Spreading the charm of folk painting

안정희 기자l승인2019.01.18l수정2019.01.18 09:45

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▲ Artist Kim Jung-ho

Folk painting was widely enjoyed by normal people with no formal education from late Joseon Kingdom. It has been passed down person to person and many of them liked drawing symbols of longevity, landscape, cultural events, letters and shamanism. Folk painting values highly of ‘formality’ which makes relatively young folk painters uncomfortable to try something new. This might be one of the reasons that the art has been passing down by only a few. 

Falling in love with folk painting
Folk painter Kim Jung-ho aka Nangok has been serving as the president of the Goyang Folk Painting Association to spread the charm of folk painting to more people for a long time. She stepped into the world of folk painting by chance; she came to know a folk painter mother of his son’s friend at school. 

“Folk painting looks simple and playful at first. This is because the genre is somewhat aloof from the traditional landscape painting. Yet when seeing into detail, it has strict forms and styles which I think have charmed many beginner folk painters like me once. The more you look at it, the more you fall in love with it” says Kim. 

Spreading the charm to the people
By the time Kim started folk painting, the public recognition on the genre was still negative like some say ‘shaman’s painting’ due to strong colors and set patterns. Kim explains “The essence of folk painting is at its creating process on objects of our daily goods.” To improve public recognition, she rolled up her sleeve and jumped into various lectures held at local community centers and the in-house cultural centers of major department stores.

“I’ve drawn folk painting for 28 years now and I see clearly that there has been a significant improvement on public recognition on the genre. I’m confident to say that folk painting is not a painting to see but a painting to read. The more you know about the genre, the more you can read what it tells.” 

Taking the momentum, she is actively carrying out her easy to understand lectures on folk painting at the Lifelong Learning Center of Goyang and the Lifelong Learning Center of Joongbu University alongside running her own workshop. 

Winning minister’s prize
Some of her representative works are ‘Chaekkuri’, ‘Hwabyeongmorando’ and ‘Yeonhwado’. Yeonhwado especially won the minister prize from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and another work ‘Ssangchido’ won the best prize at the Korean Art Academy and the grand prize at the Korea Poem and Painting Association Competition for unique use of colors. Many of her works have been displayed at her 5 solo exhibitions and a number of group exhibitions home and abroad.

Some of her works are hung on Dongguk University Hospital, Hyundai Heavy Industries, University of Calgary Canada, UN Korean Embassy, National Education Institute of Kathmandu Nepal and Phnom Pehn National Bank of Cambodia. 

“Folk painting has become as popular as modern painting today and many star folk painters have been born. It is regretful however that they are not as consolidated as modern painting artists. This is one of the reasons I’ve been serving as the president of the Goyang Folk Painting Association for the last 14 years to make improvement.”

It is noteworthy that many folk painters and lecturers in Goyang City learned the skills under the instruction of Kim. Kim has held ‘Bond Exhibition’ for the last 12 years to consolidate the members of the association. 

“I can sleep when the wind blows” says Kim. It always has been her motto and the driving force which has encouraged her to go through many hardships; it is what made her today as she is. 

▲ 해학반도도 (68X127cm)

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