The everyday has been a favored subject for artists for a long time – it provides a familiarity to the work of art, making it relatable to the masses, and gives an opportunity to the artist to critique or comment on the social and political aspects of human life. Estelle Choe, a “conceptual image builder”, employs the everyday into her works of art in a unique and intriguing way.
Her digitally manipulated photographs are as compositionally pleasing as they are unexpected. The multiple layers within the images as well as the context, provide a potent understanding of the notions that linger in the human consciousness. Accompanying the social commentary is humor, symbolism, and a sparkling joy the artist clearly finds in both the visual world of everyday objects. “Finding humor in everyday objects, I create digitals works of art that trigger contemplation and participation. If my artwork is remembered by the viewer, my goal is met,” she says.
You refer to yourself as a conceptual image builder. How does the conceptualizing and layering really happen?
The concepts come from things that we all tend to push to the back of our minds. For example, how much we spend and consume or how we re-energize ourselves. I depict these thoughts in a humorous way.
All the photographs, even the layers, are taken by me. My camera and photoshop are my tools.
Do you always manipulate your images to highlight a socio-political issue?
Not necessarily. Although I do highlight sociological issues in the images currently displayed on ARTmine, it’s not the only concept that I work with. I like to find humor in everyday life. I’ve always enjoyed manipulating my images in order to bring life to them and visualize something that can’t actually happen in reality. Fiction becomes non-fiction in my images.
What do you want the viewer to take away from the images?
I deem my work successful when the viewer remembers the image after they’ve walked away from it. The goal isn’t to reprimand the audience but to make them aware of the things that we are all guilty of doing.
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Are there any particular artists that inspire you? Do you have a favorite work?
Erik Johansson. I’ve been admiring his work since I was 15. His fantastical imagery and precise technique have always mesmerized and inspired me.
Deep Cuts is the name of the image that I particularly enjoy. I love his clever play on words in the image. And of course, his seamless photoshop work. I really enjoy seeing everyday objects in gigantic form.
Collecting art is a highly involving and emotional experience. The artist’s process and intention are some of the factors that make one fall in love with his or her piece. Learn more about our artists’ creative methods and fascinating techniques in the Center Stage and Artist Techniques categories.