Be yourself! Love yourself!
Since I am a person who draws pictures, I always focus more on the story of painting when I watch the news or hear any radios. Today, the news about a watercolor painting by a 6-year-old girl named Edie living in England caught my eye. There were trees on both sides of the road, and the sky above it was a beautiful landscape painting dyed red.
The picture of her I saw is so beautiful. Most of all, it is surprising that a 6-year-old child tried to express the perspective of the trees and the shadows cast between them. And the sky is a pretty deep pink like the sunset. I think she is talented enough. And she is only six years old now. Her many hours and possibilities await her. Traveling while she is growing up, how many colors, shapes, and experiences will she expand her artistic world? It's really exciting just thinking about it. I often understand Picasso's saying that all children are artists. Joseph Beuys, the painter whom I admire, expressed a similar thing. Every life that creates and strives to make life beautiful is called an art.
But the teacher who saw this picture wrote that the picture was wrong.
"How can art be wrong? Please send me a message of consolation to read the child."
Her mother wrote the above text below the teacher's comments and sent it back.
After seeing this post, Rochelle Riley, Director of Arts and Culture of the City of Detroit, immediately posted on Twitter, "I want to buy Edie's painting." Riley and celebrities and artists sent messages of support such as 'I want to buy a painting' and 'I want to make a postcard and have it.
It is reassuring to know that many people already know that there is no correct answer in art. All of the artworks were born from the hand of an artist, but it's entirely up to the viewer to feel it, to appreciate it, to understand it. However, those who say that the creative work that contains the creator's soul is wrong as a personal criterion are because they do not fully understand the concept of art.
There are correct answers in many fields of the world, and there is fierce competition according to the right answers and the correct path. Many people are disappointed, frustrated, and hurt a lot in the race with the correct answer. Some stop themselves because they feel they will never be able to finish the race perfectly. In a tragedy like this, I think art should show people that there is no exhaust answer in the world. And I hope that we can get away from the stress of perfection in that art, stop competing for a while, hold each other's hands and laugh out loud once.
One day in the past, on a trip to Rome, Italy, I saw an artist who was so great that it was a turning point in my life. People were sitting cooling off in front of a fountain in a small town square in Rome. A white-haired old man was showing his finger puppet show on the mobile theater he had carefully built right in front of the place. It was a hot day, and also the tourist was busy taking pictures of the surroundings, so they did not pay much attention to the old man's play. He was sweating, and no one was watching, but he put all his heart into his play. After finishing his performance, he hand out a piece of paper to those around him. Inside that piece of paper, the following phrases were written in several languages.
" Just be yourself and nobody will ever be able to tell you that you've done it wrong."
It was also written in Korean, friendly and kind. The moment I saw the paper, I felt like a bell was ringing in my head. It was as if he was urging me, who was wandering without finding my way, to hurry.
I am on the same path like him now, thanks to that beautiful and brave artist. And I still have that paper. More than ten years have passed, and the piece is now in tatters. But the message he gives becomes clearer in my life.
In my first exhibition in Germany, I put his image on canvas as if it were a wrong painting.
I couldn't take a picture at the time during the travel, so I had to draw a picture of him that I barely remembered. After that, I've added people who aren't interested in his play. In my painting, the elderly artist does not look around but sees his own path in front.
When I exhibited this painting, someone came to me and told me. "Oh, by the way, I think this picture is a bit wrong." I wanted to tell the story of the picture if she asked, but once she told me I was wrong, I should ask why. She said that it's not her style, but others would say it's wrong.
That's right. It's just not her style. So maybe? Most of the works in the first exhibition have sold out over the years, and I still have them in my hands. But I want to keep this drawing just like the paper he gave me.
And even now, I continue to draw only in my style. It makes me so happy to live my own life without living this other life. And I want to say that there is nothing wrong, as the artist in the Piazza Rome said.
I chose art because I like art, like our lives, there are no correct perfect answers. However, my husband, a mathematician, and economist said he chose mathematics because it has an answer, so he was attracted to it. I chose art, but I live with my husband, who likes the correct answer. My husband told me about the mathematician Cantor. Cantor said that mathematics and art are essentially the same in that they seek patterns in chaos and infinite freedom in rules.
A work of art is not wrong, but it is not without answers. The artist's mission was to constantly ponder art and try to find the answer to solve life's difficulties. In a way, in the name of art, this may or may not be suitable.
Through this story, I hope that the debate over whether the work is wrong or not becomes common so that more people will have an opportunity to think about an artwork again.
Myungja Anna Koh
Risk Weather by Girin Instruments