Art Saint Louis “Human Touch” Exhibit Artists Q&A Series Two

 By Roxanne Phillips

We are pleased to offer a our second in a series of interviews featuring artists whose works are featured in our new virtual exhibit, "Human Touch" (November 15-December 15, 2020). In addition to the virtual exhibit, can also view all of the featured artworks and learn about the artists in our exhibition Facebook album here.

We proudly introduce you to "Human Touch" featured artists Hoseok Youn, Hannah Grace Smith, and John Foster Dyess.


Featured in Art Saint Louis’ virtual exhibit “Human Touch”: Hoseok Youn, Carbondale, IL. “Mask.” 2020. Glass, Gold, 20”x18”x19”. $1,500.
Artist’s statement: In modern consumer culture, a lot of people who have an eager desire of succeed and respect decorate themselves with wealth to build or change their identities or to hide themselves. People's success or failure gets evaluated by their ability of economic power in materialism and capitalism society. Success and respect are one of human desire and the conspicuous consumption has been a direct way to fulfill these desires. Therefore, regardless of class, many people have been over consumed in modern consumer culture. Definition of success and respect basically appears from communication in human life and the communications can be disconnected or continued by people's social class, status, and power in materialism. Especially, it appears strongly in social media that people easily cover themselves with wealth to communicate with each other. Decoration of wealth is an invisible mask for communication in modern society. I used parts of wine glass as a decoration of mask. This project speaks over consumption, ostentation, luxuriousness, anonymous, fragility and stress of human mentality in materialism society.

About the artist: Hoseok Youn was born in South Korea in 1992 and grew up in Seoul. He was in glass major at Namseoul University, Korea for his Bachelor degree. Currently, he is taking MFA glass program at Southern Illinois University, USA. His early works were abstract formed sculptures; speak about his life journeys, relationships and psychology. After he started blow glass, he also has done few installations. Recently, he has been working on various experimental projects and studying field of contemporary art.

Hoseok Youn. ”Inconspicuous.” 2020. Glass, Plastic Bag, Photograph, 43”x33”. $800.

Roxanne Phllips: Describe your artistic process/technique
Hoseok Youn: I do a lot of different techniques of glass, but mostly glassblowing. It depends on my project, but as a glassblower, glassblowing would be the most fun, interesting, performing, challenging, and important to present my idea. It is very popular and unique traditional technique in glass world, but one of the most challenging one. It requires great teamwork and strength. You need to think about a lot of things in same time when blow glass such as timing, temperature, glass thickness, centering, etc. In the other way, it is like performance like dancing in front of people with your team mate because it requires many different moves in process. During process, there are fun moments and intense moments. That’s why I’m saying sometimes it looks like performance and it gives you a lot of inspirations. Of course, there are so many fails when you try to blow glass and it takes long time to be advanced glassblower. However, when you pass all the steps in process and finally see your finished piece… it is even hard to explain or express the feeling with any word.

Hoseok Youn. ”Over Flow II.”  2020. Glass, Plastic Bag, 14”x7”x16”. $1,000.

RP: When did you begin to know what your art is about?

HY: Honestly, I am not sure what exactly my art is about right now. I am still very young, still learning a lot of things in life, traveling around the world as international artist, and all these were combined, I ve been trying to make art about many different subjects. I am still exploring, adventuring and jumping around various experiments.

Glass sculptor Hoseok Youn's studio.

RP: Why do you make art?
HY: I think that art is very special thing that can give you special feelings, experiences, messages, and make you see or think about things in different ways through it. Definitely not a thing that everybody can do it and that is why it’s so unique making art and being an artist. I believe in myself that I have this special ability and skills and I would like to share my ideas with people to give them some new experiences. “Because you have the talent that no one else has. You were born to be an artist. That is why you are making art right now!”

Hoseok Youn. ”Parasite.” 2019. Glass, Wood, Metal, Grass, Sand, 8’x10’x8’. $2,000

RP: What is the biggest point of inspiration for your artwork?
HY: It’s actually always different and depends on my project. However, if I have to pick one, I would say, mostly life experience. Because simply, wherever, whenever, and whatever I was inspired, it means i have done something, have seen something, or have gone somewhere. So obviously everything is from my experience.

Hoseok Youn. ”Shopping Everyday.” 2019. Glass, Metal, 24”x26”x39”. $1,500.

RP: What was it that first prompted your career/activity as an artist?
HY: It’s not the first one, but the most memorable one was when I won the first place of international glass festival in Japan. It was my first competition in my glass artist life and it was quite big, famous, well known competition in glass world. I participated in glassblowing part of festival. Since it was my first time, I wasn’t expecting anything and just enjoying the class and working. I was very lucky that I was awarded with full scholarship that I get chance to take a class in Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, USA which was the one of the most famous glass place in USA and dream place that I never been to. It was full of shock and great happiness at that time to me.

