New painting, Cityeye
As a child, I lived in a city. All the time, I breathe smoky smoke profoundly and heard the car's horn sound several times a day. And I grew up seeing crowded people on the street all the time. Maybe that's why, even now, when I almost fall asleep and hear the sound of a car or a big truck passing by outside, I feel nostalgic as if I was back in my childhood.
after rain, 2020, Myungja Anna Koh
Especially at dawn, when I hear the wheels sounds of a car or people passing by making noise around me, my childhood memories are often called out. Maybe that's why I drew a picture called "City Tree" with these memories in the past.
Tree branches are swaying above the apartments at dark night. Countless square lights from the apartment windows are reflected brightly between trees. Once upon a time, I saw a picture drawn by my nephew. The trees were always smaller than the house in the picture. More than anything, after sketching the apartment very large, he draws the tree tiny compared to it. I found it very peculiar. Because, in my childhood memories, my trees were always bigger than the house. The size of nature I felt was always grand and overwhelming. Sometimes when the heavy rain and wind blew strong enough, I felt fear. However, children who grow up in cities have fewer opportunities to feel this nature's power. Trapped in a high concrete building, they cannot afford to experience the message or energy of nature. Therefore, the size of nature they feel is always insignificant. The trees in my paintings completely reject the artificial energy emanating from the square window light emitted by these apartments. They somehow move and try to show their presence in front of them. All ordinary people are trapped in the same space and life. The city trees send an infinite message to modern people who do not feel the energy of nature. They stand constantly with shaking and rustling. City Tree was created based on these contents.
And recently completed a digital artwork called "City Eye." It is a simple work made using Photoshop on the tablet, but my thoughts and concerns about the city are all contained in it.
Have you ever looked up at a magnificent building from top to bottom when visiting a metropolitan area like New York or Seoul? Our point of view always weakens the existence of nature, like a painting drawn by our nephew. Because, as we know, we are part of that nature. Sometimes it seems that we are controlled by an artificial environment. When I walk the streets of New York, I often feel overwhelmed by its grandeur and splendor. Then whenever I see the beautiful red geraniums planted around the restaurant, I feel a little relieved. There is a force that such a colossal building gives. So I changed the viewpoint this time. That is a top-down view. Perhaps a flying bird, insect, or even extraterrestrial life from a distant universe might see our city this way. In the middle, you can see a blue river like a human eye. The center of the river opens like an iris, and light leaks out. The light swirls the river and converges the building in the middle. I got the idea that the energy that makes these cities, that is, people, who are the subjects of power, are also part of nature. Finally, I paid attention to the power of the invisible spirit that creates a large visible city. How we use and control this energy depends on what direction and angle the human eye sees, so the city's future seems to be determined.
It would be nice if nature and the city coexist. I hope that an environment where we can embrace each other and coexist is universal.
Bal du moulin de la Galette
Today, I attended a baby shower party for my friend's third baby. Outdoors, safely and stylishly, beautiful women shared congratulatory messages with each other. Although we are going through a difficult time due to the pandemic, everyone is happy when we think of a baby who is about to be born in the world with new hope. I also joined with a joyful heart waiting for the birth of a new baby.
A baby shower (English: baby shower) is an event to celebrate an imminent pregnant woman or a newborn baby. It is becoming increasingly common in Canada, the United States, and other countries. It is mainly hosted by pregnant women's best friends between 8 and 9 months of pregnancy. The meaning of shower here also means that friendship is pouring down like a shower. Historically, there is a theory that it was started by Franz Schauer, a German silversmith. He came to America in the 18th century.
After all, the best friend is hosting a party for her pregnant friend. 8-9 months pregnant women can know the gender of the baby to some extent, and they are in a relatively stable stage and have to endure a boring time before giving birth. Mainly women gather to chat, play games, and have photo time. I attended a first-time baby shower party after 8 years of immigrating to the United States. In Korea, there is no particular party for pregnant women that are traditionally passed down. When the Korean baby turns 1 year old, I remember having a memorable and grand party called a first birthday party. In that sense, a party designed for pregnant women is a fresh and good idea for women personally. The baby shower party I attended today was perfect and professional, from the table setting to the decor. Watching this party reminds me of Renoir's paintings I saw a lot as a child.
