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Supplement: Stanford - 2


Jay Park

Tell us about something that is meaningful to you and why. (100 to 250 words)

In a small library near my house, there is a giant wall with one oil painting hung on it. I used to sit in front of it when I was little, staring at the picture until Mom came to pick me up. Then, I didn’t understand why I was compelled by the bland painting, but the presence of a single frame within a sea of white grabbed my attention and held it there.

Even now, when I visit exhibits, I am drawn to the empty spaces in the room. I notice the way space is used to lead our eyes onto the next object, to highlight a work by isolating it—and I start viewing the exhibition hall as an artwork itself, one in which space is the medium and the curator is the artist.

Space is powerful. It strikes me how much of what we perceive is defined by not the objects themselves but the space around them. No matter how insignificant an object seems, it demands authority when surrounded by an expanse of negative space—just as the weight of emptiness in Hopper’s Nighthawks transfix us on the small, lonely men and woman. It’s the same reason I draw airy landscapes with spray paint and create spacious backgrounds in my murals—to accentuate what is important.

This is why space is so meaningful: it challenges us to look, and focus. And when we discover something within the empty space, that is the moment we find art.

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