For the first exhibition in New York in 2014, I prepared about 20 paintings. Of the 20 paintings, 5 were brought from Germany, and the remaining 15 were painted after moving to the United States in 2013. When I look at the paintings, I can feel the traces of struggling to find meaning in loneliness, mainly at night. I can freely express the objects regardless of light because I have primarily drawn images in dreams or imaginations rather than objects that exist in reality. Post-Impressionist painters would have ran out of the studio with an easel to express objects that change from moment to moment depending on their angle of light. In the early days, I also longed for the angle of light and the mystery and splendor of light, so I tried to draw the reflected light. But one day, I was in a dream and saw a color that did not exist in the world.
As you know, in the dream space, there were no lamp or sun to scatter light. How can color exist without light? And then what does it mean the seeing the object? Is the color I remember unconsciously appear in my dreams? It was the first time I saw those colors that didn't really exist in the world. When I had read the Bible, I found the phrase to describe angels that there is such white color that the white color of the world cannot express. "
"After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. (Mark 9:2-3)"
No matter how much people in the world whiten it, the color white cannot be made so white. There really was such a color. From then on, I got a goal. It's not perfect, but I have a desire to try my best to express it. I will be delighted to tell the world about the colors I saw at that time in my dream and show them that feeling. I know how difficult it is, but I decided to think hard and study hard. Since then, a night without light has been a good subject. And sometimes, emotions and energy that cannot be explained in the sunshine are found at night.
The night is the time when all the splendor of the world shown while the sun was rising is temporarily extinguished. A famous actress told that she received spotlights and praise from people, returned home from work, and opened the door to her house, she saw a dark and empty room, and got easily depressed from the silence and emptiness. The scene with the lights turned off showing the splendor and beauty of life in detail is lonely and empty just looking at it. In the loneliness and silence of the darkness, I expressed the feelings experienced at night by a person who leaves his hometown and ventures to a new place.
In a foreign land, no one knows that we were once the twinkling people of our homeland. No, maybe no one is interested, and I don't know if the answer is correct. But, one day, this fact comes one day with feelings of nostalgia, loneliness, and emptiness after a certain amount of time has passed after leaving home and living with new challenges.
At night, the bustling noises of the world disappear naturally, and only then can you entirely focus on yourself. Ironically, the truth is that the self that is wholly felt without all the trophies or accessories in the world is the true ego. Perhaps the loneliness and emptiness you feel at times like this are the original feelings that are not decorated. That's all right, you don't need too much to decorate it by force. Sometimes you just have to accept it and let those thoughts flow naturally. It's like quietly taking a breather before tomorrow's brilliant morning. Time passes, and everything in the world changes. The darkness and pain that seem to stay in my heart forever will disappear without a trace someday.
In the Bible, Jacob was driven out by his brother Esau and wandered in the wilderness, and he could not find a place to lie down for a while, so he slept on a stone pillow at night. Then he saw the angels ascend and descend on the beautiful stairway to heaven in his dream, and he awoke and set a stone boulder. In fact, there was a stairway to heaven wherever Jacob went without having to mark it with a stone. It just wasn't visible.
One part of this story is the motif of the two pictures above.
I hope that these two paintings will display on the house, giving them such a happy and radiant energy wherever they are and at any time.
When I had my first exhibition in Germany, I never dreamed that I would sell my work. I was so just excited because of that warm heart that just came to my first exhibition, looked at my paintings, and gave good reviews. Visitors looked at the pictures with clear eyes and an innocent posture as if a baby were curious about the world. I found them more beautiful than any other work. Then, in my first exhibition, I sold my first work, and the painting below was an acrylic painting titled Overlap. It was a long time ago, but I do remember. He was a retired civil officer, and he loved buying and collecting paintings as a hobby. When he purchased the picture, he said he wanted to buy it because there was something special.
I am still grateful that it was the first work I sold after making my debut as a painter. Since then, I've sold many paintings, but I think the memories of that time are the most memorable, like my first love.
Since then, I feel that I have grown more mature than I was at that time through the process of painting, exhibiting, and selling paintings. Instead of feeling excited about selling pictures, it has turned into concerns and prayers about whether the work will find a good owner. I hope that my paintings will be hung up on happily by meeting a kind-hearted person who knows the value of art and work and receives attention and love. Perhaps these feelings are similar to the feelings of parents who sent their daughters in marriage. And I wish that all the families living in the house where the picture is hung live life with much happiness and joy.