When I was a child, I could see Renoir paintings in calendars and textbooks frequently. In particular, Renoir's painting, Moulin de la Galette Ball, was so often seen that it was imagined with my eyes closed. Impressionist painters are loved by people worldwide, but Renoir is perhaps the most popular among them. Renoir's paintings make you feel bright, cheerful, and happy. The people who appear in his paintings are all stylish, beautiful, and relaxed. And always smiling. The sunlight shining on beautiful people who are nicely dressed and smiling is so warm. Looking at his paintings, the sadness, pain, and difficulties in the world feel foreign, as if they were only for a limited class. The background of the work is the ballroom of the Moulin de la Galette in Montmartre, Paris. Parisians would dress up in fancy clothes on Sunday afternoons to spend time dancing and chatting. When I was a child, I spent a lot of time looking at this painting and imagining and looking into each character in the picture.
Especially when I'm lonely and my heart hurts, looking at this picture makes me happy. The mother and daughter in the image seem to talk to me with their friendly eyes. Just by looking at these bright and straightforward people, I think we can have the same energy. In life, you will meet someone who gives you such radiant energy. Just standing next to them makes you happy. Whenever I see such people, I think of them as Renoir's picturesque people. After attending Renoir's one-of-a-kind dramatic baby shower party, I feel the happy energy they conveyed. We hope that they and their newborn baby will grow up healthy and comfortable in this happy energy.
Energy from our nature
When I first moved to Germany, one of the biggest motivations was to find an environment where my weak son could grow up healthily. Wouldn't it be great if a child who had to go through more pain and hard work than others right after birth could breathe better air, run freely on the green grass, and live a healthy life without the stress of studying or competition? Without hesitation, I gave up all my careers in Korea and boarded a plane to Germany.
But one thing I was missing was the hidden risks to take for such ideal life. Arriving in Germany, as I dreamed and wanted, my child was able to live a stress-free life in the fresh air and a beautiful nature, but shortly after moving, he had to suffer from an unknown fever. The doctor told me that my son had to continue testing and that had to be hospitalized for five days to do this. I was very confused because I was not used to living abroad yet and I had to get such a hard time without any help. The decision to be hospitalized, let my child stay in the strage hospital, and going home to pick up the child's clothes, toys and food are traumatic enough to be portrayed. I had to change buses to get off the tram and go home. But the bus comes every 30 minutes. I couldn't afford to wait that 30 minutes because I left the child in the hospital and promised to come soon. So I ran as fast as I could on that long road that took 30 minutes by bus.
After running for a while, I suddenly burst into tears. Why is life so hard? I still remember that day. It was beautiful weather that is rare in Germany, where the sky was clearly cobalt blue, and the sun was bright. The world is so beautiful, but I was running with tears in my eyes. My heart ached a lot. I was exhausted from running and walking and running again, and suddenly a beautiful cosmos blooming on the road caught my eye. Why was the flowers so pretty? For a moment, I could forget my situation of being sad. Something warm and deep comfort came to me. It was a deep comfort that I received from nature. Even this tiny and delicate flower weathered the rain and wind and bloomed beautifully,and then I think my son can do the same... I could get great energy of hope in my heart.
I have seen such as the same natural energy from the trees in Long island. Some day, I drove in my car and trapped in a traffic jam on the road, and started to find some interesting point to release my annoyment over the window. At the time, I found the strange-shaped tree on the street near my car. Why didn't the tree grow up straight as a normal tree surrounding it? It was curved and curved like a spring coil and then it looked like more smaller than others.
The tree had a unique shape that was different from other trees. Perhaps there was something in the way or it was heavy storm frequently. The unusual tree gave me energy and strength. Even that little tree lives without giving in like that.
When I returned home, I drew this natural energy diligently. The picture drawn with such a heart is the Overcoming series. I want to share the energy of hope I received from nature with as many people as possible.
I have traveled and lived in many countries and met many people. I have laughed and cried together after hearing their stories. Recently I listened to the news about a person who I broke up with her seriously before. She had the sad life story that her son was ill when I first met her. She eventually had felt into heresy because unable to accept her suffering in her life. Until now, she eat pee of her master, believes in her master, and hopes that the cult's master will resolve her life problems. In the past, I have asked her to go out of there strongly. But I know. It's tough for her to come back. Still, she has not been able to break free from that cult and is living with spreading rumors intensely that she is living well thanks to that cult.
