paradox My artwork focuses on decorative art due to my background in Oriental painting in Korea. Oriental painting generally consists of colourful inks so I highly enjoyed drawing with bold, vivid colours during this project, much like the Royal Court paintings dating back to the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897). I was influenced by one painting in particular; the decorative Irworobong-do screen that was placed behind the royal throne donning expensive, bright, vivid pigment and gilt. My artwork is a simple but finely crafted mirror art depicting a scene using the traditional techniques used in ‘Royal’ Korean landscapes. My landscape is contemporary, depicting the DMZ (demilitarized zone); a barrier created as part of the ceasefire following the fighting between North and South Korea from 195053. Ironically, this state of hostility and tension has created an important wildlife reserve for some of the world’s most endangered species as they are largely undisturbed by human intervention. Therefore, the DMZ has became an area well worth preserving and as an symbol of a divided Korea, depicting the DMZ is well suited to the modern traditional Korean landscape. In the Irworobond-do, the moon and the sun represents yin and yang, or male and female, however in my artwork, I have depicted two suns instead. I wanted to represent the two figures in the painting, North and South Korea, as one entity and not a divided and counteracting one in order to encourage the image of unity. The existence of two suns in the same sky also highlights the inexplicable nature of the division between the two nations. There is also a large, blue mountain block in-between the two suns to represent the physical divide between North and South Korea, much like the DMZ. However ultimately, the two suns on either side of the mountain represent my wish for a united nation under the same sun. My artwork aims to express the situation in contemporary Korea using designs from traditional Korean art. I install mirrors in my work which makes the whole composition unique to the observer as they become the centre of it. Even when the observer stays the same, the artwork will look different over time as we inevitably age and experience life. At no single moment in time will the artwork be alike another, and may only be considered complete with an observer at its heart. It is not “I think, therefore I am” but “I see this work, therefore I am complete”. Like a stage does not exist without its protagonist, there is no meaning to life without your existence. I hope to convey this message through the mirrors I incorporate in my work.


The DMZ Paradox / 248 X 172(h) cm / mixed media on Korean Paper


#Becoming the protagonist in my life

As I have been studying and creating art throughout my career, I have always focused on how my work should be portrayed to the public but never too much on what message I’d hope to convey. There have been instances where I would finish my work first before forcibly adding meaning to it. I placed my priorities on how I should create my next piece and failed to consider my identity as an artist, my beliefs and my values, as a basis of my work. We have learned the importance of appearance as children and as we become adults, we teach this to our young. That is why we place our interests in what job we would like to have but not what kind of person we would like to be, suppressing our potential and adjusting our talents within the rigid framework others have placed us in. Everyone has their own values. These values change depending on your environment, your skills, your interests and what you believe you can do. If these values are not suppressed, undercut and undermined by the existing bourgeoisie, the individual actions and choices that are made with these values can become something special. This is how new jobs are created. My project starts here. I have seen the worst of what a materialistic life can lead to and the monsters it creates. So my project, “The Protagonist in My Life”, was born to encourage a more values-orientated life.I wanted to convey this message in the ways I know best to express myself, and break free of the usual framework of considering the specific styles and materials I’d use. Do not forget, we are all the protagonists in our lives. And I need you to be the protagonist in my work for it to be complete. So come, be the protagonist as you become part of the art. Thank you. artisignner Tommy Seo


Contact Us Miami Agent: Dana Shin 305-783-6870

Published Date : 01 November 2018 Publisher : Tommy Seo +82 10-9246-7730 artisignner@gmail.com Photograph: Kim Kwon Jin Design: Cho Neul Hae Bristish Partner: Min Hyuk Seo No part of the contents of this catalogue including essays and photos may be reproduced without the written permission of Tommy Seo. Copyright Š 2018 by Tommy Seo, All right reserved.

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artisignner Tommy Seo  
artisignner Tommy Seo  
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