Theater & art


Eunice Choi draws inspiration from the surreal world

Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

Age: 30

Hometown: Seoul

Think of: The twisty biomorphic forms and deep, desolate landscapes of surrealist painter Yves Tanguy blended with the snappy palette and verve of Japanese anime. Perkiness threaded with doom.


What caught our eye: Choi’s glossy landscapes, populated with burgeoning, monstrous forms, in her 2012 master’s thesis show for the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University. Lately she’s focused more on the creepy, scaly, tentacled, but sumptuously colored forms, in drawings, sculptures, and paintings. She has work up now in “Satellite,” a group show at Khaki Gallery, and “Eunice Choi, Ronni Komarow, and Martha Shea Smith” at the New Art Center.

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Light bulb moment: “When I started school as an undergrad [at the University of Wisconsin], I was thinking I’d be a graphic designer. I ended up taking a drawing class, and I fell in love. I never took graphic design.”

Biggest thrill: “Recently I finished my first residency program. I realized how much I can focus in that environment. I have a second residency coming up this summer. I’m thrilled when I get in a program that supports me making art.”

Biggest surprise: “I’m surprised at how small the art world can be. It’s kind of crazy. When I went to this first residency, I met someone who knew someone I knew in undergrad in Wisconsin.”

Inspired by: Anime master Hayao Miyazaki, artists Allison Schulnik and Evelyn Rydz. Of Rydz, Choi says, “I like how she finds narrative in waste objects. My subject matter is the forms I create, and how they create a story in themselves.”


Aspires to: “I want to make great work, keep showing it, and when I get to midcareer, to inspire young artists and help them through what I’m going through now.”

For good luck: “When I finish a major piece, I organize my whole studio. And when I really want something, before I send out the application — I’m not religious, but I start praying to every single god in every religion.”

What people should know: Choi moved to the US when she was 14. “The reason I create comes from my experience seeking comfort between two cultures. That fantasy world is my comfort zone, my hiding room,” she says. “In my head, when I’m creating these forms, this one is protecting another guy. There’s a little bit of story being created. I want viewers to sense that.”

Coming soon: Choi’s work is included in two exhibits opening in May: the Cambridge Art Association’s 2014 National Prize Show, and Ceres Gallery’s 11th National Juried Exhibition in New York.


Cate McQuaid can be reached at