The world is like that. A tree would be a great mentor. Even when they twisted and bent, they keep their pride and live their own lives. They stand tall and write their own history by themselves, not in the hands of others. When this energy is gone, your life is controlled by others. If someone manipulate your thought and plans , you don't live your life freely. It is excruciating to live a life where other people intervene. It is also unfortunate to entrust one's autonomy and rights to others and to think that it is convenient, easy, and safe. I have to look at my paintings and talk every day. Anna, be yourself! Nobody live instead of you.
Holy family, 1631, Jacques Blanchard, Karlsruhe. Staatliche Kunsthalle.
When I lived in Germany, the place I lived in, Karlsruhe, was a small city with a population of about 300,000. Still, in the town center, there is well-equipped cultural infrastructure such as museums, art galleries, zoos, opera houses, and universities, so anyone who wants to can walk from the city within 30 minutes for enjoying civilized life. I lived a cultural life to my heart's content in a place located on the street. Even thinking about it now, I think I was really fortunate.
Kunsthalle was my favorite cultural facility, and it was an art museum run by the city. Every Thursday in Karlsruhe is Culture Day, where admission to all cultural facilities in the city is free, and I made good use of this day. And later, I took a sketching class run by an art museum, and that class is still helping me a lot. The teacher encouraged me a lot, and she said that she thought I was an art student at first. As an Asian, I might have looked a little younger. Then she said, "A person who knows the alphabet and can write can't go back to school to learn the alphabet again. Keep drawing. Make your own picture." I still thanked her for it.
One day, in that sketch class, I see a fascinating drawing.
It is a painting of the family of Jesus.
I was surprised that it was so different from the picture of the Jesus family that I knew.
Most of the sanctifications are holy, and Jesus in them is always calm and mature. At that age, they don't flirt or get into trouble like the average child. From a young age, something different from others is transmitted. Even a round disk, or headlight, always wraps around the head. Mary and Joseph are also gentle, beautiful, and perfect faces that transcend the world. There is no sign of tiredness in taking care of the baby, and she is perfect, literally best mom.
But the picture is described correctly in details.
It was painted in 1631, and I can feel the genius of the painter at that time.
Maria looks tired from taking care of the baby. Her hair is not well-arranged, she has no makeup, and she looks frizzy. The eyes are also slightly swollen. You probably know when you see a mother caring for a baby. And her eyes are always paying attention to her baby touching something dangerous. A mother cannot take eyes off her baby for a minute or a second. You never know what they're going to eat, touch something dangerous, or do something dangerous. So mom is always tired. Jesus in the picture is probably trying to touch the porridge given by dad, Joseph. Ah... he's a genius. Aren't our children like that? When my children were little, when we tried to feed them, it was difficult because they kept touching the bowl or trying to play with the spoon. While Mary is holding her baby, Joseph tries to feed the baby, Jesus. But the baby Jesus takes the spoon and tries to play with it. As you know, a baby loves to play with spoon, he sees himself in the mirror-liked spoon. Joseph has to be careful not to lose the spoon. After all, could baby Jesus successfully eat that bowl of porridge? Could he possibly have stolen a spoon, spilled a bowl, or crushed it? like us
Whenever I have a strangely difficult time, a scene with this painting comes up from the memories in my head and comforts me. And sometimes I complain.
God, the owner of all things, was under the love and care of humans for a short time. Could you remember those times and please show mercy to us when we humans are in such a difficult time?
And strangely, that picture was very comforting to me.
You might think of this picture whenever you feel tired, depressed, and empty in the splendid lives of stars and people shown 24 hours a day on Instagram or the media. Because, in fact, it is our real life. And because that's who we really are. Behind the splendor, there is a hidden pain. Have you ever felt depressed and thought that the visible is all?
I would like to see more works that make the invisible visible, like the painter Jacques Blanchard who painted this picture in 1631.
And I hope that there will be more mature people who know the true meaning and attitude of life to take care of themselves, take care of their surroundings, and take care of society to share their hearts more.
In reality, it is tough to console. How many people in the world can genuinely comfort that person at the level of their eyes? And as life gets busier and tougher, these messages of comfort and love seem to disappear more and more.
Perhaps the French painter is not so different from yours in our lives for today when the message of love and consolation long ago disappears. Couldn't it be that he wanted to comfort him by telling him to be brave and love him?
