Jisun Mudd expresses emotion in color

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By Becca Owsley

Art for Jisun Mudd is expressing herself through color in a way that brings joy to others.


She began painting as a teenager and was able to use art as an outlet when she became very ill. Mudd saw art as a gift from God to help her through her illness, and she’s continued for 30 years.

Mudd also is a local hairdresser, working at Headquarters Barber and Styling in Elizabethtown.

She has an autonomic nerve dysfunction, which can cause her to become very sick. Because of her illness and her Christian faith, Mudd’s life philosophy is to live one day at a time. Because there is no promise of tomorrow, Mudd said she lives each day the best she can and tries her best to encourage and help others.

“You only have one day, God gives you that one day to do something,” she said.

She puts her energy into her paintings. When she paints something realistic, she often subdues herself with the colors. Realistic painting clears her mind because she’s so focused. But when she’s done with a realistic painting, she said, she has to do something to let all those colors inside her out so she will work on an abstract painting.

She likes to create cheerful paintings and make people feel good.

“I have faced darkness, so I know how people feel and want to see cheerful and happy colors,” she said.

Mudd created a series of paintings for breast cancer awareness because through her 28 years as a hairdresser she’s had many clients affected by the disease.

The paintings feature a little girl named Hope who wears a pink ribbon. Mudd named her Hope because she is still young in the painting but she is going to grow up to be a woman and has hope for the future.

She’s also donated paintings to Relay for Life. One was titled “Facing the Storm.”

“I feel like people who have cancer are so brave,” she said.

Mudd feels it’s important to give back and also has donated paintings for Lou Gehrig’s disease and diabetes.

Her older son, Chris, is a musician and she recently began a series of music composition abstract paintings.

“I hear music in my paintings,” she said. “I try to paint something that is inspiring yet realistic and comes out of my heart.”

She doesn’t create copies or prints of her art, only the originals. She feels that once she sells or gives away a painting it then belongs to the owner.

“Once you love my painting and you buy it, yes it has my signature on it, but to me, you own it,” she said.

She also feels like all her emotions go into her paintings, which can’t recopied.

Mudd lost her mother when she was 11 years old but has had many inspiring mother figures in her life to learn from.

It always has been her dream to become a good mother. Chris, 19, attends the University of Louisville. And after being told she could have no more children, she had a second son, Matt, 13 years later.

One of those mother figures she’s looked up to and adopted into her family is a client named Teresa Simpson.

Simpson is an inspiration to Mudd and is the person who encouraged her to sell her paintings to move herself beyond a hobby painter to a professional artist. Simpson often would come in and give Mudd a $20 tip to encourage her to buy another canvas and never expected anything in return for her kindness, Mudd said.

Mudd uses her job as a hairdresser to become interested in the lives of others and express her faith. Her goal is to see everyone in her life as family, making it easier to be loving and giving towards them.

With that thinking, she uses her art and skill as a hairdresser to give back to others whether it is donating a painting to a cause or giving a free haircut to someone who needs it.

“It’s love so you just do it,” she said.

Mudd’s paintings can be found at Headquarters Barber and Styling in Elizabethtown and the KORE Gallery at the Mellwood Art Center in Louisville. She is a member of the Central Kentucky Art Guild and has received numerous awards for her art. In March of 2013, she submitted a Kentucky Derby piece called “To the Finish Line” to the Governor’s Art Contest.

For more information about her paintings, check out her page on Facebook called Paintings by Jisun.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.