Son Jang Sup was born in Kokum Island, Korea, in 1941. The Korean War started when he became 9 years old. Son’s family migrated to Daejeon to avoid the war. After the armistice between South and North Korea, he moved to Seoul to attend Sorabol High school, famous for its art education. In 1961, he started to attend Hongik University in Painting, however had to leave to meet his living expenses. In 1978, he founded Dong-A Art Festival along others, and in 1980, he was one of the founding members of “Reality and Utterance” along with Joo Jae Hwan, O Yoon, Kim Jung Heon, Sung Wan-kyung, etc. In 1981, he became a full-time artist, and in 1985, he was elected as the first representative of the Korean People’s Artist Association.
He is a Minjung artist, and create works that criticize reality. However, he also paints nature. Son paints the Korean landscapes from islands such as Dokdo, Ulleungdo, and Baengyeongdo, to mountains such as Mount Kumgang, Seoraksan, Bukhan Mountain, and Geumbyeong Mountain. He especially paints the sacred trees he has met in his travels. The artist deems that nature, especially the sacred trees that have stayed in towns for thousands of years, is the witness of the history of humanity. For the artist, nature is not just a ‘background’ of the people’s lives, but the center of the lives of the people, embracing the vestiges of those lives and the people’s history.
In 1970s – 1980s, he has held solo exhibitions in institutions such as, Korea Press Center (Seoul), Grorich Gallery (Seoul), and many more. Recently, he held solo exhibitions in institutions such as, Hakgojae Gallery (Seoul) and Kumho Museum of Art (Seoul). He participated in group exhibitions in National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul), Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum (Tokyo), and many more. He has received various awards including, the 2nd Korea People’s Artists Award (1991), the 10th Lee Joong Sup Award (1998), the 15th Kumho Art Prize (1998), and many more. His works are a part of collections including The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul Museum of Art, etc.