One hundred years ago, the Spanish Flu ravaged the world for over three years. The Spanish Flu is a flu that first appeared in 1918 and killed between 25 and 50 million people worldwide in two years.
Historic demographer Dr. Svenn-Erik Mamelund attempted to study this. He looked at patients in psychiatric wards in Norway from 1872 to 1929. And they found that the number of hospitalized patients for mental disorders caused by influenza increased 7.2-fold in the six years following the Spanish flu epidemic.
The background of the period from 1918 to 1920, when we were suffering from the aftermath of the war and the Spanish Flu, is in many ways similar to the way we are suffering from the coronavirus today. It can be seen that not only the physical illness caused by Corona but also the psychological and psychological pain must be treated.
We suffered from the coronavirus last year, but this year we got the vaccine again and wanted to return to daily life, but then again, we found out about the existence of the delta mutant virus. Lately, I've heard the ambulance so often that I can't believe it. I am comforted by thinking of a painting by an artist 400 years ago at this time of exhaustion. And I also hope to draw such a picture that can give comfort.
Art is a role as an energy booster in our life
Last year, when everyone had to isolate at home in the early days of Pandemic, there was a person around us who made and delivered food for quarantined Koreans. Literally, she was an essential worker for us. Koreans consistently miss their hometown and want to eat Korean food as they eat in hometown, even if they live in the United States, where ingredients are readily available. However, no matter how hard they try, they cannot bring out the taste of their hometown. Something is missing. In Korea, it says that it is the lack of 2 %.
As I always feel, I also left Korea in 2006 and have lived for 15 years in the other countries, and I should have cook by myself for a long time without mother's help. So, Naturally, my cooking skills improved a lot. Sometimes while I cook myself , I pride myself on being good at cooking, but I admit that I can never fill in this lack of 2 percent.
Because it needs a mother or grandmother's recipe in a word that requires more love and devotion that cannot be found in recipes that fit scientifically. The emotion is definitely essential to make the food deep flavour, but those who have tasted it will probably know what I am talking about. But I'm lucky. There are two such people in our town. Also, like the drama Jang Geum Yi, which was once very popular in Korea, it was about the story of excellent cook in the palace. She has the nickname Jang Geum Yi and is very good at cooking. I'm apparently fortunate.
During the pandemic last year, one of those people who lived close to our town took the risk and delivered the food. Besides she helped with needy students who are isolated and unable to afford food. Whenever I feel this beautiful heart in my life, I feel relieved that our world is still livable.
She delivered the house one by one and left a message.
" Eat deliciously and stay healthy and overcome the coronavirus. Thank you always. "
Fantastic food delivered with her message and her invisible warm heart hidden in the visible food helped me warmly spend the difficult time. She was, in a word, an surprising energy booster. Nowadays she has completed all her missions perfectly and successfully, and has gone on vacation for a while to help her daughter in Alabama. I always miss that food so much during her absence.
Another energy booster was the messages my Bulgarian friend sent me last year. She asked me regards very often and sent pictures of them as well. Especially on Easter, in the United States, there is an special event where colorful Easter eggs are placed in the front yard of a church or school, and children carry baskets and go around to pick up the plastic eggs. The eggs contain various candies and toys, which the children love. But last year, the event was stopped due to the coronavirus. My friend took pictures of the eggs she had made and sent them to each other to comfort during Easter. I still feel gratitude at that time, no matter why that picture was so comforting to me.
And last week, we were both sick and weary, but a neighbor who lives next door picked up his own vegetables, put them in a paper bag, and left them at the door. When our hearts were desperate and troubled, we looked at the vegetables, and they seemed to glow. Perhaps her love came out and wrapped around us.
My husband made an incredible dish by mixing freshly picked cucumbers with red pepper powder, vinegar, salt, and sugar.
And yesterday, my friends sent me a message saying that they would do some grocery shopping for us who couldn't go to the supermarket for a while. It is spontaneous, beautiful, and wonderful.
There are many energy boosters around me in various shapes like this. Without any religious or business interest, they gave strength when we were weary, courage when we were hopeless, a friend when we were lonely, and help when we needed help.
As a painter, can I paint pictures that give energy like these? It seems like an arduous task for me. Because I know their courage and the depth of their love and kindness. And I admit that it's hard to do even if I try.
How happy would I be if my drawings could at least be an energy booster for people? In order to do that, I think the first step is to become someone who gives energy to someone.