Someone once told me that she couldn't paint anymore because she was afraid that her painting would rot in the storage. I understand her mind. However, as more I draw, there comes a moment when I feel free more from this mind. It is because I have experienced that each painting meets its owner by its own time and coincidence. The process are miraculous and beautiful, and sometimes it's more fun than drawing.
Yesterday, the two works met their master and went on a trip to the owner's house. The owner is the person I want to learn from his life story, who has built, grown a financial company from A to z with her own hands.
You probably know how hard it can be to run a business and run a company. I have a lot of respect for them. Because even running a small family is often overwhelming. He, too, faced difficulties in his business, but he overcame them with his unique tenacity and perseverance. Above all, he is an artist who takes his photos, collects works, and creates theories with his philosophy. Like the fundamental spirit of community art, he is already a great artist in that he enriches the lives of others with what he has and shares it with others. I guess that creativity and publicity probably helped a lot in business. He has been working on transforming texts such as poetry and mathematical theories into artistic images. This attempt is fascinating, and when I have time, I will post it in the corner of math and art.
Among the paintings sold this time, the one on the left, "The colors of fall" is a work that captures the splendor and strength of autumn and the calm energy on canvas. It seemed as if the leaves of autumn or flowers were exhibiting to the world in various beautiful colors such as yellow, orange, brown, and deep red by maturing their youthful and lovely times in spring and summer before winter came. Just as many people take pictures to keep a specific object or memory in mind for a longer time, the color of autumn is also shown as its color because they want to preserve the splendid past time. And in other words, it isn't easy to possess the energy and color that the colors of autumn convey to us, just as the beauty cannot be expressed even when taken in a photograph. So, I wanted to draw a little bit of the energy and beauty of that moment with the heart of keeping the beautiful fall.
The picture on the right is "overcome", literally overcome. Since my first debut in 2011, whenever I feel such energy from a tree, I immediately put it on canvas and create a series under the name of Overcome. I always think intense energy when I see a tree standing beautifully, bending, moving, and dropping its most substantial part to persevere and overcome the hardships of many years.
Like our life, it is distorted, broken, bent, and shaken by many winds and rains, but we will live again and somehow overcome it and grow into one big tree. The shapes that he overcomes by himself are so beautiful that they simply become works of art. People are crouching like that tree in fear of being hit by the rain and wind in life. Then they think once in a while, "I can get up and show off again with my back straight." But he learns that life is real and not fantastic. It doesn't pay as much as the effort, and it's strangely unfair to anyone. At that time, like the tree of Overcome, it seems impossible to get up. Rather, it grabs the stone on the floor and digs deeper into the stone. But after many years, looking at the tree itself becomes art. The traces of years of hard work, perseverance, and concession to win are solidified as they are. When people see such a tree, they feel strong energy. And the transmitted will to live tells others the meaning of life. Even if it is twisted, it does not show off, and it does not matter if it bends in the wind and rain. We will one day stand up again, like the trees of Overcome. And those movements will be deeply engraved on our faces, attitudes, careers and voices in our lives. And that history itself becomes a work of art.
I hope that these two pieces will radiate a lot of happy energy from the owner's house. And once again, thank you to those who love art and know the value of art and purchased it.
Consistency, consistency, consistency.
When I first thought about becoming a painter while painting and exhibiting, I really didn't know that I would continue to paint for such a long time. I was well aware that exhibition opportunities are not easily given just by looking for them. After the first exhibition, I took a list of all the galleries in Karlsruhe, where I live. At that time, there were 16 exhibitable galleries. An excellent opportunity for painters to show their paintings to people was primarily through galleries, and online exhibitions were not as common as today. Some galleries took care of everything from exhibitions to public relations for a certain amount of money. But what kind of money did the poor international student's wife have to have a leisurely exhibition? I couldn't afford that, so I had to look for a place to only look at my works and exhibit them for free. I had to look for a place where I could only see and exhibit my works for free, but few places welcomed a foreign woman who did not even graduate from art school. However, there were always grateful people who showed good reviews for my paintings and were willing to exhibit them. Such a chance was so miraculous for me. But even though I got a great opportunity from grateful people, there are many obstacles. If the evaluation of the work is not good, does not sell well, or does not lead to other exhibitions, it isn't easy to go to the end of life as an artist.
