As delicate as the floral arrangements she brings to life, Stella Im Hultberg’s paintings are laden with the soft yet powerful pastel hues that vary in each piece. Her paintings highlight color in just the right way to bring out the brightest points. Originally from South Korea, Stella grew up in a few different places until settling down in Oregon. Though she has several years of art behind her, Stella began as a toy designer after graduating with a degree in Industrial Design. Her journey, including her origin, can be traced in her artwork. Many of Stella’s figures are donned in traditional Korean outfits or smothered by beautiful bouquets of flowers.
While many of her pieces may seem to be of one media, Stella uses various paints, inks, and pastels. Her work even incorporates graphite drawings and colored pencils. Regardless of media, her paintings focus on a solitary Korean female figure. She looks melancholy at times, while at others she seems determined. She holds secrets and stories. In her eyes there is both compassion and violence. Though the many female figures in art emphasize sexuality or beauty, Stella takes a step back to remind viewers that there is beauty in absence. Her figures often disappear behind floral arrangements that hide eyes and bodies. In some of Stella’s older works, the figure’s hair becomes the focus of obscurity, leaving only a porcelain face. Additionally, her paintings incorporate traditional Korean folk art. The outfits and prints bring to life a side not often seen in art.
As though through a metamorphosis, Stella’s artwork has also undergone dramatic changes over the years. Her earlier pieces emphasize lines and many of her portraits are void of color. She uses graphite on watercolor paper for clean elongated lines that flaunt feminine curves. Later, she introduces colors through crayons, ink, acrylics and watercolor. Her mediums also incorporate wood, printmaking paper, and masonite to name a few. Stella even totes some mural art where her floral figures bloom against the harsh cement landscape. Her color choices however, have predominantly stayed the same.
The gentle pastel hues flow beautifully with delicate skin, blushed cheeks and peony stained lips. Some of Stella Im Hultberg’s floral paintings have stunning backgrounds painted in whimsical, dreamlike pastels to contrast the harsher lines of ink and graphite. In addition, one can see the change many of her figures have undergone from fragile feminine wisps to fully fleshed out women, each with their own story.
Stella Im Hultberg Social Media Accounts