Exploring, Recapping my artworks.
When I was young, drawing was something that attracted my question in my mind. I felt a strong curiosity about feeling the unknown energy that moves human emotions in something drawn on a piece of paper. At that time, my heart felt like a child standing in front of a large tree. It was like an unspoken hint that one day I would know everything from the roots in the ground to the tops of the trees in the sky.
And I always drew with that mysterious enquiry. From my childhood until I debuted as an artist, I stood in front of paintings as if solving exam questions. The blank paper always felt like homework that had to be filled with something scary and had to be solved. However, as I was drawing the painting, I had to realize that the colors and shapes on the flat white surface were quietly speaking to me like a tree map.
After debuting as a painter in Germany, I thought that the answer to my childhood questions was the invisible energy contained in objects. So I wanted to capture that energy and draw it. The ‘Overcoming Series’ below is a series of works I painted with acrylic in my early days. I spontaneously and without hesitation put the energy I felt onto a large canvas. Wood has always been a good material because I had to depict invisible energy. I discovered that a tree that seemed to be tightly closed felt like a huge crystal of life made up of countless energies. When viewed from the side, it appears to be dead, but inside, it is born times, blooms, endures wind and rain, and lives on, resembling human life. I encapsulated this energy in my canvas and painted many tree series.
As I was drawing trees like this, I suddenly felt the illusion that the flat canvas looked like space. This canvas was not paper, but the large door I faced as a child. Then I mustered up the courage to knock on the door and push it with my palm. Then the canvas changed from being a flat surface to a huge door. In that space, I discovered a framework that moves to another dimension beyond reality and pictures. This gave me infinite freedom.
I captured this spiritual experience and drew the images that came to my mind. And I experienced that images drawn in my mind and invisible images were shown in reality beyond the space of the picture. I finally began to understand the painting I was most curious about, Velazquez's Las Meninas. The exact space he wanted to talk about a long time ago. I opened the door to another world in front of that space.
Then, I realized that the boundaries between brushes and materials, the medium for expressing my inspiration, were becoming blurred. If I wanted to express myself, it didn't have to be a brush. One day, I drew a picture while holding a balloon in my hand instead of a brush. Because the brush was too heavy to express my inspiration. I put acrylic on the balloon and drew a picture as if stamping it. The patterns in the picture showed me that it was the dream garden I dreamed of as a child. I felt happy in that garden.
The life of an artist can also be explained through the journey of my paintings. I used to not be able to confidently call myself an artist. This was because I only focused on the external conditions of being an artist. However, as I live as an artist, I have realized one thing. That is, visible conditions do not create artists. The conditions for becoming an artist were very similar to the process of drawing a picture. Just as the invisible energy and traces of patience and overcoming in a tree create the shape of a tree, the artist's time of patience and passion also creates a great artist.
There are so many people in the world who are good at drawing. Such people, and sometimes geniuses, will shine brilliantly with numerous works and careers even during this time. However, we artists are all bound to meet each other at God's door in the end. And this story is also a famous quote from Lee Hyun-se, a Korean painter whom I respect. External conditions are of no help when opening that door. At that time, like a tree, the door will be opened with the energy of overcoming, persevering, and holding on for a long time. And we will face God. In that sense, at some point, I realized that drawing became more comfortable.
And if I am not sincere, honest, and pure in front of my paintings, I will know it myself and I know that everyone in the world will know one day. So, I feel that as time goes by, my painting and creative process loses its complex techniques and becomes simpler. Also, I stand in front of lovers who love paintings and my paintings more carefully and with sincerity.
And ultimately, the conclusion of my work is always connected as one.
That is ‘love’.
As a child, I stood under a huge tree called ‘Art.’ Under the tree, I was a little child. I couldn't see the ends of the tree branches from my eye level. The lonely falling leaves touched my head. I was a lonely girl. But even at that moment, I was growing like a tree and continue to grow. Eventually I looked up and saw the end of the tree. I felt the dazzling sunlight and ultimately realized that there was love above it. In the end, art did not betray me. Like a tree that gives generously, it gave me the gift of ‘love’ through art. And I realize that this is the energy I must express as an artist in the future.
My creative journey will continue along with the ‘love’ that art gives me.
Myungja Anna Koh