"korean artist nina jun reexamines the levity and gravity of helium balloons by solidifying them, transforming the typically weightless objects onto ceramic variations of themselves. the icons of celebration are recreated in the solid medium, varying in shape and silhouette; some take on a rectangular formation while others delineate flowers, hearts and stars. the seemingly blown-up items mimic the airy expansion that takes place inside traditional balloons, accurately appropriating visual characteristics of the mylar toy. on each’s facade is painted vibrant colors, patterns, polka dots and 3-dimensional butterflies, adding a sense of whimsy to every creation. jun explains, ‘helium balloons are symbols of happy occasions but like moments of happiness, they do not last very long. by making permanent balloons, I would like to provide a medium in which our happiness could possibly stay with us forever.’
Nina Azzallero, Senior Editor,Designboom Magazine
"Inspired by watching a balloon floating up in the sky was the Artist Nina Jun, who exhibited her recent works at Art Asia Miami in Wynwood Disttrict. Her balloons in ceramic blow over any rules of levity and gravity, cognition and illusion."
Dr. Barbara Aust-Wegemund 'Marathon in Miami. Art Basel Miami Week 2012.'
Nina Jun is a sculptor and installation artist who was born in Korea and moved to America in her early 20s.
After being comfortably settled in her American life she realized that the true American dream was to challenge yourself in what talent and possibilities you have and explore yourself. When her daughter turned 3 years old she went back to art school, which she did not finish in Korea.
She studied at California State University, Long Beach, California and graduated with an MFA in Sculpture in 2002.
In graduate school she studied in multiple disciplines: figurative sculptures, bronze casting, ceramic and video art. For her MFA show she showed her first dome shape sculptures covered with ceramic shards in installation with video monitors and projections. Since then the dome shape, which is a form of typical Korean grave, has been recurring in her installations. Nina had been invited twice by NCECA (National Council for Education of Ceramic Arts), for its conventions in Portland, OR and Kansas City, MO.
One day, she saw a Mylar balloon fly into the sky after it was accidentally released from her hand, her eyes followed the balloon disappearing into the infinite space, and began wondering: what if there was a balloon that could stay with us forever? This question inspired her to create balloons in ceramic.
The patterns and motives on her ceramic balloons reflect cosmic images- polka dots: galaxies, butterflies: constellations, flower patterns: orbits, triangular composition: supernovae, and the double circles: laniakea, the newly discovered superclusters in the Universe.
Nina’s concept of art, which was first influenced by her identity as a Korean and is now opened up to global symbols of happiness, mylar balloons. Her fascination of the ceramic balloons, which contain both forces of levity and gravity, keeps her interested in continuing to work on transforming these disposable objects into permanent art works that provide an endless possibility of visual expression. Recently Nina has completed her ceramic balloons for Hello Kitty on a commission by Sanrio, Japan on the 40th Anniversary of Hello Kitty. Her work are included in 'Hello! Exploring Supercute World of Hello Kitty Exhibit ' at Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.
Nina Jun has had 12 solo shows and numerous group shows including 18 international art fairs. Her works have been published in Sculpture Magazine; the Los Angeles Times; Korea Monthly Ceramics; Ceramics Review, London; Sculptures Pacific Magazine, Canada; Design Amid Magazin and Designboom: Architecture, Art & Design, Italy.
Nina Jun lives and works in Los Angeles area.