Spreading the beauty of seogak to the people

안정희 기자l승인2018.05.15l수정2018.05.15 10:38






▲ Artist Chun Jeong-dae

Artist Chun has his unique style that crosses freely over the border between traditional seogak and contemporary: the letters flow like a river runs through and the images evaporate the energy of vitality - seogak: letter or picture carving on wood board. Chun started to engage in activities in Buddhist temples 20 years ago and learned the skills of seogak under the instructions of 20 teachers nationwide. “Despite I had 20 teachers, I always felt something lack in my inner-self. So, I went to a mountain and trained myself there for 3 years to find out what it was. And I found an answer from being ‘honest’” says Chun. Today, he is credited for making a presence of the traditional seogak in the world of modern art. Also, he became the youngest seogak master (No.12-25) and currently is serving as President of the Korea Chungryeong Culture and Art Association. Chun’s obsession in creating a work with 100% perfection has made him throw away a considerable number of incomplete works. Chun lavishes money on buying quality colors which often makes him pay KRW 1 million won a month. Subject wise, he puts his focus on the sky and the earth. “When I spent three year in the mountain, I saw the moon rising to the sky and going down to the earth according to the time lapse. It was marvelous. Nature seems unchangeable but changes every moment and tranquil but turns out the other way. There are arguments over right and wrong but the result often cannot be the answer like our complicated lives. The point is to keep my principle and express my anger and emotion through my works instead.” Meanwhile, Chun has exerted to foster talented seogak artists. “From people in their 20s to 70s, my students have diversified backgrounds. I always emphasize to pour their pure heart and honesty into their works in order to create a valuable work. This is because the skill itself cannot make it possible. Skill is necessary but it gets useless if there is no emotional foundation for the work.” In fact, seogak requires a great amount of time and effort and above all the patience. For Chun, it normally takes about 5 years to complete a work from choosing the wood and dry to carving and coloring. This hard and time consuming process makes many learners knocked out of the course during the training. “One out of 10 normally endures the whole process till the end and I take the one as my true pupil.” Chun has a kind hearted man. He has been donating part of the profits generated from selling his works to society on a regular basis for the last 15 years. Serving as President of the Korea Chungryeong Culture and Art Association is part of this effort to create a better society. “It is the association’s role to take part in local events, communicate with local residents and listen to the opinions of the members.” Chun’s motto is “Everybody is my teacher and try hard to learn something new”. This has been the driving force of his passion for the last 20 years. When asked about his future plan, Chun said “I’m preparing to open a seogak academy in near future with two goals: one is to promote seogak artists and another is to spread the beauty of the art to more people.” 


<Power Korea> ‘rewrites’ Korean article in ‘plain English’ with ‘key points’ 
Jon Kim powerkorea_j@naver.com

안정희 기자  honesty5835@naver.com
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