Here is my friend Heedan Chung on Ivy:
“To me, Ivy means honoring continuity, sharing remembrance of the past, and facing an ever changing life with quiet authenticity. I don’t know of any other way to live. It transcends ancestral origin, race, ethnicity. But as far as the styling that is associated with Ivy, well I’ve worn it all my life, my parents wore it, their parents wore it…from that perspective it’s a dress code of sorts.”
Heedan Chung and I would have been friends in high school, had we met there. We have creative sensibilities, we have a love for the traditional, and the same sense of humor. She would have been able to straighten me out during the salad days, too.
Heedan is a moderator over at the Facebook Group, one of two, selected because my first personal exchange with her was so authentic. This is before I knew she was a master painter. I had seen her commentary on people’s posts and she was kind, insightful, and damn near a purist. I got to know her over time, but let me catch you up, in her words:
“I am a Korean diaspora. I was born in South Korea and have lived in the United States for nearly all my life. We arrived in New York because of my father’s job transfer and I grew up in Scarsdale, New York. Art, music and literature and the pursuit of education were part of my childhood. I took classes with Joan Busing, who at the time had a private community art school. I went to Smith College with the intention of being a Studio Art major and then switched to History. Upon graduating I found my way working in the world of dotcom 1.0, then ultimately going back to school at Columbia. Today I live in Scarsdale and my children attended the same elementary school I did so many years ago. “
But then I started seeing the paintings. Heedan and I live equidistant from the same beach in opposite directions, and unbeknownst to each other, we both go there to get settled. Most everybody who sees the ocean tries to interpret it in some form. Not all of us are as successful as Heedan.
She classifies her work as:
“… Abstract Contemporary Tonalism. Inspiration from my observations of two places close to my heart: Long Island Sound and The Outer Cape. I started consistently taking private art lessons from the time I was 13 years old and continued till the end of high school, and took classes at the Art Students League. Then continued at Smith. I put aside painting and drawing for a very long time, and restarted the summer of 2019 in Provincetown, and have not stopped painting since. Early on, my parents realized my talent and did everything they could to support its development. “
I don’t know much about Abstract Contemporary Tonalism, but I wouldn’t have, at first blush, associated it with one of Ivy’s greatest stewards, yet here we are. I asked her her three favorite pieces of clothing and of course, about the future of Ivy.
“Black Barbour Bedale, tall Bean boots, Norwegian cardigan/s. The cardigans are 30+ years old. I have a collection of Barbour outerwear. The oldest is 25+ years old. If I could I would wear all three of these year round. The future and past and present of Ivy are all the same. Authenticity of expression.”
From there, we turned to the subject of moderating the group. The group is pretty aggressively curated, with two moderators and an admin seeing almost every post. Chung is amazing at it, but it IS the internet, and there have been some bad stories for all of us.
“I love being one of the moderators of the FB group. The worst piece wasn’t something we removed at all. It was something that FB removed b/c it went against their T&Cs b/c it was racist. It was so shocking and it happened so quickly. Generally speaking, being generous, kind and mindful of communication isn’t just an Ivy thing, it’s also a good way to go through the online world on a private company’s platform.”