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East Side Manhattan SOJOURN — David Chang: Creative Capitalist

“Say, you are my God” — the culmination of everything. I keep the struggle transparent.”

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David Chang and his calligraphy. Photo: Tony Carnes/A Journey through NYC religions

Those who follow David Chang’s calligraphic art remember how it started as a simple beautiful dance of lines on a white background. Modestly, he experimented. Then, his calligraphy became complex and even a bit wild as if a giant wind was blowing through the letters. He went from simple beauty to a wild beauty, from vase of flowers to wildly blowing lilies in the field.

Chang’s more recent work really catches the attention for its emotion. The Biblical words are soaked, sprayed, dripped, run and patted down with water. The darkness of the ink, black or an indigo ink from Japan, seems like the word of God is sinking into the deepest emotions. The art is powerful, moving, even overwhelming if you let yourself go into it. The result can be oddly calming, like still waters after a storm has passed. We have followed Chang since he got started. The new art really caught our attention. We wanted to find out how Chang came to this pivot point in his work.


"In my heart, I knew I wanted to be in the creative world, but I felt that it was too late for me. I started studying engineering, but shifted to advertising --  at least, I would be involved in creating something," David Chang. Early calligraphy.



"Then six or seven years ago, I started a transition from calligraphy to art pieces using calligraphy. I had heard the artist Mako Fujimura talk about the importance of creating one’s own creative capital." Chang did his early work in the garret space of his father’s church, The Korean Methodist Church of New York. His father is Reverend Paul Chang. Photo: Tony Carnes/A Journey through NYC religions



Chang got married to Christine, had a son, and started work at an art gallery startup, Waterfall Mansion, which is owned by the visionary Kate Shin. He feels a little overwhelmed, exhausted. One hour on a day, Chang works and finishes a piece of art. “I do it to find a balance in my life. I feel like I am juggling, and I get lost in the juggling. My one hour moments are partly a shelter. It is just beautiful.”


“The Lord…” – David Chang, “I write out the words of the Scripture and see how the water [symbolizing the Holy Spirit] reacts with the Word.” The words just soak down into the heart, filling the heart.



David Chang, “I sprayed the water on, let it stand, and then dabbed it with paper. It’s like Old Testament followed by New Testament.”



David Chang, “and my Salvation” – “My mind does not control the process, but focuses on experimentation. It is all about encouraging the heart in all these explorations.”




“Whosoever believes in me, Scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38) David Chang, “The red color to me is the presence of Christ, out of his heart, his blood. The breaking open the heart.”



“Say, you are my God” – David Chang, “The culmination of everything. I keep the struggle transparent.”


David Chang. Photo: Tony Carnes/A Journey through NYC religions. Click photo to find out more about the artist.


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