In Conversation with Dahae Song

This article was originally published in the 2020 Fall Issue of Invest In Style Magazine.

South Korean-born and Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist Dahae Song creates art that is both otherworldly and distinctly earthbound. Her perspective is one that’s spiritually informed and deeply in tune with nature–an energy transfer between artist and audience that seeks to cultivate present moment awareness. Embodying universal consciousness and the interconnection of all beings, her portraits of self inquiry serve as a visual cue to be here now. Song’s work conveys energetic balance through black and white brush strokes that relate to one another like yin and yang–whether through painting, installation, digital means or photography.

Describe the philosophy behind your art.

There is nothing I desire in life but to align my external world and self with the internal world and self. It’s the documentation of a world unseen; the slow materialization of the immaterial dance of life.

How has your work evolved over the past few years?

I think I have been painting the exact same thing in different incarnations. It has grown so organically that I don’t often notice the visual shifts in my work. I believe it’s important to take a natural course in life, within and beyond the canvas, and just simply observe the changes rather than force or dictate.

What subject matter are you currently exploring in your work, and what materials are you gravitating toward?

The connection between nature, humans and consciousness. It is a journey of self and world discovery–and a wonderful subject to meander through during intensively long hours of painting. I like to continuously push the boundaries of one material. Discovering and developing new techniques and styles within one medium is like creating new pathways in the brain.

Where do you find inspiration?

Nature is the vehicle in which new perspectives arrive. Beyond the visual, it holds universal knowledge–a constant discovery and rediscovery of the beauty of self, others and the connection to all. I had an intimate relationship with nature from a young age. My art is really an attempt at creating and being submerged in the same world and feelings.

How do you cope with creative blocks?

I have a constant rotating set of mediums I work in. I escape from painting into installation, to digital, to photography. Developing different layers within your practice and process is very important.

Do you have preferences around how your work is received?

The only emotion I desire to evoke through my art is peace. The relationship one forms with my work belongs to the viewer, not myself. I hope that it makes others feel held and connected.

Why is art important to you, and what role does it play in your personal life?

For me, creating art and being an artist is a method of existence rather than a career choice. I am physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually intertwined with my art. I speak through it and I move through it.

What in life is beautiful to you?

I love witnessing and observing evidence of passion, expressions of life in stillness and silence. My favourite moments of being alive are: the philosophical way trees grow, light dancing on the surface of water, sunsets, and the way flowers hold light. All things that embody the beauty of this very moment that is forever fleeting. They move me in their duality, and I am grateful to know where to look when looking for reasons to be alive.

To see more of Dahae’s artwork visit: www.songdahae.com