Art makes the invisible visible. So artists help people through painting to see the world from a perspective they never knew before when they looked at objects. So, as a result, artists help them realize the hidden beauty or some fact of the things they see. The objects look beautiful depending on wavelengths on the electromagnetic spectrum at which the sun's rays reach an object. Color is also the phenomenon or result of the refraction of light. Scientists have been trying to define these colors, and in the 20th century, they were finally able to report the consequences of each definition. The colors perceived by the human eye are wavelengths. The human eye only detects wavelengths between 380-789 nm. Our vision responds only to the narrow range of electromagnetic energy. Light is invisible to the naked eye due to infrared, radio waves, and ultraviolet. Newton used a prism to prove color, which is a component of light, and Einstein paid attention to the energy of light.
Whether scientists have proven it, the world is made up of invisible energy. The invisible energy determines the direction of the visible object behind it. Even in the first chapter of the Bible, it is stated that the invisible Word came first, and then visual the world was created later in the beginning.
I've learned that the color and beauty of an object are determined by the light hitting it, but I've been questioning them for a long time. So, how can we explain our dreams, which we unconsciously have in our minds at night, or images that pop up in our minds someday? In the unconscious world, there is no light, and objects look beautiful. Even when we imagine, even though there is no light or similar effect, but it makes an object look beautiful. It seems like the wonderful movie scenario that comes to our mind. So, what is the existence of an object, and what are light and energy? So, what determines beauty? Physical light or external wavelengths determine the beauty of things, but isn't it that some indefinable power within us creates the true beauty and images of objects?
At night, I often dream very colorful and vivid dreams. Some scenes are so real that I can actually draw them. Another night's dream has so many messages that it makes me want to describe it.
Moreover, I am trying to draw the invisible world based on these theories and philosophies. So when a beautiful image comes to mind, I rush to the studio to make it visible on a canvas. In order to come up with this idea, I need the energy that creates a reflection, that is, motivation. Its motifs come from emotional points such as love, inspiration, melancholy, and compassion, and these energies subconsciously create images related to objects in the head. When I have time, I express it on canvas or paper. I digitise it on a tablet when I'm still short on time.
I mainly painted pictures displaying such mental dynamics, vivid movements, and inner energies convert to trees or fish, such as nature in the early times. Lately, I try to draw whatever comes to mind without any restrictions about the subjects. When I get some inspiration from an event or experience, that energy creates a premier. And it is the work of putting that video into a picture. It's like making a movie. So, if there are no regular and typical patterns, but if you can feel some energy through these paintings, I would say that my work is successful. The story of the artworks is posting on the blog of my website, annakoh.com.
The ideal goal of my work is to express dreams ultimately. The color I saw in my dream has various spectrums that could not be shown with the world's existing materials. I'm trying to paint it, but I admit I don't have such optimized skill yet. But I'm trying my best to draw similarly. This is because the color produced by internal energy is different from the color produced by physical, external spotlight, infrared light, or ultraviolet light. I would be happy if I could show that such a color exists. This quest for color, light, and energy will continue to follow my work, and the process is always enjoyable. I want to share the joy of this kind of work with as many people as possible.
About my career
Once when I was a child, I happened to stop by my town’s Atelier by chance. I saw a picture of a rabbit hung on the wall. It looked like it wanted to tell me ‘Hi! Little girl! Welcome tell me more to my world!”. I cannot forget that moment, even today.
Later, I knew that the rabbit was the work of Alfred Duerer. Later on, I met a young women artist there. I was lucky to meet her. She kindly allowed me to come any time to her Atelier and taught me from time to time how to draw a rabbit. This was my first drawing. I decided to be an artist like her and did my best to go to an art school.
