The New York Art Expo
Today, I attended the graduation ceremony for my daughter's Pre-K. Yesterday we received the latest updated notice from the school district stating that it is okay to hold a large gathering, not wearing a mask, and not keeping 6 feet apart. Compared to the situation last year where no event could be held, I am grateful for today's extraordinary situation. Before the ceremony, my husband, who was sitting next to me, asked me to look at the sky for a moment. It wasn't even after it rained, but I can see a rainbow around the bright sunlight.
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.
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.
Members show case
When I first moved internationally from Germany to Long Island, 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.
Myungja Anna Koh