I like doing things consistently. So, I keep painting like the same a pray out of sight. When I was in middle school, I gave a speech as a candidate for the election for the class president. I was a not-cool girl, often ill, and a weak middle school student. At that time, candidates were selected based on grades to participate as strong candidates. Anyway, in my class president election speech, I said this. " Guys, I'm not the kind of person to be the class president. Instead of me, hire someone who is more capable and does a better job than me. I'm not going to pick me either." I thought no one would use my name in that election. But to my surprise, one person chose me. I later asked my close friends if they had written my name, but they all said no. It was a bitter experience, but strangely for me, it gave me a lot of strength in my life because I knew then that at least one person would always be on my side, no matter what the circumstances. And I realized no matter what I do since then, really at least one person has been standing by my side.
When I work for at least one person like I do anything, I unknowingly generate energy and keep doing it. Among the songs, I like Park Jin-young, a well-known Korean singer and producer, "Even After 10 Years".
Yes, I'm fine if only you like that person
I can smile and let you go
But why do I keep meeting other people?
I'm just saying I'll forget you easily.
*Look at me, wait, even after ten years have passed
I will only love you*
yes, I'm okay even if you leave
I'm fine, and love will continue even if I'm alone
But why does our love keep coming soon
You say it will be a faded memory
it is not so
Wait, what is ten years until the day I die.
Park Jin-young, a wonderful singer who wrote and sang this song, divorced and remarried after ten years, but anyway, there is the power to pass ten years. If the power to run for such a long time does not exist, there may not be any painters who run after the invisible sensibility. It seems that such a force is passion, or love, for work. For me, it's the love of painting. The energy of that love creates steadiness, and the steadiness keeps the path going.
I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times." - Bruce Lee
I want to become a person who practices one kick ten thousand times.
Be yourself! Love yourself!
Since I am a person who draws pictures, I always focus more on the story of painting when I watch the news or hear any radios. Today, the news about a watercolor painting by a 6-year-old girl named Edie living in England caught my eye. There were trees on both sides of the road, and the sky above it was a beautiful landscape painting dyed red.
The picture of her I saw is so beautiful. Most of all, it is surprising that a 6-year-old child tried to express the perspective of the trees and the shadows cast between them. And the sky is a pretty deep pink like the sunset. I think she is talented enough. And she is only six years old now. Her many hours and possibilities await her. Traveling while she is growing up, how many colors, shapes, and experiences will she expand her artistic world? It's really exciting just thinking about it. I often understand Picasso's saying that all children are artists. Joseph Beuys, the painter whom I admire, expressed a similar thing. Every life that creates and strives to make life beautiful is called an art.
But the teacher who saw this picture wrote that the picture was wrong.
"How can art be wrong? Please send me a message of consolation to read the child."
Her mother wrote the above text below the teacher's comments and sent it back.
After seeing this post, Rochelle Riley, Director of Arts and Culture of the City of Detroit, immediately posted on Twitter, "I want to buy Edie's painting." Riley and celebrities and artists sent messages of support such as 'I want to buy a painting' and 'I want to make a postcard and have it.
It is reassuring to know that many people already know that there is no correct answer in art. All of the artworks were born from the hand of an artist, but it's entirely up to the viewer to feel it, to appreciate it, to understand it. However, those who say that the creative work that contains the creator's soul is wrong as a personal criterion are because they do not fully understand the concept of art.
There are correct answers in many fields of the world, and there is fierce competition according to the right answers and the correct path. Many people are disappointed, frustrated, and hurt a lot in the race with the correct answer. Some stop themselves because they feel they will never be able to finish the race perfectly. In a tragedy like this, I think art should show people that there is no exhaust answer in the world. And I hope that we can get away from the stress of perfection in that art, stop competing for a while, hold each other's hands and laugh out loud once.
One day in the past, on a trip to Rome, Italy, I saw an artist who was so great that it was a turning point in my life. People were sitting cooling off in front of a fountain in a small town square in Rome. A white-haired old man was showing his finger puppet show on the mobile theater he had carefully built right in front of the place. It was a hot day, and also the tourist was busy taking pictures of the surroundings, so they did not pay much attention to the old man's play. He was sweating, and no one was watching, but he put all his heart into his play. After finishing his performance, he hand out a piece of paper to those around him. Inside that piece of paper, the following phrases were written in several languages.
" Just be yourself and nobody will ever be able to tell you that you've done it wrong."
It was also written in Korean, friendly and kind. The moment I saw the paper, I felt like a bell was ringing in my head. It was as if he was urging me, who was wandering without finding my way, to hurry.
