Category Archives: Integrative Seminar 1


The last few months in New York has been a devastating experience both physically and mentally. I was overwhelmed by the freedom I had never had before, soon to feel the responsibilities that followed along with my freedom. Living by myself has allowed me to find my true self without being influenced by others, and thus the previous few months has been a journey to finding my true self. I am originally from South Korea, but grew up in various different countries throughout my developing years. Some of the countries I’ve lived includes my motherland Korea, China, Singapore, UK and more. Because of the multifaceted countries and cultures I’ve lived in, I was always forced to change and possibly act like I fitted in with these different environments. And this may be the main reason why I was so troubled and overwhelmed during the last few months in Parsons; trying to find my identity.


Unintentionally and interestingly, all the artworks I created for my studio’s Bridge projects had a recurring thematic idea of identity. The first project (which was a photography piece) dealt with idea of dual identity, moving on from being a child to an adult. Then came the more generic project: to create Postcards about a place of interest in New York. As I was heavily influenced by Patti Smith’s Just Kids, I decided to create the postcards about East Village, and the architectures of East Village. The third project was a more personal piece compared to the previous project where I decided to create and accordion book using two distinct illustrated images of black and white. This piece was heavily influenced by Persepolis, and its use of black and white simple illustrations. Like the movie, my project too was about our roots and the inevitabilities of being set free from our origins. These previous three project lead to the creation of the last project which will also deal with the concept of identity and no matter how much we struggle to be individual, our origin and culture will always influence us as individuals.


I believe it is too early to say that I have found myself completely, as I am a metamorphosing creature that is ever changing. Thus my next steps will be a continuation of my previous steps, and finding out what I truly want to do and be. Currently, I am interested in pursuing my studies in Fashion. Although not heavily interconnected with Fashion, these past projects I’ve done in studio will be the footsteps to my pursuit, as Fashion deals with the outer appearance of people, which is the visual identity of an individual.

The Homeless

Giving money to the homeless is an economic crisis of the heart. An act to relieve our guilt rather than to fix the underlying crisis of poverty. It is a tug-of-war between the instinct to alleviate suffering and the knowledge that a donation might encourage, rather than relieve, the anguish of the poor. Studies on homeless income from the Department of Housing and Urban Development show that the average beggar who dedicates his time overwhelmingly to begging can make between $600 and $1,500 a month. However, studies also find that 60% of the homeless respondents admitted to using all the money earned within the next 24hrs. Given the likelihood of self-reported bias, the given number could be even higher. Panhandlers often have no way to save their money, being incentivized to spend their daily earnings quickly. Thus, creating a tendency to spend on short-term relief, rather than long-term needs, which can feed on their dependency on alcoholic and or drug relief.


Giving to beggars induce bad long-term incentives. As example, when traveling to an LEDC, many beggars can be located in tourist attractions (as tourists are better sources of income to these people). However, giving to the needy does not make these local beggars richer, they only multiply. An economist Tyler Cowen once wrote “The more you give to beggars, the harder beggars will try. [….] which again limits the net gain to beggars”. Many homeless charities, with support of researches and surveys, suggest that the best way the public can help the homeless is to make donations to a homeless charity. This allows the homeless to be benefited with the proper necessities rather than the risk of spending on short-term relief when they’re to be given cash.


It is an inevitable fact that people who beg are often the most vulnerable in our society, and many will be struggling with relative poverty. However, the most visible aren’t the only ones that requires support. There are more “invisible” homeless who are actively seeking jobs rather than to be a “career panhandler”. “I hit the streets looking for work, my only resume a stint in a factory, vestiges of an incomplete education, and an immaculately starched waitress uniform” (Patti Smith 2010, 35). Like Patti Smith and the other active unemployed seeking jobs, it may be more productive and ethically right to provide help for those who seek change that are less visible to the public’s eye than those who are more visible. Like Henri Matisse once said, “There are always flowers for those who want to see them”.

