My name is Helen Kwak and I am a first-year student at Parsons School of Design.


The idea of continuing my life as a creator fell into my hands my sophomore year of high school. I had no prior knowledge of art and trying to pursue something new was intimidating. The only skill I could take into this new interest was determination. I enrolled in art classes, finished my portfolio, and was accepted into the best art and design colleges in the nation. 

Ever since I was young, I lived in my own magical reality. I was taken with stories like Spirited Away and as I grew older my interests deepened to ones such as Kafka on the Shore. Everything around me is utterly real but to live floating, wishing to be in my own land of magic is something that can’t be pulled away from me. 

Due to this different reality, I take inspiration from different types of artists such as Marlene Dumas, Yayoi Kusama, Haruki Murakami, and Oscar de la Renta and I aspire to provoke change. I’m still trying to find my foothold in this extravagantly daunting community and create a name for myself that arouses love, suspicion, and most importantly magic in others.


A theme that constantly emerges in my work is a repetitive magic. I believe in love and a separate reality which I want to reach with my art. Some key learnings I developed in my first year at Parsons was using different woodworking machines (in Space & Materiality) and learning how to create a proposal (Integrative Seminar 2) for potential shows and buyers. Two projects in my Studio/Seminar class that immediately interested me from beginning to end was the How To Booklet and the 7 Days of Constraint Writing. I liked the How To Booklet because it was the first assignment given and it showcase skills I already knew. It was my first impression. The 7 Days of Constraint Writing was interesting because I didn’t really get a chance to write this semester so this really put a test to my skill.

After reviewing all the work I’ve done here at Parsons, I realized a few things about my personal ontology. I like to create moodboards or document in my sketchbook about ideas I’d like to use for later works – whatever the work may turn out to be. I also discovered that I prefer going with my first idea. If I don’t go with my first idea, then I will absolutely despise the project and not put my all into it. With this, I know there comes change and development with art but I always find that my first idea is always the best.

My one burning question is if I’ll become as successful as I make myself out to be.

One thing I want to learn furthering my career at Parsons is how to printmake. It’s something I know absolutely nothing about and I think it will be a fun skill to acquire.