I am on the same path like him now, thanks to that beautiful and brave artist. And I still have that paper. More than ten years have passed, and the piece is now in tatters. But the message he gives becomes clearer in my life.
In my first exhibition in Germany, I put his image on canvas as if it were a wrong painting.
I couldn't take a picture at the time during the travel, so I had to draw a picture of him that I barely remembered. After that, I've added people who aren't interested in his play. In my painting, the elderly artist does not look around but sees his own path in front.
When I exhibited this painting, someone came to me and told me. "Oh, by the way, I think this picture is a bit wrong." I wanted to tell the story of the picture if she asked, but once she told me I was wrong, I should ask why. She said that it's not her style, but others would say it's wrong.
That's right. It's just not her style. So maybe? Most of the works in the first exhibition have sold out over the years, and I still have them in my hands. But I want to keep this drawing just like the paper he gave me.
And even now, I continue to draw only in my style. It makes me so happy to live my own life without living this other life. And I want to say that there is nothing wrong, as the artist in the Piazza Rome said.
I chose art because I like art, like our lives, there are no correct perfect answers. However, my husband, a mathematician, and economist said he chose mathematics because it has an answer, so he was attracted to it. I chose art, but I live with my husband, who likes the correct answer. My husband told me about the mathematician Cantor. Cantor said that mathematics and art are essentially the same in that they seek patterns in chaos and infinite freedom in rules.
A work of art is not wrong, but it is not without answers. The artist's mission was to constantly ponder art and try to find the answer to solve life's difficulties. In a way, in the name of art, this may or may not be suitable.
Through this story, I hope that the debate over whether the work is wrong or not becomes common so that more people will have an opportunity to think about an artwork again.
A yellow rose painting
BTS, a famous popular idol, released a new song called Butter that will melt the hearts of many people on May 21st. BTS became the first Korean pop group to be nominated at the Grammy Awards for best pop duo/group performance. If I look at the Korean community, someone sayings share the same opinion about BTS. The public watch their growth through the sincerity, passion for music, honesty, and innocence that BTS have created in music so far. Most of all, even those who do not know BTS music will have no choice but to like their music if they have watched the growth. Watching the process is really interesting and always creates tension and admiration. If you have a chance to show someone the process, it will be exposed moment by moment, so it seems that the eyes around you will be very concerned. Sometimes it can be stress itself. If they didn't love music, it would have been difficult to bear the tremendous pressure. I learn a lesson from the beautiful and robust attitude to their music.
The same goes for painting. If I don't have the passion for the process, I don't want to know more, and I want to only compete and win, I won't be able to paint a picture that comforts and touches people's hearts. So the more I draw, the more difficult it seems to be in dilemmas.
Someone once told me that he knew the owner of a famous painting selling site. So if I were to ask for a favor, in other words, if I open the back door and go in quietly, I'll catch a good opportunities to show my picture in the main display page. But I didn't it. Because first, I'm not a great artist, and above all, also I'm afraid that it will become a habit. In my opinion, the worst-case scenario is that easily achieved achievements become a habit. Once someone indulges in that sweet taste, they lose sight of the authentic flavor they can obtain through painting. So I believe that we should always be on the lookout for what is given without reason and effort. But after all these flavors, we face the biggest problem, the economic situation. It really can't be ignored. Such concerns are hidden in every corner of the lives of all painters. Above all, there is one thing that helps me overcome this ambivalence well and focus only on the painting itself. It is because the art lovers willing to buy the picture because they like the artwork itself.
To give up buying another to buy one piece of this paper! It is tough to explain. Sometimes I sell my paintings to buy an iPad. But painting lovers buy the paintings instead of buying an iPad. Actually, I often admire people who love and buy paintings more than people who draw.
Today, I prepared to ship Yellow Roses, the first painting of a painting flower shop that opened a few days ago. Because it is a paper painting, I am most concerned about the delivery. What if it gets wrinkled on the way? What if it gets wet? Like a mother sending her child to school, I worry about this and that. So first, I bought an acrylic plate to don't wrinkle and put the artwork in it. Even then, I was not relieved, so I put the painting in the acrylic bag again.
Finally, I made a card with a thank you message to the pretty heart that bought me the yellow rose, and I also included a vital invoice.
After all these preparations are done, tomorrow I will carefully post pictures.
Myungja Anna Koh