Written Portrait of Jackson

Serin Hwang

11th October 2017

Written Portrait of Jackson


“A small boy from a small seaside village in Maine.” That was how he first described himself. Covered by shadows of his older sister, who he idolized as a kid, Jackson’s childhood revolved around his older sister. He was like a moon hidden by the shadow cast by the sun. His first attempt to draw was also inspired by his sister who he described as being “very good at drawing”. He mentioned during his interview that he was heavily influenced by the fairytale stories and comic books he read during his early childhood. And as a child, he mostly drew fantasies, fairytale characters and stories which stem off his imaginations.


Although Jackson enjoyed drawing, he never thought of pursuing his studies in art until his mom told him otherwise. During his early adolescent years, Jackson was pushed by his mom to pursue art. His mother, an artist herself, wanted her daughter (Jackson’s older sister) to become an artist. However, when she refused, she started pushing Jackson to go to an art school instead. Jackson commented “I subliminally knew I was going to do art from a very young age”. Although his path was not chosen purely for his own sake, Jackson began to gain deeper interest in art, especially in fine arts, which is reflected on his portfolio works which mainly consists of drawings and paintings. He continues to be influenced by fantasies and stories, and is inspired by beautiful scenes from movies and most importantly, he is inspired by nostalgia which can easily be seen from his works.


He now defines himself by a single word “Honesty”. Jackson says he is trying his hardest to be him; “to be authentic”. He believes his life is less driven by his older sister, but by him.



the Moon


Like earth rotating around

the Sun

Like moon covered by shadows,

I remained hidden by

the Sun.


But as time goes by

the Sun begins to fade out.



And by night,

the Moon begins to shine

Ever so brightly.

the Moon, I

am no longer hidden by

the shadows cast


Now I know

the Moon

is not covered by the shadows,

but shines in another side.

My Path, My Map

Moment 1


One of my more memorable moment that informed my creative works come from a relatively boring day when I was on my way back home. My mom had picked me up from my studio around midnight, and I was just sitting on the front seat gazing outside the car window. I remember being really tired and fatigue after having stayed in the studio for hours trying to finish my art project due in couple of days. I was cussing and lamenting about my situation to myself when for some reason I decided to turn and look at my mom. I suddenly came to a realization that my mom too was staying up really late everyday just for me- to pick me up from my studio. I felt so sorry and grateful at the same time, and this sudden realization undoubtedly impacted the type and quality of work I make now, because ever since this realization, I began to work harder and push myself so much more to create something that is better than the previous work.


Moment 2


During my late junior year, I went on a 2-week long volunteer trip with my friends to a dog rescue center located in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The dogs I took care of where mostly abandoned dogs due to unacceptable reasons such as having disabilities, old age, sickness and most commonly due to their “ugly features”. What influenced me the most wasn’t taking care of these dogs, but being with the people who were working there. The working environment and shelters volunteers stayed and worked in were extremely poor with improper facilities. There was no running water or proper toilets, and hygiene wasn’t even up on the priority list. Most of the workers there were volunteering of an extended period of time which lasted from around a year to some for over 3 years. I thought these people were extremely inspiring both as individuals and as inspirations for my art makings, as taking initiatives and breaking out of individuals’ comfort zones and working to help these needy dogs seemed like a complete new level of courage and challenge to me. After my trip, I created a series of works related to my experience with both the dogs and the people. These works I created after my volunteer experience were no longer for aesthetical purposes, and for me to be satisfied with, but for the people working in the rescue center and for other people to relate to.


Moment 3


Although there are numerous moments that influenced my creative work, the most influential moments has to be from my studio. My studio was full of works created by me, and most importantly, it was the place I shared memories with my art teacher. This was the place my ideas were refurbished and made into art pieces, and a place where multiple discussions were made regarding my future and path as an artist. My art teacher and I worked together for over 4 years in this studio, thus sharing multiple discussions that lead to my growth as an artist. This was the place where my works were created to a portfolio worthy standard, and a place that helped me decide on becoming an artist with the guidance of my teacher. It was undoubtedly through my relationship with her where I was shaped as the artist I am today, capable of having pride in the works I make.