Korean Art Appreciation 101

안녕하세요 Annyeonghaseyo! 오래간만입니다 Oraenmanimnida~

I know it’s been over a month since my last (and first!) post, but from what you guys are about to read, you could surmise I’ve been pretty busy the past month finding my way around student, as well as tourist life, in Korea. Besides fulfilling some schoolwork every now and then, my friends and I have been saving up some of our allowance so we could visit as much places as we can, whenever we can. Needless to say, Twine + Sunshine has always been on my mind­.

What kind of new, creative information can I tell our audience about? Would they find this tidbit a worthy source of inspiration to them too?

Things like that always pop up in my head and stay there till I get to produce some kind of output from them.

While there’s a wealth of stories and knowledge I’d want to share with you guys (from tips on transportation to our anecdote-worthy exploits in Seoul), the art and aesthetic wonders I’ve seen on my trips hit home pretty close enough for me to talk about them first.

Aesthetics

South Korea itself is a rich source for fans of the simple yet elegant charm characteristic of Asian design. For a more tangible description, it’s somewhere between the ornate Chinese and minimalistic Japanese since historically, Korea has been colonized and much influenced by the two in the past. While I’m not an expert myself, from what I’ve read and also observed it comes off as lively in its own organic, flowy kind of way. It achieves this through clean yet expressive shapes and limited yet perfectly complimentary use of colors and layers.

A relatively smaller player in the global scene, Korea’s own aesthetic impression has always been shadowed by its two more prominent neighbors whenever we try to think of Korean design. Hopefully with the growing popularity of its culture worldwide, more people would come to know it better and be able to set its own identity in their minds.

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img_2037 Gyeongbok Palace, Seoul

natl

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img_2154 Korea National Museum, Seoul

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img_0879Woljeongsa Temple*, Pyeongchang (*A temple where you could stay to experience Buddhist monk living)

You can read more about the principles behind Korean aesthetics here.

Arts & crafts

When you’re always itching to create anything, be it art, literature, or food, it’s a must to keep your senses open to whatever it is around that could serve as the muse to your next masterpiece. Being a self-proclaimed #CrafTita myself, I’ve always been mesmerized by anything handmade and crafted with love. Though Korea is fast adapting to Western trends in terms of modern output (or what is typically considered to be so), their traditional crafts still persist in the form of cute knick-knacks that simply look good to have around. To me, they’re just the right mix of cool Asian sensibility and a cozy universal friendliness that I’ve always found nice to incorporate into my own work.

Hanji Theme Park

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img_0871Hanji* Theme Park, Wonju  (*A traditional paper craft)

Insadong

 

Insadong

img_2120Insadong*, Seoul  (*A large street much like Myeongdong, except dedicated to Korea traditional culture and crafts)

Nami Island

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img_1276Nami Island*, Gapyeong (The famous location for the 2002 drama Winter Sonata, from which it owes its signature snowman motif)

 

Even when it’s not trying, Korea can still be pretty beautiful most of the time. They make flowers bloom on their trash bins, and even wet market store fronts selling fish look like street art installations.

trash can at the Garden of Morning Calm

wet market store fronts at Gapneung

Then again, art can be everywhere and nowhere you look. It’s an overstated notion, but we all need reminding from time to time too. It’s not only great training for your artistic eye but also a way to enjoy a world that’s a little bit brighter and more wonderful waiting around the corner.

buy steamed red bean buns from Nami Island

Cheongpyeong

scenery at Nami Island

hello from Nami Island

hello from Nami Island

Keep an open eye and heart always!

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