However, I faced opposition from my mother. She strongly opposed my dream. At that time, it was impossible to get entrance to a school without approval from a parent. She did not give me this approval, and instead she pushed me to enter a medical school. I learned the Science of Nursing, became a nurse, and worked at the Intensive Care Unit of a general hospital in Seoul for 3 years. Fortunately, I was satisfied with my job. Taking care of patients was meaningful for me and that healed myself too. One day I met the patient in a difficult situation because of his lack of medical information from medical staff. That motivated me to study medical informatics and I have got a master’s degree on medical informatics, two years later. I worked as a researcher for 6 years and designed medical contents based on my medical knowledge. Meanwhile, I got married and gave birth to my son.
In 2006, I relocated to Germany for my husband’s job. That was a turning point in my life. In the early year, I got homesickness and loneliness. Living in a foreign country was not easy. I tried to draw a picture in order to overcome depression. The German climate provided me artistic impression and art, painting more precisely, became a hobby for me to survive. I went to the art class in a museum while my son stayed in a kindergarten. Someday, the teacher asked me, “What is art for you?”. “It is just a hobby for me,” I answered him. He seriously advised me “I heard that it’s a really negative feeling. You’d better be an artist”, and he told, “Go to your way as an artist!”. Despite his strong recommendation, I still hesitated to change my direction because I supposed that Art is far away from my life like a paradise.
It did not take too much time to change my mind. When I walked through the underground parking lot, I found some people had an exhibition on the dark wall. That place did not have enough light and even passengers could not see their feet. However, the passion of artists made that dark place is a gallery. They used duct tapes instead of a frame and wrote their name on name cards truly. I realized that art is not far from me and it is always with me despite hardships. After the experience, I devoted myself to painting not as a hobby but as a destiny. One day, I met a Chinese sculpture artist, Wei Yang who lived the next door. She became a friend of mine because she and I share a similar enthusiasm for art. When she visited my home, I showed my paintings to her. She introduces me to the director of Poly gallery, which is a named local gallery in Karlsruhe, Germany. I could have an opportunity to take an interview. After passing the interview, I had finally my first exhibition in Poly gallery, 2011.
Since 2011, I have held many exhibitions around my place, Karlsruhe, Germany, and France. The exhibition in Speisehaus Gurke was the most memorable at that time. I exhibited 20 pieces of my artworks about Korea, invited talented musicians, and gave a small concert with a poetry reading. We showed Korean arts and music to German audiences. From that experience, I found that art is a bridge to connect to different cultures. In 2013, I moved again to New York and continued to work as an artist after moving. I will be with art everywhere in my life.
At the early stage, I did a dessin with a watercolor pencil. And then used with Acrylic paints. I’m pleased to express the impact of color and lines, and Acrylic is the best material to show a strong contrast. I feel to get healing from covering many wrong drawn sketch lines. Acrylic medium helps to show me how many hurts and mistakes can be healed and gives me a good message, “Nobody is perfect.”
Also, watercolor is a good material to paint without any restrictions. If I have limited time and I would like to paint it quickly, I would paint it with watercolor or watercolor pencils. Nowadays I have explored making a digital painting using Photoshops in a tablet. This experiment is important for me because I have a plan to combine art and medical content. I have also a passion to make high qualified medical contents with an artistic aspect. When I was in Germany, I have worked with an international team, who developed medical educational content. After the development, I could get a great chance to present our project in the European Informatics Society. I found the possibility of collaboration between art and the medical field. That is my next goal.
In my life, art is a mother, teacher, counselor, and friend, and sometimes gives me humor. Speaking of my personality, I am introverted and reserved. During my exhibition, some people considered me as a photographer and asked me to take a picture. They supposed my husband was the artist and asked him to explain my pictures. My family, husband, son, daughter is one team with my career. My husband helps to hang my artworks. My son, who can speak four languages, is a translator, and he reviews and edits my English document. My daughter gives me motivations, ideas, and inspiration with a funny smile.
I know that art may not make me rich but can give me the way how can I share my passion and inspiration with others. Sometimes my art customer shared with me their experiences how they were healed by my paints. It is a reason that I’m working hard and feel my mission firmly.