Minji Shin ’20 Explores Identity Through Digital Collages and Videos

Courtesy of Minji Shin/The Phillipian

Shin’s digital collage “Afraid of Pain” delves into the realm of female sexuality with a collection of photographic and artistic elements from magazines.

A pink line crossing out the word “AFRAID” is tied in with images of pink flowers and red lips, which contrast against the dark browns and blacks that take up the bottom portion of the collage. This digital collage by Minji Shin ’20 is called “Afraid of Pain,” which she created by cutting up a magazine, then arranging the images on Adobe Illustrator. Shin also creates collage videos using footage she finds online. 

M.Callahan/The Phillipian

Minji Shin’s ’20 art reflects her exploration of sexuality, mental health, and Korean identity.

“I find that by binding myself [I] get a lot more freedom and imagination, and it’s interesting to me what you can do with limited resources. [I use] segments of random useless stock videos from and… internet traffic. And those videos don’t mean anything to anyone, they are like trash in the internet world. But once I make that a part of my art it transforms into a whole new other thing,” said Shin.

Shin creates art based on a lot of her own memories and experiences, and she uses it to try and explore her own self, as well as her thoughts and emotions.

“I have a lot of memories that are painful or traumatic or very hard to articulate, so instead of talking about it to someone and being all sad, I’d rather make art and explore it myself. And that’s most of the inspiration I get. It’s been very helpful for me to figure out what I’m feeling through my art,” said Shin.

According to Shin, several of her videos examine the relationship between bisexuality and mental health issues, while many of her other works shed more light on the mental and verbal abuse of cheating.

“A lot of stuff has been going on in my family. [My] first piece designated to these memories… are all self portraits, so through this I’m trying to show how this is happening,” said Shin.

One digital art piece, depicting a black-haired dancer poses in traditional Korean garb, contrasts Shin’s usual frenzied style with a simpler design. The dancer’s dress billows out behind her, and she has a tiny smile on her face. Shin is originally from Korea, and incorporates aspects of Korean culture into her work.

“[After living in the U.S. for six years,] I feel like I can be more proud of my original culture. When I appreciate the culture here, I appreciate my original culture too. I tried to make [this piece] a more simplistic work of Korean traditional culture,” said Shin.

Alhough most of Shin’s work have underlying messages and special meanings to her, she does not like to explain her art to others. Shin says she prefers to let others experience her work about interpret it in their own ways.

“I always want to be detached from my art, let other people think about it… It could come to you with a totally different meaning. I think that’s the fascinating part about art: it can convey so many different meanings [even] while the creator has a whole different intention,” said Shin.

Natalie Shen ’20, a friend of Shin, said, “I think her art is super super captivating; when you first look at it, it’s very visually, like ‘wow.’ It’s a lot of colors, very bright and bold words; the more you look at it the more there’s a story to tell. She wants her viewers to make their own story, but she also has a very descriptive narrative behind each one.”