I’ve spoken about this with a lot of you since my arrival here, but one of the things that I’ve felt is missing from my life in Korea is art. And I mean all of it: drawing, painting, writing, music, film – anything and everything.
I’ve had much beef with Montreal over the years –
– but one of the things I’ve missed about it drastically is its unwaveringly artsy environment. It’s rare there to meet someone who isn’t dedicating at least part of their life to some artistic endeavour – in fact, it’s quite common for people to dabble in two or three.
I suppose I just took it for granted that people were like that everywhere, but I was met with a pretty bland reality in (at least my end of) Korea. Being surrounding by creativity is certainly one of those things you don’t appreciate until it’s gone.
Now that I’ve been here a while, I’ve managed to self-motivate myself enough to get back into writing, even if it’s mostly on this blog (thank god, because I was seriously feeling like half a person there for far too long).
But visual art hasn’t been something I’ve had time for, nor much motivation for. Writing I do for myself because I need to do it.
Art…well, I don’t consider myself an artist and while I love to do it, it’s always been more of a meditative practice for me than a compulsion.
But, like meditation, if you cut it out, you don’t necessarily feel as balanced.
So when a new friend mentioned to me yesterday that there was a Cheongju art club, it felt as refreshing and full of promise as the first warm wind of spring.
The Facebook group said that the first meeting was Saturday (today), and that though we’d start with the basics in drawing, we’d soon move on to painting – ie. oil painting. Oils are my absolute favourite so I was beside myself to hear that.
And not only that, but the studio space would be open all through the week if and when we wanted the space to work!
My apartment is too small to have either a closet or counters let alone an easel or art supply storage, which makes having an art space an amazing opportunity.
I think my favourite part though is not that I’ll be making art again, but that I’ll be making art with other people making art!
One of the things I miss most about my Marianopolis days (my CEGEP, or “College” for you non-Quebecors) was the community we Arts students created in the art studio. There was always someone doing something different, experimenting with a medium, or just working on stuff for class. Or doing stuff that was not at all related to art.
It’s something that I’ve never quite managed to find again.
So hearing about this art club and just thinking about all the potential – a new group of artist-types, a studio space, a class to let loose and learn new techniques…well, all day I bobbed, buoyant and bubbling, through my lessons and desk warming and drinks with my co-teachers.
Today, I got ready extra early for the first meeting (and still arrived late…I don’t understand how this always happens).
And it ended up being everything I’d hoped for. There’s about 8 or 9 of us foreigners. Apparently we’ll also get some professional Korean artists dropping in (our teacher speculates this might be for practicing English since they certainly don’t need crash courses in perspective and colour theory).
We ended up talking a lot about what we want from the class (portraiture vs landscape vs still life), what we’ll do doing (drawing, moving into acrylics, moving into oils, and maybe learning how to stretch our own canvases), materials we’ll need, and a little about the hosting studio.
It’s a non-profit community centre started by this one guy our teacher’s known for a while. Though it resembles a warehouse, it was very alive the whole time we were there, what with kids were playing in the yard and adults barbecuing samgyeopsal just outside the door (smelled like a campsite, and my nostalgia came creeping back).
Anyway, we ended off the day with the owner showing us materials we can use for free – essentially dozens, if not hundreds, of oil paint tubes, canvases, and even a silk screening press!
I feel like I’ve hit the fucking jackpot landing in this group. To make matters even better, we even had a philosophical debate on the nature of art and what constitutes it as being your own if you’re copying someone else’s work or tracing lines for proportioning instead of drawing the perspectives yourself.
Let’s just say, I can’t wait to get started.
The only way this could get better is if I spontaneously happened upon a creative writing club.