About my career
Why did I become a painter? What was my childhood dream? Am I living the life I longed for? Is there a gap between my dreams and reality? To find the answer to all of this, I remembered a scene from my childhood. And a piece of that childhood memory happens to be very closely connected to my current job as a painter. It's like waiting for a fateful meeting.
When I was little, I happened to stop by an atelier. It was before I entered school, so I remember when I was probably 6 years old. I was playing hide and seek with the kids that day too.
Then, by chance, I ended up in a neighborhood studio whose door was open. After the studio teacher went out for a while, there was no one in the room except for the hanging painting. I first hid under the easel, then got up and looked around. Then I saw a picture of a rabbit hanging on the wall. The painting was a rabbit, an old watercolor painting by the German artist Alfred Dürer. 'Hi! girl! ”. I can't forget that moment even now. It was as if the rabbit was saying hello to me. Is it a painting or a photograph? I was amazed and thrilled by the details of the painting, despite my young age. How intense this surprise was, I still keep in my heart the picture of a rabbit hanging on the wall so vividly and the amazement I felt when I saw it. And I was attracted like magic by the clear image of the rabbit, and I often went there to play, and there I met the young artist who taught me how to draw a rabbit for the first time. I don't remember her very well, but she was a young woman with long hair and always wearing an apron. She allowed me to stop by often and paint without paying tuition. Looking back, it seems that my dream of becoming an artist started right there.
But after that, I couldn't go to an art college to draw pictures smoothly and go on the path of a painter. It would have been the most perfect scenario if this whole journey had flowed smoothly and naturally like a sailboat with a fair wind, breaking through the sound of waves, but I had to face too strong opposition for that. My mother, who had no understanding of art and the artist's life and had already designed her child's life, was desperately against my path. Eventually, I had to give up my dream of becoming a painter. Instead, I had to make a living on my own. I entered nursing school and became a nurse and worked. I gave up my dream of being an artist and spent my youth taking care of patients at the hospital. However, I did not have any regrets or despair. I thought a lot about life and death while working as a nurse. And standing on the border, I was able to constantly think and ponder what life is and what human existence is. In the midst of these worries, I wanted to study more. After quitting her job as a nurse, she studied medical informatics for a master's degree and worked as a researcher at a research institute. My main job was to plan a program that provided medical information through a mobile phone. Then he got married and had a son.
I moved to Germany in 2006 because of my husband's job. That was a turning point in my life. I would not have realized that this was not the final destination, but another starting point, while watching the green field spread out beautifully like a chessboard on the plane taking off from Frankfurt Airport. In my early years, I suffered from homesickness and loneliness. Life abroad was not easy. I drew a picture to overcome depression. Germany's climate gave me an artistic impression, and art, or more precisely painting, became a hobby for survival. While my son was in preschool, I went to museum art class. One day my teacher asked me, "What is art to you?" "For me, art is just a hobby." I answered him He said, “Your answer sounds negative. Your drawing says you are already an artist” and “Go the artist way!” Despite his strong urging, I was still hesitant to change direction because I thought art was as far removed from my life as paradise.
But it didn't take too much time to change my mind. One day, I was walking through a dark underground parking lot where a ray of light could barely enter. Coincidentally, when I turned my head, I was fascinated by a shabby exhibition. There is no lighting, no pamphlets, and even a curator because it was an exhibition created by a few unknown artists. On the wall in the poorly lit parking lot, instead of a picture frame, artist tape was pasted around the picture to mark the framed area and the names of the artists. Through these underground exhibitions of unknown artists, I realized that art is not far from me, but is always with me even in the midst of difficulties. After the experience, I was immersed in painting like fate, not a hobby. Then one day I met Weiyang, a Chinese sculptor who lives next door. She became my friend because she and I share a similar passion for art. When she visited our house, I showed her my picture of her. She introduces the director of Foley Gallery, a local gallery in Karlsruhe, Germany. I had the opportunity to do an interview. After passing the interview, I finally had my first solo exhibition at the Folly Gallery in 2011.
