|▲ Calligrapher Lee Jin-ju
"Some say that we are blessed if we meet one person who can share everything with. I met the one and that is calligraphy. I take up the brush when I feel lonely, distressed, happy or sad. Kim So-wol's <Azalea> is my favorite poem to write as it reminds me of my childhood. Drawing a bud of the flower seems to deliver its delicate and warm scent to me and it encourages me to live rest half of my life with the very first feeling of the heart beat." - Artist's note -
Lee worked for an advertisement firm in Seoul for 15 years. After marriage, she decided to go back to Cheongju City, her hometown, in 2010. She suffered from gravid depression and calligraphy coming into her life was like the savior of her life.
She spent about 5 years for honing her skills before sending one of her works to a competition for the first time in 2014. She made steady progress and listed her name in recommended artists of the Traditional Culture Arts Promotion Association, invited artists of the Korea Grand Prix Art Awards, and judges of the Patriotic Art Competition in the calligraphy category.
Currently, she is serving as a lecturer at the Chungcheong University Lifelong Vocational School and at the Chungbuk Cultural Foundation. She also is running a workshop 'Geu Rio Ji Da'.
"The charm of calligraphy is at its flexible lines, unique spread of ink, plays of brush on the paper and grace of blankness. But above all, each character has its own feeling" says Lee.
Unlike in the past, calligraphy today is being applied to various platforms from the traditional paper to signboards, book covers, movie posters and invitational letters.
In order to widen her scope of skill, she learned seogak (wood carving) from a seogak master Ki Jae-su and deepened her calligraphy under the instruction of Gyeong Hyun-sil, Director of the Korea Calligraphy Research Center.
Having joined numerous calligraphy exhibitions, Lee is preparing for her solo exhibitions set on July 28 to August 2 at the Chungbuk Cultural Foundation and in October at the Hanaro Gallery Seoul.
"I focused on four seasons for the exhibitions. Seasons represent joy and sorrow, changes of colors and also blooms and falls. And I add love in it which is quintessential of our life and I will deliver it through my works."
Calligraphy normally is expressions of famous words by famous people but Lee emphasizes importance of imbuing the writer's colors. She calls herself not an artist but a calligrapher who always tries hard to deepen her world.
"I spend considerable amount of time when it comes to what to write as I want to make it with my own colors and compositions. A calligraphy without the writer's character, I think, is just calligraphy but no more than that."
She points out that the application of calligraphy is many when added different materials to ink such as oil and acrylic. The artist can give unique colors to stand out her character this way.
"Korean alphabet is beautiful and it makes a perfect harmony in the form of calligraphy. As a calligrapher, it is my goal to spread grace of Korean alphabet in calligraphy to more people. I feel really happy whenever I grab my brush and I'm determined to walk with it for the rest of my life."
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