Artwork and text by IL SOO PARK
Ever since I was young, I already loved to draw and paint. Growing up in Korea, I joined art competitions and won awards; I was also able to exhibit my works in school.
I attended the fine arts program at Hong-Ik University’s in Seoul, where I majored in Korean arts. The four-year course allowed me to explore traditional Korean painting techniques and practice with Cephalopod ink and oil paints.
I use the half-abstract style to write words and stories. For instance, I design existing letters to be a plant or an animal in a story.
Seven years ago, I started to believe in Jesus and I was baptized. I struggled with inner conflicts about my art. Since the tone of my previous work were all Totemic and Buddhist, I found myself unable to continue with that style. I had to find a whole new way of expressing my art as my life and perspective changed. I prayed to God and read the Bible as I sought inspiration for my brand new style. Two years ago, I started to do my art again with the inspiration that God gave me.
I immigrated with my family to Canada in 2007. As a new immigrant starting a new life, I found that my previous style also transformed; I started using less vivid colours. But I continued to use Korean paper, canvas, wall compound and more. I look forward to exploring more tools and media.
I would like my art to be a tool for giving a message of hope for people, especially the poor, children and youth who are being abused and feeling isolated.
My teacher, Ji-Won Yoo, is my ideal role model, not just as an artist, but as a great Christian and a great individual. Before I came to Canada, he drew some artwork for me with a great message.