Chun (series)

75

“Chun” is a series that I am working on in which I depict myself as an Asian woman, although I am a straight male, in order to explore gender fluidity and to express my love and appreciation for female beauty. —Chunbum Park

Chun IV

Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Year: 2020
Size: 60 x 40 inches (diptych of two 40 x 30 inch canvases)
Description: I painted myself as an Asian person with long black hair entering an intermediate space between green and red.


Chun V

Year: 2020
Size: 48 x 36 inches (diptych of two 36 x 24 inch canvases)
Description: I painted myself as an Asian woman with dyed red hair using heavy impasto technique.


Chun VI

Year: 2020
Size: 48 x 30 inches (diptych of two 30 x 24 inch canvases)
Description: I painted myself as an Asian woman wearing a velvet black dress and wearing a pearl jewelry.


Chun VII

Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Year: 2020
Size: 60 x 30 inches (diptych of two 30 x 30 inch canvases)
Description: I painted myself transformed as a nude Asian woman with long black hair.


Chun VIII

Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Year: 2020
Size: 72 x 36 inches (diptych of two 36 x 36 inch canvases)
Description: I painted myself transformed as a nude Asian woman with braided black hair.


Chun IX

Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Year: 2020
Size: 60 x 40 inches (diptych of two 40 x 30 inch canvases)
Description: I painted myself transformed as a nude Asian woman with androgynous features – muscular and delicate at the same time.


Artist Statement

Although I was born a male, I paint myself as a woman in order to explore my gender and identity. I liken my painting process to plastic surgery and putting on makeup. I am decorating my figure in the self portrait with beautiful colors and forms. I believe that, since gender is a fluid and non-binary trait, both men and women should be able to express “masculine” and “feminine” traits. Perhaps the labels “masculine” and “feminine” should be re-labeled as “strong” and “beautiful,” so that they do not imply an automatic association for someone’s sex. I paint myself as a woman in order to reverse the power relations between men and women, who are often portrayed in the media and culture as strong and weak, respectively.

My paintings in which I depict myself as a woman is based on fantasy, as if they were online avatars that represent my identity, as well as self-examination, as if I were to look at myself in the mirror and see two sides of myself. Androgyny is a key trait that enables the convergence of femininity and masculinity. The process of painting is similar to putting on makeup and plastic surgery, changing up and beautifying some parts of me that appear masculine.

I engage in self-objectification in my paintings in order to get to know what women undergo everyday. Self-objectification of myself is not so severe because I am the one projecting the objectifying gaze and bodily examination on myself.

I am occupying a middle ground between the feminine and the masculine. I think this middle ground is important for men to engage with in order to empathize with the women’s call for equality and reverse the traditional power relations established by patriarchy.

The desire for the beautiful other has translated to a certain degree to a desire to become the other within my fantasy. I find women immensely beautiful and strong, so I become her in my painting.

Chunbum Park is a South Korean artist who paints figuratively about his own desires based in fantasy and the beauty of the female form. Exploring gender fluidity, Park paints fantasies of himself appearing as a woman in order to reverse the power relations of the male artist and the female subject and because he finds the images that he created new and exciting. Since perception is an alternate form of reality, and images are sufficient vehicles to express this reality, Park places his transformation as a woman in his paintings as a form of fantasy. Through his paintings, Park changes the nature of the male gaze by engaging in self gaze based in fantasy. Androgyny is a key trait that enables the convergence of femininity and masculinity in his works. His process is similar to putting on makeup and plastic surgery, changing up and beautifying some parts of him that appear masculine. Park was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1991 and came to America in 2000 to study English and attend school. He attended Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, TN, in his high school years. Subsequently, he studied art at the Art Students League of NY and obtained his BFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in 2020. He invented an art auction card game called ArtBid and runs a website called Emerging Artists Collective, where he interviews other emerging artists. He is currently an MFA Fine Arts Studio candidate at the Rochester Institute of Technology.