|▲ Artist Keongsun Seo aka Kilsang|
Seogak is a traditional art genre of Korea. The artist carves letters or images or both on a wood panel in black and white or in colors. Like many other art genres, seogak requires concentration and time.
Seogak artist Keongsun Seo dreamed of being an artist since she was a child. During her career as an art teacher at school, she had to go through inner conflict over her identity and closed her life to her own world like she was walking in the dark. However, the light slowly started to shine when she found a joy of creating something of her own through painting and seogak.
"Creating something is but a bliss. It is indescribable happiness when I blow a new life into a lifeless wood panel with my heart. Nothing is there when I create except a space, a paper, a carving knife and a wood panel"
Seo grew up in Danyang County, majored in art education at Chungbuk National University, obtained master's degree at Semyeong University Graduate School of Education, and worked as a teacher for 33 years. She started her own works from 1990 with deep-colored Korean painting.
"I felt like I couldn't live like this any more. I wept so many nights. Who am I? I wish to be a blue bird that flies high and wide with a hope"
2000 was a gloomy year for Seo. She cut off the world but focused on her inner world instead. While many of her friends seemed to have found comfort of life every day, the comfort for her seemed to be nowhere else. One day, she walked on the street and looked up the sky and saw a bird soaring and flying freely. At that moment, something struck her head and she shouted "fly!". Back home, she searched the brush abandoned for a long time and started painting. Thus completed was the work <Blue Bird> followed by numerous works in similar style: <Rest>, <Nestle>, <Golden Tree> and <Wisteria Blossoms>. Soon after, she traveled Europe in search of her own comfort in life and drew images she liked on empty papers. The works from 2016 to next 3 years were about traveling.
"Innocent and wicked children. They are like beautiful colors. Watching children growing up also is a bliss"
Since she worked as a teacher for 33 years, she has many memories of her students in their teens. She remembers one summer day where she and her students painting a wall of the school while bitten by droning mosquitos. The day students showed off their Korean paper clothes and the day students made their hands into paster were also memorable.
"I hope my works leave a gentle resonance to people with a smile"
While learning seogak under instruction of a master seogak artist Kitae Sung, Seo published a book <Life's Technique of Living Happily Till the End> in 2020. The book is about her fight against cancer and divorce with her husband and also her insight about life, death and humans and how to get old beautifully.
Seo received a number of prizes including 45th Kimsaeg Colligraphy Contest, 11th Seong Sam Mun Culture and Art Competition and 43rd PCAF Culture and Art Competition. She is holding a solo exhibition at the Chungju Art Center for 4 days from February 2. <PowerKorea>
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