That's right, we get off at Nambu Bus Terminal in Seocho, Gangnam and walk out of exit number 5. Now go up the street a little bit then make a left, heading towards the Seoul Arts Center.
And on your way notice a lovely flower in the rain.
Walk up a hill a little bit to come to a busy road where across the street you can see the megalithic building that is the Seoul Arts Center.
Find your way to the exhibit and buy a ticket. We are ready to journey through the world of illustration.
What is illustration? My friend Wikipedia says:
An illustration is a visualization such as a drawing, painting, photograph or other work of art that stresses subject more than form. The aim of an illustration is to elucidate or decorate textual information (such as a story, poem or newspaper article) by providing a visual representation.In other words these are the artistic pages we saw in our beloved children's books. But as an art form it is more serious. My stepmother is becoming an illustration artist and trying her best to get into the industry. So I thought I would take the journey into this exhibit so to bring back a story to her when I visit in August. Other than that I was also interested in what I would see at an illustration exhibit.
Well then let's go in shall we?
The interior was set up in a very colorful and imaginative way. Had I known the exhibit was going to be favored by kindergarten and middle school children I may have stayed home. Being around children on a non-school day can feel awkward. But I put aside those anxieties and took a look at the art.
What was great about seeing the works was examining the watercolor techniques. I think most illustration artists use watercolor and gouache as their medium. I am striving to get watercolor down, which is very different from oil painting. So it was great to get a close up look at a large group of watercolor works.
I started to realize something that I hadn't thought of before, and that was the scale of illustrative work. Since we mostly see illustrative works in magazines or books often times we don't realize that they come from an original that is larger in size.
I loved this whale piece, not only because of the great blue wash behind the subject matter, but due to that it is so imaginative.
I think another appreciative aspect of illustrative art is that the picture can speak a story without having a single word in it.
Throughout the gallery you could see students and young folks taking notes in little diaries. I always wonder what they do with their notes afterwards. Do they make a report and share it with their family or class?
Here you can see the process from artwork to publishing.
Some artists were imaginative in their materials. These pieces were composed of collage paper.
About halfway through the gallery was a large open space with children's book readily available to read. If I were an illustration artist I would think of this place as my market peer group.
The following works were my favorite from the whole show. A Korean artist who used very simple colors and gestures to give off the story.
I loved her works so much I bought the book in the gift shop on my way out. Her story reminds me of when I was a young girl going to the beach in Florida. I would stand at the waters edge and yell at the waves, saying "Is that all you got?" "Ha! You don't frighten me?" And other such nonesense. Then I would usually dive right in and swim off. I was amazed to find myself having such fond memories in the middle of an art exhibit in Seoul, and also very grateful.
More works from Korean artists:
This exhibit definitely showcased a world of illustrative artists. And since everything was in Korean I don't know the scale at which these artists are famous. But I left having the feeling that it was quite a breadth of countries and contributors.
Another favorite: A strawberry in space!
Leaving the exhibit I felt inspired to get into illustrative art. Certainly I have enough imaginative dreams to fill up pages of storybooks.
Anyways if you can still remember that favorite storybook of yours from long ago then maybe it is time to see if it still out there.
Or perhaps I recommend going to the children's section of a bookstore and having a look around, that is if you can elbow your way around the youngins all around you.