Raymond Hwang is a New York-based artist currently featured in Spectra, a group exhibit of artists whose work is strongly concerned with the power of color as a method for expressing emotive visual themes, narratives, and moods. Raymond’s vibrant, glowing works, part-abstract but always revealing various story lines upon deeper viewing, immediately stood out to us for Spectra. See Raymond’s four works in the show, on view through June 2, and read on for insights into his artistic background and thoughts on the creative process:
Helikon Gallery: Did you aspire to be an artist, or did you fall in love with making art?
Raymond Hwang: I would say that it falls closer to the “falling in love with making art” category. Although I think it wasn’t necessarily the “making” part that made me want to do it but rather the potential of what it could do and represent as an end result.
HG: Do you have a “day job” outside of your art?
RH: Yes, I teach children.
HG: What does your perfect day look like?
RH: My perfect day would probably be sleeping in a bit followed by going out to see some gallery
shows. I’d find somewhere to have a coffee or lunch and read or sketch and then go back and
work on my paintings.
HG: What would you tell your younger self when you were first embarking on your artistic
RH: Stop trying to be so serious all the time. Art that takes itself too seriously is a chore to look at.
HG: Who are some of your current influences or inspirations? Have they changed over
RH: I don’t really look at other artists for inspiration but many of my influences come from my daily
life and just weird shit I see, hear or experience.
HG: What do you look for in the art of others? What would you hope people look for in your
RH: I look for honesty, investigation, and originality. I hope people see similar things in my work, as
well as a bit of humor.
HG: How long do you usually take to complete a piece? Do you work on multiple pieces
RH: It usually takes a month or two but it really depends. I currently work on one larger painting at a
time but I do a lot of small ones and drawings during the process as well.
HG: Do you use any unusual or “non-traditional” media in your work?
RH: Not unless I see a specific purpose for it. I’m not interested in gimmicks.
HG: What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
RH: I would say my sketchbook probably. I’m not really doing studies or much planning but I work
out a lot of ideas in my sketchbook because it’s highly unfiltered.
HG: Do you listen to music/audio while you work or do you prefer to work in silence? Any
bands or albums you’ve been enthralled by lately?
RH: I’ll usually put on some NPR or maybe a t.v. show that I’ve already seen before. It can’t be
anything too distracting. I just really like having background noise.
HG: Where do you currently live and how did you come to reside there?
RH: I live in New York City and I originally moved here for my undergraduate degree but ended up
HG: Outside of the craft you are known for, do you pursue any other artistic endeavors?
RH: Currently no but I’m working on a couple new things..
HG: If you could travel to any place on earth tomorrow, where would you go?
RH: I could think of a bunch of interesting places I’ve always wanted to visit, but in all honesty I thinkI would just go home to LA and visit my family. I don’t get to see them as often as I would like to.
HG: What are you currently working on and what projects do you have coming up?
RH: I’m working on some paintings that have a lot of influence from old cartoons I watched growing
up that feature specific “character-objects.” They often interact in ways I don’t expect and it
seems like a good vehicle to express both my humor and content with some more serious but
HG: What is something most people don’t know about you?
RH: I really love basketball. I hope the Lakers do well next year.
Thank you to Raymond for participating in our interview! See four of his large works in Spectra, on view through June 2, and more works online at http://rayhwangart.com.