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.
When I first moved internationally from Germany to Stony Brook, there were so many things to do, such as opening an account, finding a house, registering my son's school, making a friend, and so on. But, most of all, my husband was at work, my son was in school, and I lived a hard life as an immigrant with painting and housework. Additionally, I've heard that there are many gun accidents in the United States, but the thin door always gave me fear, and I was surprised to hear that even the sound of a flat tire on the road was a gunshot. Everything felt new and strange and cold as if trapped in a small island. But we got used to it step by step with the help of the neighbors around us. At first, we were not aware that we had immigrated because we temporarily moved for work.
The picture below is a picture depicting a scene from the first exhibition in New York, walking away from home at night.
As time goes by, 2014, Myungja Anna Koh
However, as we gradually get used to the surroundings and live longer by receiving green cards, we eventually realize that we are the first generation of immigrants. And now, I live with a sense of duty to be the hometown of our children's hearts. But as we were getting accepted to the sad, lonely, complicated, and rewarding lives of immigrants, we faced a pandemic.
Probably, when the whole world sees New York, I think they're probably thinking somewhere in hell. It was my first time in a foreign country, so I was bewildered.
But even though we were confined like that, we survived by comforting and cheering each other and exchanging information. At the time, I thought about whether offline exhibitions would be possible in the future, but now the gallery is finally opening an offline show. The member exhibition will be held at the Millpond House Gallery from June 19th to July 18th.
"You make me smile" to introduce through this member show is a digital painting. Due to the sudden and unexpected pandemic last year, many people lost their laughter and hope. We are slowly returning to our daily lives, but we still have wounds, anxiety, and fears in our hearts. This painting is an expression of the little smile my 4-year-old daughter showed me when the coronavirus peaked last year. When I heard the depressing news, I looked at the pictures stored on my phone, and my daughter took her selfie unwittingly. As soon as I saw the photo, I laughed out loud. Then I drew it digitally in the hope that everyone would laugh again. And like this laughter, I hope that we will soon find our pre-corona daily life ultimately.
Psychologist Sigmund Freud once said, "Humor is an adult sense of liberation that brings us back to the playful state of mind of infancy." A childlike laugh and humor like this make a bleak life happy. In 2019, In Korea, among the travel photos that people took while traveling, they collected and exhibited pictures that made people laugh.
In this attempt by the brave people, the people who looked at the photos had fun together. Now, like in 2019, it has become a hope that we will be able to return to our daily life and get these travel photos again, but we believe that we will find laughter again.
Although the doors are still open now, people are afraid and worried. But still, I believe we will get through it better. 'Cause, we're the ones who make each other smile.
Around this time last year, New York was the epicenter of the coronavirus. My daughter was taking a Montessori school class online at the time. One day, I received an email asking me to take it through the drive-thru as the teacher would hand out seeds. At that time, I was afraid to go outside, but I carefully received them while keeping a distance of 6 feet. There were two kinds of seeds, one flower seed, and the other tomatoes. So my daughter and I went out to the yard and planted flower seeds with all our hearts and soul. Then, we sang a song, "one seed" (by the Laurie Berkner band) together.