Raising Awareness Through Art

A conversation with

Main Gallery Exhibitor,

Mizin Shin

Our current Main Gallery and Studio Gallery exhibitions use their printmaking skills as storytelling devices. Mizin Shin, our Main Gallery exhibitor, uses her work as an outlet to broadcast social justice and commentate on the current rise in racially motivated prejudice and violence against the Asian communtiy.

Mizin Shin

How did you get involved with Book Arts?

Back when I was an MFA student at the University at Buffalo, a lot of people in the program recommended I check out Western New York Book Arts Center. The first time I visited Book Arts was when UB Print Media participated in a winter panic sale event as one of the vendors. After that, I applied for the summer volunteer program and I also joined Bookfest as a printer for the steam roller print event a few times. I have taught screenprint, intaglio, and relief workshops at Book Arts, as well.

Can you explain the differences between traditional and contemporary printmaking and why you feel it’s important to utilize both when learning the artform?

Personally, I learned a lot of traditional printmaking techniques during my undergraduate program in Seoul, Korea. That’s how I got to know printmaking, and I found I enjoyed all the processes, going step by step from an idea to a finished product. After I graduated, I realized that a lot of the traditional printmaking requires specific equipment and facilities that I could not afford or access free in Seoul. That was when I started using cheaper and alternative materials for my printmaking practices, which in turn influenced a lot of my current works. Adopting current technologies and contemporary workflow to this kind of print media has become my passion as a printmaker and educator. I feel it is in the spirit of printmaking to minimize boundaries and improve access so more people can enjoy it without the need for expensive studio equipment and materials.

What are ways you feel the community can support the #StopAsianHate movement?

Anyone can easily show support simply by passing on and promoting these messages to raise awareness of these issues. Although violence stemming from ignorance, hate, and prejudice continues to grow, there are many corners of our very own communities who are largely unaware of what is going on. Raising awareness is a straightforward and important way to show support. Another way is through donations to organizations supporting AAPI communities, providing help by contributing resources to ongoing programs.

What do you want audiences to gain from your exhibition?

I would like to offer visitors a moment in their busy days to focus attention on the uncomfortable and dangerous situations many members of our communities may find themselves in. Drawing awareness can help us consider our own positions relative to others, and maybe how we could help others feel safer in our neighborhoods. I also hope visitors can reflect on the strength and significance of their own voices.

Can you tell me about the organizations you’re planning on donating the exhibition’s profits to and how others can support them as well?

My prints have been traded for donations to a widespread of organizations supporting AAPI communities in many different ways, including: Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate, Advancing Justice Asian Law Caucus, Asian American Leadership Delegation, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Vancouver Chinatown Foundation. Of course, there are still so many more great groups that could use help. If anyone would like to recommend more, please feel free to contact me. After the exhibition, there will be a link on the Mirabo Press website (www.mirabopress.com) where people will be able to get prints in appreciation of their donations.

“Drawing awareness can help us consider our own positions relative to others, and maybe how we could help others feel safer in our neighborhoods.”

This blog post was written by Book Arts Intern, Nina Grenga. Nina is currently getting her Master’s at the University at Buffalo in Critical Museum Studies with a concentration in Arts Management. Nina has been an avid lover of the arts and books, so this internship was the perfect fit!