Since when, did you want to become a painter?
My father was a painter, too. When I was young, whenever I went into my father's studio and rubbed a brush on the canvas, I liked the harsh sound strangely. Moreover, my father also graduated from the same art school, and he was very proud of it. As far as we have known, the university is the best art school in Korea.
Unfortunately, my father has been battling the disease for over 30 years. Since he collapsed due to a cerebral hemorrhage, he was unable to use his right hand. He is still working with his left hand, though. His eyes are not clear, so I don't think it's not a work of art. He rather relieves his regrets about what he doesn’t really want to let go of. It seems to have naturally permeated my life under the influence of my father like that.
Please tell us what motivated you to start drawing abandoned dogs.
I once participated in volunteer activities for abandoned dogs along with my friend. That became the trigger. It was a time when I was weak physically and mentally after experiencing a lot of pain, but I felt so bad about the abandoned dogs. At that time, it was before I resumed work and it was very hard on me. However, drawing abandoned dogs was the only way I could show my feelings and support as an artist. So, I started drawing them as participatory rather than working.
Although known as an 'artist who paints abandoned dogs', the artist's beautiful portraits stand out in a way. What topics are you working on these days?
At the end of the Hankyoreh newspaper company’s ‘Animal People’ essay series, I needed to establish my work. I was asking myself if I was truly an animal artist. On one side of my mind, I had a desire and thirst for portraits. It's only these days that I've been literally enjoying my work centered on portraits. At this point, I want to say that the basis of my work is ‘dignity’ for human beings. Just like when working on abandoned dogs, ‘dignity for life’ was the foundation of that time.
What is your passion for painting, adventures, challenges, and future plans?
As in Seoul, working as an artist could not be the main thing in my life. Because the financial part had to be solved to live. So, we had no choice but to set up a workspace on one side of the restaurant. Fortunately, I was able to endure this reality because I was able to work freely with the income from the restaurant. Since the restaurant runs 100% by reservation, I drew pictures on days during my break. It was possible because there was always a lack of time to work and there was a thirst for it. But unfortunately, my health is not helping it. The adventures, challenges, and plans I want to have as an artist are too abstract for now. The only promise I can make to myself is to keep doing it, as long as the circumstances allow.