Hoseok Youn. ”Belly Bag.” 2020. Glass, 11”x12”x11.5”. $900.

RP: What motivates you to continue making art?
HY: As an artist, making art is not always easy or fun. Sometimes, it is very challenging, tough, and even stupid. I always try to push myself hard as I can and put much effort in it to make better art. In process, I often get stressed out, tight, frustrated, failed, and get intense. However, after all this times, when I see people love my work, giving me compliments, rewards of competitions, buying my art works, anything that is small or big, that is probably the biggest motivation for me that gives me power to continue making art.

'If you give up, you only come up with excuses, but if you don’t give up and keep move on, there is always way.”

Carbondale, Illinois-based artist Hoseok Youn at work in the studio.

Learn more about Hoseok Youn
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This work is featured in the Art Saint Louis virtual exhibition, “Human Touch”: Hannah Grace Smith, St. Louis, MO. “The Absence of Touch.” 2020. Oil on Wood Panel, 24”x36”. NFS.
Artist’s statement: “Moments and time are fleeting. As humans, we are always growing, changing, and evolving. We are unfinished. Therefore, I leave my paintings with an unfinished quality to represent the idea that we are never finished. The extreme isolation we have felt through this time will not last forever.”

About the artist
: Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, I developed a love for art as far back as I can remember. I attended Samford University, in Birmingham, AL and earned a Bachelor's degree in Interior Architecture. I am very passionate about portraiture and using it as a means of exposing someone’s true value as an individual. Traditionally, portraiture was used to heighten an individual’s status and was strictly reserved for the ‘most valued’ members of society. I strive to capture individuals and expose to them their worth and value beyond whatever label society, or those around them, have assigned.

Hannah Grace Smith. “A Child's Touch.” 2020. Oil on Canvas, 24”x36”. NFS.

Roxanne Phillips: What is the biggest point of inspiration for your artwork?
Hannah Grace Smith: I have always been most inspired by those around me. My family has always inspired my work, and it has felt the most authentic to create from what I know best. No matter the subject, I paint to find a balance of realism combined with loose abstraction, causing one to complement the other and leave a lasting, authentic impression.

RP: What is it about your preferred medium that you enjoy the most?
HGS: I love the pace and lasting quality of oil paint as a medium. The layering that is involved, and the richness of color that doesn’t dull or fade over time. The patience that is required in oil painting is so counter cultural to our current pace of life, and I find it beautiful and necessary for me.  

Hannah Grace Smith. "Young Boy.” 2019. Oil on Wood, 9’x12”. NFS.

RP: Why do you make art?
HGS: Admiration and reflection. We are all drawn to beautiful things, and I believe it is our purpose as humans to create. For me, that’s in the form of painting. It is my way of processing, self reflecting, and contributing. I feel that we are in a time of content overload. Almost everyone has multiple online accounts where content is liked, shared, and repeated all day long. It can be hard to create new, meaningful, and lasting ‘content’.  Painting forces me to invest time, money, and effort into what I am creating and therefore pushes me to create more authentically and purposefully. Otherwise I feel that I am aimlessly absorbing and forwarding other’s thoughts.

RP: What qualities attract you to other artists’ works?
HGS: I have always been drawn to work that feels ‘alive.’ Capturing motion and feeling onto a two-dimensional surface is something that is incredibly difficult to pull off. I love work that I feel I could get lost in. I have always been attracted to the impressionists’ work for their skill of allowing paint to be paint. I like to see the rough brush strokes, seeing how the end result was an equal effort from the artist and the medium itself.  

Hannah Grace Smith. "Unfinished.” 2020.  Oil on Wood, 24”x36”. NFS.

RP: What advice would you give your younger artist self?
HGS: Stop being a perfectionist. I was very timid and nervous starting out. I never wanted to make a mistake, and wanted my work to look perfect throughout the entire making process. I wish I would have known that sometimes it has to look worse in order to end in a beautiful and rewarding way.

Hannah Grace Smith. "Grandfather.” 2019. Acrylic on Wood, 24”x36”. NFS.

RP: What are you currently working on?
HGS: I am currently working on a series that has to do with reconnecting to my younger self. I think that a lot of healing and self discovery happens when we look back and connect with who we were when we were younger, it is our most impressionable and authentic versions of ourselves. Most every moment made an impact on us, and most often, we did not give our younger selves the time and attention we deserved. These paintings have become my attempt to correct this.

RP: Has rejection ever affected your creative process? If so, how?

HGS: Absolutely. Other people’s opinions have dominated more of my thinking than I’d like to admit. But there is always a great deal to learn from rejection. It’s important to constructively grow from disappointing feedback, and not let it become unmotivating to your practice.

Hannah Grace Smith. "Searching.” 2020. Oil on Wood, 24”x36”. NFS.

