|▲ Korean painting artist Moon Young-mee|
Korean painting is often quoted as art of ink, of black and white, and of space. Material-wise, ink undoubtedly is most commonly used in almost all Korean paintings as it was used widely in calligraphy and books also. It is only natural for many Koreans to be familiar, and even intimate, with ink whether it is calligraphy or painting.
Some say that the very smell of ink blows their mind away and they cannot help taking up a brush everyday. And a Korean painting artist Moon Young-mee is one of them. Enchanted by this unique smell of ink long time ago, it has driven her to go through 5 solo exhibitions and more than 100 group and invitational exhibitions home and abroad for the last 27 years.
She won a special prize at the 33rd Grand Art Exhibition of Korea in the category of Korean painting and was appointed as a judge at the 44th of the same exhibition.
In fact, she started with calligraphy at first. Then experimented her artistic talent to literati painting before indulging in the charm of Korean painting. Despite different genres, however, she kept one thing in common and that is to use ink. Not many people around her recognized her talent or helped her make presence in the field. So she had to work double harder than the learned and the connected.
Considering this self-motivation and drive, it is remarkable that she held her first solo exhibition in Turkey in 2012 followed by winning a special selection at the Grand Art Exhibition of Korea in 2014 and another solo exhibition at the Kyungin Museum of Fine Art the next year. The exhibition in Turkey was organized in an effort to show respect to soldiers fought alongside South Korea during the Korean War.
"I felt a bit naked as it was my first solo exhibition. Then I was touched by encouragement from the visitors and it made me pushed forward the follow-up exhibition of the Grand Art Exhibition of Korea in 2014 and another solo exhibition at the Kyungin Museum of Fine Art the next year" says Moon.
Flower is the most commonly used object found in her works. She pours each different expression into each different flower as a symbol of inner world of man.
"Making each expression right requires delicate execution of lines. Naturally, the faces deepen these expressions and delicacies. So I give more focus on lines as faces are eventually made from drawing lines."
Color, of course, is unmissable also as the level of depth, lightness and clearness often comes from it. Moon uses colors layer upon layer in order to create the colors she desires. It is important for her not to use acrylic but the traditional bunchae and sukchae methods for this reason.
"I wish my works would give hope, ease and strength to people. As an artist, I feel most proud of myself when seeing them leaving the exhibition at least with one of these three so that they can carry on their life in full."
Moon was greatly inspired by Greenpia Cosmetics CEO Choi Jang-won who emphasized importance of training oneself hard in working and reading instead of being greedy.
"It kept me going even in times of hardship. I have become used to reciting the praise again and again and I think it makes me humble and thankful and my works deeper and mature."
Alongside her creative zeal, Moon is enthusiastic about fostering talented future artists at the moment.
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