John Chae’s Fantastic Digital Worlds

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John Chae’s digital illustrations are suffused with bright colors, provocative images, and pop culture references. These digital worlds are odd and labyrinthine and reflect a pastiche of influences. While strangely captivating, his use of patterns and repetition is quite hypnotic. His work feels like a hybrid of Charles Burns’ and early mimetic internet styles. From his website:

안녕하세요! My name is John (희택) Chae and I was born in the year of the dragon (1988), but I’m technically a rabbit. My birthday jam is Tiffany’s Could’ve Been and my blood type is B, but I’m not sure whether I am B+ or B-… I was born in Boulder, Colorado but I grew up in Seoul, Korea. I graduated with a BFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art. I currently reside in Jacksonville, FL.

John Chae’s New Levels, Video-Games and Otherwise

New Levels, the title of John Chae‘s new series of work, captures its dual nature succinctly.  While the phrase New Levels may partly refer to higher levels of perception or consciousness, you may likely have had the same first impression as I did: video games.  Chae’s paintings use both elements of fine art history and throw-away pop culture imagery – he visually cites Magritte and Escher alongside manga artists.  Chae moves beyond the highbrow/lowbrow juxtaposition of our pop-art grandparents.  Rather, his paintings are for and from a generation that doesn’t consume images as much as it puts them to use as a recyclable tool of self-expression.

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