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    The most beautiful days in your life

    • Exhibition Details

      Jo Min Young
      Oct 12 - Dec 16, 2022

      2F, 16-4, Dosan-daero 81-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

    • Artist


    "The moment of the most wonderful magic for the saddest moment"

    The most beautiful days in your life
    Born in 1966, Jo Min-young graduated from the Department of Oriental Studies at Hongik University in Seoul. She also studied art in Saint-Etienne, France, where she flew at the age of 26. After living there for more than 20 years, she returned to Korea. But she was not very actively working as an artist. The first time I got to know her was from a show on the airwaves. She was an owner and chef who ran a French restaurant. It was a big surprise to see her as a chef, not a painter. What was going on with her? However, she was rather calm and confident in taking orders from customers and making the food they want.

    On the other hand, from that show, she was also introduced as a painter who paints stray dogs. Her paintings were very attractive. It was just amazing that the beautiful colors and the faces of sadly abandoned dogs could be captured so precisely. It was full of affectionate attention and care that people would never know without observation and love for animals.
    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.
    Please tell us about the artist's work style.
    I dare to say that I am a very lazy painter. I don't work hard. But I think very hard instead. Then, I roll and draw a few points at once. As a result, I don't like and can't do metallurgical work in my spare time. In the end, I always compromise with myself that I should spend more time looking and pondering than drawing.

    How do you find the subject to draw? Was it the people or dogs the author met?
    The subject of my paintings is always ‘someone’. There are many more models I haven't met. Once I look at a certain photo, find a motif, and work on fitting it in a way into my own painting. Therefore, it is expressed as ‘someone’ that exists but does not exist.

    What is the most important thing to you when working?
    Wouldn’t it be a 'message'? I think the language I want to convey through paintings is my work.
    What works will be featured in this exhibition?
    I don't paint a lot of animal pictures these days, so it's probably mostly portraits. Speaking of a series of characters with a lot of pink that I used recently, it was an opportunity to be surprised at how serious our prejudice about colors is in certain emotions. When I just say pink, I think of it as bright, glaring, and happy, but while I expressed sadness in pink, I was surprised myself. It's also a color I don't usually use, but I just thought it wasn't suitable for expressing the emotions I wanted, but it was an unexpected combination.

    On what basis, did you choose the portraits?
    There were no specific criteria for selection. However, this time, I finished a lot of unusually old people and foreigners by adding a lot of bright colors. I think the reason why I did is just that I had some regrets about life. I wanted to reveal the emptiness of life such as ‘Life is but a dream’. Regardless, I put a lot of pink in it and it matched surprisingly well, so I was both happy and surprised.

    This exhibition is the first to be held at JW Art Gallery. How do you feel?
    The fact that this is JW ART GALLERY’s first exhibition is quite impressive, but I also feel that the preparations were a bit inadequate. JW is a place that has a lot of consideration for artists like me. Gratefully, I got heard that I can draw what I want. Thanks to that, it seems like I did what I really wanted to do. I didn't draw as many portraits as I thought I would, but after drawing for over a year, I feel like I know what I wanted to draw little by little. I don't know when the next exhibition will be held again, but I'm trying to work on more things I want.
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