Resurrection 21-20. 2021.
Resurrection 20-72. 2020.
Resurrection 20-70. 2020.
Resurrection 20-48. 2020.
Resurrection 20-44. 2020.
CONTEMPORARY ART CURATOR Magazine/ London, ENGLAND
Can you pinpoint the moment you decided you wanted to become an artist?
I was selected as one of Korea's top 10 graphic designers in 1979 in the 12th issue of Quarterly Fine-Art magazine published by JoongAng Ilbo newspaper company. It happened when I was 28 years old. It was the result of a survey of 50 professors from related universities across the country by phone. In 1987, I won the second prize at the International Poster Salon hosted by the IAA in Paris, France. At that time, I submitted a poster with the theme of 'Peace'. So, in Korean graphic design field, I got my name pretty early. However, I decided to become a full-time painter in 2009, ending it boldly in 33 years. When participating in the 1995 International Corporate Identity Seminar in Beijing, British Pentagram founder Colin Forbes said the retirement age of graphic designers was 55 years old, and that he said he would retire and work on horseback.
Where is your studio and where are you from?
My studio is about 50 square meters small. My studio is near a station on subway line 2 that goes around Seoul once. Painting is the work of fighting one's inner world alone. I don't think I need a big space. The studios of great masters such as Vincent van Gogh, Paul Klee, and Francis Bacon were surprisingly small. I'm from Busan. I was born in Busan and lived for 18 years until I graduated from high school. Busan is a port city. And it is the second largest city in Korea. I graduated from university in Seoul and have lived in Seoul for 52 years ever since.
Tell us a little about your artistic background. What were your first influences to be creative and become a serious artist?
I decided to become a full-time painter in 2009. The artist who convinced me was Vincent van Gogh. It never took much time to leave a few pieces of work to be loved for a long time in the future. Gogh left more than 2,000 works in the last 10 years or so before he died. But most of all, the artist who had a great influence was Georgia O'Keeffe. I like her big flower paintings that are both sensual and colorful. She provided me with the inspiration to fill the screen with leaves. Roy Lichtenstein also influenced me. I use photos to get the outline under his influence.
Can you tell us what you have going on right now?
Even if it's something that others can succeed in just one try, I'll try a hundred times. I have the courage to challenge myself a thousand times, even if others can succeed in ten times. If I live in these ideas and methods, I will surely become intelligent even if I have been a foolish person since I was born. Even if I was a weak person from birth, I will definitely be strong. This is from the classic Oriental usage. That's what I've been saying for a long time. It is also a word that has become my philosophy of life. I try to look forward to the rest of my life in such a state of mind. I want to live a fruitful life by cultivating my own creative world.
Can you describe what an average working day for you is like? Do you work on many creatures at once or one at a time?
I work on average for 4 hours a day. And I work an average of 5 days a week. I work with canvas hanging on the wall. All the walls are full, after I hang 15 works. I am aiming for 3 oil paintings and 12 watercolors a month. First, 12 works are completed in watercolors, and three of them are expanded to oil paintings. Watercolor paints mainly with a specification of 38.1x55.9cm oil painting of 72.7x90.9cm.
What makes your art different from others?
If you ask me to pick up one of the representative works of the resurrection series, I would say platanus and hummingbirds. I'm obsessed with the platanus leaf because I want to use it as a powerful symbol of resurrection. But the natural platanus leaves and the ones in my work are distinctly different from the leaf veins. I want to put the worm-like leaf vein in the canvas. Platanus grows strong in spring when energy explodes. From the silhouette of platanus, you can feel energy like a thick brushstrokes that are strongly scribbled with a single stroke. Hummingbirds flap their wings as many as 50 times in a second to survive. I'd like to send you the message, "Let's live strong and courageous" through the platanus leaf and through the hummingbirds, "Let's live diligently." The action painting technique used as a background evokes a primitive sense. I approached my own unique action painting, reminiscent of the visual effects of closing up countless constellations in the night sky with an astronomical telescope. It's a more direct and concrete approach to the subconscious that we all have. Through the literature, I've learned that action painting techniques from Jackson Pollock have led to Sam Francis and many other artists, and I was confident that it's safe to apply them. Some people even think of scenes from Disney movies where Tinkerbell flies. It is also said that Tinkerbell's signature flying around the castle on the intro at the beginning of Disney's.
In your opinion, what role does the artist have in society? What do you hope that others will gain from viewing your art?
My work affects human subconsciousness by presenting an unconscious, perceptual stimulus that is not easily recognizable. A happy man is not without wounds, but a man can heal himself through many wounds. My healing graphism works are emotionally capable of supporting this belief. Everyone lives with a variety of problems that are not resolved in their minds, though problems may differ from one person to another. Physical wounds heal over time, but mental wounds persist. Wounds exist in the form of energy within our bodies. No matter how hard we try to get rid of them or deny them, they are hiding somewhere and, from time to time, appear seemingly out of nowhere.
What’s the most important element in your artwork?
The most important element in my work is silhouette. Because of light, we know that there is brightness, darkness, reality, and shadow. Silhouette reveals beauty with minimal outline. It was the Chinese who first started the play with silhouettes on Earth. Chinese shadow plays set up tents and illuminate dolls. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011. The shadow play features delicate and elaborate formative beauty. I usually look for beautiful silhouettes in photos. There are some photos that I took myself and some photos that I found on surfing the Internet.
That being said, are there any lessons that you’ve learned that you could pass on to the younger generation of artists as they begin their journeys?
Of course, success as an artist won't happen just one night. Wise painters were people who constantly tried to improve and enhance their professional reputation. Above all, wise artists were active in promoting and marketing their art. And wise painters actively tried to form a network. They were active in art associations and liked frequent exchanges with people on the same road. Wise painters had sponsors made up of people who helped and encouraged them, including family and friends. Wise artists always tried to capture and maintain opportunities to show galleries, art collectors, and art lovers. They spent a lot of time developing their careers as artists and falling deeper into the world.
What’s on the horizon for you?
I am 70 years old, but I have only 12 years of experience as a full-time painter, so I think it would be better to postpone my challenge to the Major League a little later. Artists in art history worked hard, devoted themselves to their art, and constantly tried to upgrade and improve their ideas and methods. There is no exact formula for achieving the goal.
- April 2021