David Heo – Quick-fire questions

Get Him was the first artwork I came across by Chicago-based artist, David Heo. Being drawn in by the emotion and vibrancy that is depicted in his distinct style, I’ve been hooked ever since!

david heo in his artist studio

So to now have the pleasure to print and sell his artwork means a lot. Which is why I didn’t hesitate to kick things off and have him as the first artist I chatted to in our new quick-fire interview series.

If you’re unfamiliar with David’s work, the combination of the environment he grew up in and the observations he makes people watching feeds directly into his work. Best characterised as playful depictions of narratives that take place within the vast nightlife arena, you’ll notice his innate creativity lends him to constantly evolve his use of materials and visual composition, in new and interesting ways.

Sending some quick-fire questions his way, it was great to get to know his art practice better and to hear the systematic routine that makes him tick.

How do you describe your art practice?

I always have a difficult time with this question [laughs] but if I had to describe it as an elevator pitch? First off, I love colour. Vibrancy as a noun and adjective is something I’ve always gravitated towards. Conceptually? I would say my practice revolve around the term: “relatability.” I depict narratives inspired by our desire to seek companionship or leisure within the vast arena of nightlife. But in all aspects of this though, not only the good times but also the bad. Because we all know what good times are. I’m interested in the more human moments that are often overlooked or underspoken about.

What do you need in order to create your work?

Honestly, I’m a very routine-oriented person. My daily routine is: wake up, shower, get dressed, morning cigarette, think about the day’s tasks and goals, listen to a few songs then go get an espresso and a small coffee. After all this, that’s when I’ll head back to my studio and I’m ready to work.

What was your first experience with art?

My parents have a lot of traditional Korean paintings and pottery in my childhood home. I grew up looking at boars, tigers, and smoke.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

I think, life. I know it sounds dumb or redundant [laughs] but seriously, the residual aftermaths that linger after I experience anything informs so much of my work. Aside from that, people-watching is a huge well of inspiration.

Selection of paints in David Heo's art studio

What work or artist has most recently inspired you?

Off the top of my head? Robert Nava. I’ve been super into the new shit he’s been making lately. Also, Alex Katz’s recent painting series titled “CK” has hit me pretty hard.

From the other artwork on DROOL, which is your favorite and why?

Self Portrait With A Snake by Vojtěch Kovařík. As a painter, when I first saw their work, I was so blown away. I was so fascinated by their work not only as a whole image but also, on a technical level.

I want to thank David for taking the time to answer my questions. The talent behind his work is something that’s definitely worth commending. Here’s 3 prints we sell of his

Interview by Alex Liepman