21 Over 31 | Jonathan J. Ahn

By Bonnie Gangelhoff

Streetcars on Market, oil, 36 x 34.

What inspired your winning entry? The city itself. I was walking through a downpour. It was San Francisco during the rainy season, and there was one moment after a rainstorm when the sun broke through the clouds, flooding Market Street and turning it into an alley of reflections. It was almost blinding.
What was your reaction upon hearing the news that you were selected? I was a little surprised, because cityscapes are a rather recent endeavor of mine. I just started doing them with painter Dean Larson. Mostly I do figurative work and portraits.
Do you come from an artistic background? Basically I started training at an early age. When I was 7, my parents saw some skill and signed me up for lessons with a Boston teacher, Nancy Angell-Rickenbacker. But even before that, when I was 4 years old and living in Korea, my grandmother suggested I take classes at an after-school art institute.
Where did you study art? My training with Nancy was formal. It was an apprenticeship that began when I was 7, and it lasted a decade. I studied with her two or three times a week for three hours. From there I went to Paris and took sculpture classes, but I actually graduated from the American University in Paris with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. I just graduated with a master’s degree in fine art from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
What is your favorite subject matter, and why? I don’t have a favorite. Whatever is personal to me—the city I am living in or members of my family.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Nancy told me: “You may be talented, but success is 99 percent hard work and one percent talent.”
What is the one thing people will never see you paint? Minimalist, abstract paintings.
Future goals? I have lots of future goals. But my most immediate is to create a solid foundation for my career. And to do more sculpture.
Representation: Waterhouse Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA; Cohen Abee Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Sunnyvale Art Gallery, Sunnyvale, CA; www.ahnjung.com.

Featured in our annual “21 Over 31” competition in November 2010

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  1. Pingback: 21 Over 31 | November 2010 | Southwest Art Magazine | Fine Western Art, Artists & Galleries

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