Born in 1974 and based in Miami, CYJO (pronounced see-joe) is an American visual artist that works mainly in the photographic medium but also with text and video. She is most known for KYOPO (2004-2009), a photographic and textual project about American immigration and identity through the lens of the Korean ancestry. Over 200 people explore their relationships with their ancestral culture and the other cultures they embody through citizenship or life experiences.
Her first major work in China, Substructure (2010), is a photographic, video and textual portrait series documenting internal migration through 50 Chinese migrants in Beijing. Other China based works include Moment, Moving Moments (2012) and Blue Sky Day (2010-2015). Moment, Moving Moments is a video portrait of Dashilar expressed through the individual and its context where the relationship between modernization and tradition is observed. Blue Sky Day is a portrait of industrialization through Beijing’s sky. Coloration patterns of the sky are documented into monthly grids (34 months) in correspondence with the Air Quality Index provided by the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection. This portrait is realized through photography and a multi-sensory installation.
As an American of Korean ethnicity who has lived in various urban contexts (DC Metro Area, NYC, Beijing, Miami), CYJO analyzes different cultural nuances and sometimes contradicting perspectives with her body of work, recognizing plurality in societies as well as confining cultural frameworks. In her works that focus on figurative and textural portraiture, CYJO continually questions this notion of categorization further examining our articulated human constructs, encouraging those profiled to define themselves. She explores how culture, life experience, tradition and modernity shape both the individual and collective identity and how society influences the alteration of tradition and culture.
CYJO’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including: The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., Asia Society Texas Center, Houston, JANM Museum, Los Angeles, Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice, Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Beijing, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chengdu, Today Art Museum, Beijing, T. Art Center, Beijing, Liang Dian Design Center, Beijing, China Millennium Monument Museum of Digital Arts, Beijing, CFCCA, Manchester, Dalian Museum, The Art Atrium, London and The Korea Society, NYC. Her work has been featured in numerous publications and broadcast including A+A Magazine, La Repubblica, Slate, Conveyor Magazine, Stern, Vanity Fair, designboom, ELLE Korea, Eloquence Magazine, Global Times, Loeil De La Photographie, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian Magazine, The New York Times, Huffington Post, NBC News, CBS News and PBS Sunday Arts News.
CYJO's work is included in various private and public collections including The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. She is also part of The Creative Destruction, a Miami based artist collaborative focusing on cultural influence, heritage and identity.