RP: What motivates you to continue making art?
HGS: Over the past year and a half, I've started taking my art really seriously, working to hone my craft and artistic voice. Now, if I go a day without it, everything feels very flat. It connects me to other people, and challenges me.

St. Louis-based artist Hannah Grace Smith.

Learn more about Hannah Grace Smith: and 


About the artist
Featured in Art Saint Louis' "Human Touch" virtual exhibit: John Dyess. Hand Colored. 2020. Color Digital Print on Paper, 16”x15”. $275 unframed
Artist’s Statement: This image began by putting my hand on the scanner. I converted it into a black and white image, and then by using various Photoshop filters and brushes I added color. This represents my "Human Touch" when I create.

About the artist: John Foster Dyess is a native St. Louisan and he holds a BFA from Washington University School of Fine Art. A painter, illustrator, photographer and teacher, John has been creating art and illustration for over fifty years. His clients include many major corporations and companies throughout the United States, including Anheuser-Busch, Monsanto, General Electric and the St. Louis Baseball Cardinals to name a few. He has been published in many widely distributed magazines.
his work has been represented in numerous local and national shows including the Foundry Art Centre, the National Parks Service and over thirty shows at the St. Louis Artists’ Guild. He has also been recognized by the New York Society of Illustrators and Communication Arts Magazine. John has taught illustration and drawing at Washington University, Webster University, St. Louis Community College Meramec, and Jefferson College.

John writes: I have been working in my dream studio for about thirteen years, which I share with my wife Carolyn ,who works as a graphic designer. I create because I have to  ,which I do every day for at least  8 hours a day. Currently I am creating a series of paintings That I call "Inner Space". The advice I have always given to myself is  - Never give up and never stop looking and seeing. I don’t use a sketch book. I don’t worry about rejection anymore. I have been an adjunct college professor since 1997, which has helped financially. I have had a successful career as an illustrator,which was a good source of income. I’m still trying to figure out what my art is about.

St. Louis-based artist John Foster Dyess.

Roxanne Phillips: When did you begin know what your begin to know what your art is about?
John Dyess: After more than 60 years creating art professionally, I am still learning what my art is about. My life and my art are always changing.

John Foster Dyess. “Creation.” 2018. Oil over Canvas Print, 29.5”x36”. NFS

RP: What was it that first prompted your career as an artist?
JD: My Affton High School art teacher Jeannine Cook. Until recently I would meet her for lunch along with several high school classmates.

John Foster Dyess. “Journey.” 2017. Oil over Canvas Wrap Print, 24”x48”. $800.

RP: What do you do to support your art and how does that impact your art practice?
JD: During my career as a professional illustrator I worked on assignments that I received from advertising agencies, textbook publishers, magazine publishers, and design studios. More recently I sell my art online and occasionally sell my art in galleries.

John Foster Dyess. “Formation.” 2018. Color Digital Print on Paper. NFS.

RP: Do you have a sketchbook? What kinds of things to you put in it.
JD: I create thumbnails of my ideas, then take reference photos with my camera. A camera is my sketchbook.

John Foster Dyess' studio.

Artist John Foster Dyess in his studio.

RP: Describe your dream studio.
JD: I live and work in my dream studio that I share with my wife. Our studio is large and has lots of windows in it. We have two Mac computers and an older Mac that I use to view digital images, while  I am working at my drawing board. We have worked in this studio for about thirteen years. Over my career I have worked in at least three other studio spaces. This one is the  best studio and probably my last.

John Foster Dyess' studio.

RP: What are you currently working on?
JD: I am working on art from my series that I call  Inner Space.

John Foster Dyess. “Beginning.” 2018. Oil over Canvas, 29”x29”. $800.

RP: What is your future creative life?
JD: At 81 years I am living my future life, and life has been good to me. I have four grown children, eight  grandchildren, have  good eye sight ,a steady hand and still a passion to create visual images. My passion is and has always been to draw and paint. I love to draw and paint from a model, which I have done at the St. Louis Artists ‘Guild.

John Foster Dyess. “Colorful Hand.” 2020. Oil over Digital Canvas Print, 13”x18”. $400.

St. Louis artist John Foster Dyess.

Learn more about John Foster Dyess

Roxanne Phillips is an artist and art educator based in St. Louis since 2001. She earned a MFA in Printmaking & Drawing from Washington University in St. Louis and BFA in Painting & Drawing from University of North Texas. Roxanne is an adjunct art instructor at Washington University in St. Louis and has worked with Art Saint Louis since 2017 as Administrative Assistant and Installer. From 2018-2020 she was Master Printer for Pele Prints. Her works have been featured in numerous exhibitions throughout the St. Louis region including at Art Saint Louis, Crossroads Art Studio & Gallery, and St. Louis Artists’ Guild. Her work is currently available at Union Studio in St. Louis. She has served as exhibit Juror for several regional exhibits & art fairs. Roxanne is past Board member of St. Louis Women’s Caucus for Art.