Since 2011, I have held many exhibitions, mainly in my home, Karlsruhe, Germany and France. The exhibition at Speisehaus Gurke is the most memorable of its time. I exhibited 20 of my works on Korea, invited talented musicians, and held a small concert with poetry readings. It presented Korean art and music to a German audience. Through that experience, I learned that art is a bridge connecting different cultures. In 2013, I moved back to New York and continued to be an artist after moving. Everywhere in my life, art is always with me.
In the beginning, I drew with watercolor pencils. It is then used with acrylic paint. It is fun to express the impact of color and line, and acrylic is the best material for strong contrast. I think I get healing from reapplying a lot of wrong sketch lines. The acrylic medium shows how many wounds and mistakes can be healed and gives a nice message that "no one is perfect".
Also, watercolor is a good material for painting without any restrictions. The flow that spreads out of control without the constraints of watercolor conveys a kind of message of freedom to me. I often paint using watercolors because I want to capture the invisible energy of things. 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 highly 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.
Within the tapestry of my existence, art assumes myriad roles—mother, teacher, counselor, and friend. It embraces me with nurturing arms, imparting wisdom in strokes of pigmented embrace. Through this sacred bond, I discover solace and purpose, a sanctuary where my spirit soars.
As a mother, art cradles me, nurturing my creative essence with tender care. It breathes life into my dreams, shaping them into vibrant realities. With each stroke, a new creation is born, an extension of my soul, embraced with unconditional love. Art births me anew, bestowing upon me the courage to explore uncharted realms, where limitless possibilities await.
In the realm of art, I find a teacher, a sage of infinite knowledge. Its canvas becomes my classroom, a sanctuary of perpetual learning. It whispers secrets of color, form, and composition, unveiling the hidden language of beauty. With reverence, I absorb its teachings, honing my skills and expanding my artistic lexicon. Art, my patient tutor, guides me toward self-discovery and enlightenment.
In times of contemplation and solitude, art assumes the mantle of counselor. It listens to the whispers of my soul, interpreting my joys, sorrows, and aspirations. With each stroke, I excavate the depths of my being, unraveling the mysteries that lie within. Art becomes a vessel for introspection, allowing me to confront my innermost truths and find solace in the creative process. Through its gentle guidance, I unearth the fragments of my identity and embrace the journey of self-discovery.
Art, my faithful friend, stands beside me in both times of triumph and tribulation. It celebrates my victories, lending a hand in moments of exultation. It provides solace in moments of despair, offering a sanctuary where emotions find solace. In the realm of art, I find companionship, a loyal confidant who understands the language of my heart. Together, we navigate the vast landscapes of imagination, exploring uncharted territories hand in hand.
And amidst the tapestry of emotions and experiences, art weaves threads of humor. It dances with whimsy, infusing joy into my creative endeavors. Its playful brushstrokes invite laughter and mirth, reminding me not to take life too seriously. Art invites me to embrace spontaneity, to revel in the sheer delight of creative expression. In the realm of art, laughter becomes an essential ingredient, infusing my journey with lightness and levity.
Yet, beyond the confines of my personal artistic voyage, art serves a greater purpose. It becomes a catalyst for healing, touching the lives of others through the lens of my paints. Stories unfold as my art customers share their experiences of solace and transformation, testaments to the profound impact of art's embrace. It is this profound connection that fuels my tireless dedication, infusing my mission with purpose and conviction.
In the ebb and flow of my artistic pilgrimage, I remain steadfast. Art is not merely a pursuit of self-expression; it is a calling, a sacred duty to touch lives, to heal souls. It is through my brushstrokes that I seek to ignite sparks of hope, to offer solace and inspiration to those who gaze upon my creations. Each stroke, a testament to my unwavering commitment, resonates with the power to heal and transform.
Thus, I continue to toil, to pour my heart and soul onto the canvas, driven by a sense of purpose that transcends the confines of my individuality. Art, my eternal muse, propels me forward, urging me to share my passion and light with the world. In this symbiotic dance between artist and art, I find fulfillment, knowing that my humble creations carry the potential to heal, uplift, and ignite the embers.
Myungja Anna Koh