“Everything is art for me…”

Paul Zimmerman in conversation with Yeon Gyuhye


Paul Zimmerman: Your paint landscapes, people, flowers. How do you select your subjects?Yeon Gyuhye: Portrait painting is difficult to draw, but there are mother series, so I have to draw. Landscape painting is difficult because I have to draw a lot, but it is my favorite painting. Flower painting plays a role of rest between these two difficult series.

PZ: What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

YG: It is difficult to make a portrait. It is difficult to draw a person’s expression and atmosphere, even if it continues to draw. Currently, I am drawing on the theme of “Mother Series, People I Know.” I was encouraged to draw people around me. I want to draw a meaningful person as much as possible. Human rights activists, etc.

PZ: What is your artistic process? How do you create your paintings?

YG: I have traveled a lot in the past. I take a lot of pictures to draw on purpose. I choose the material I want to draw and draw.

PZ: How do you know when the piece is finished?

YG: Finish when there is no more to draw. Finish the work if the unfinished feeling is good even if you draw roughly. Nevertheless, in my case, I complete it three times.
Like completion, draw more later, and draw more later when the time comes.

PZ: Have your practice changed over time?YG: The more realistic pictures you draw, the better your skills. There are many techniques, and it gets a little easier when drawing. I feel like I’m increasingly free.
There are exceptions, but the expression of portrait painting is also difficult. In addition, ironically, it is difficult to draw nonetheless. Draw in a humble attitude.PZ: What is art for you?YG: Everything is art for me. People, landscapes, flowers. The drawing process is good because there are no worries or distractions. After drawing, it feels like the painting comforts me. I think the biggest customer is myself. Because I am comforted. When I like the work I drew, I think other people like it.PZ: How would you describe yourself as an artist?

YG: I paint nature. When I draw nature, I feel like I am in nature. To me, painting is the joy of immersion. To me, drawing seems to be an artistic practice, an act. I think it’s important to be able to draw.
Paint as bright as possible. Not a dark feeling.

PZ: Which artists are you most influenced by?

YG: I like Michelangelo. I respect him.

PZ: What are you working on now?

YG: A portrait (Ruth Bader Ginsburg), three landscapes, and three flower paintings at the same time.

PZ: How does the pandemic influence your work and sensibility?

There is nothing special. Because it is a repetitive life in the studio and at home. It was hard and painful to live my life in the past. It was not in a situation to draw.
That’s why I always appreciate the current situation where I can draw. In addition, he lives with the words in his heart, “People who do not succeed will work hard on things that are not related to themselves”
I refrain from doing other things so that I can draw as much as possible. I can’t do it as a hobby.


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