By Declan Robb
A Ram is one of the few female street artists in a scene dominated by males. She stands out from her street art contemporaries for many reasons other than her youth and gender. Her work is fresh, yet at the same time relevant to Koreans and foreigners, it contains elements of both the new and traditional.
A fresh graduate from Kyung Hee University A Ram is only starting out, on what looks already to be a promising artistic career.
As a student A Ram begun to notice the emerging street art scene in Seoul “I envied the street artists and admired their work very much”, she keenly followed artists like Banksy and Koreas own Junkhouse as she studied. Members of the SUP noticed her graduate work and she was invited to join the project.
A Ram’s style and flare stem from her student days when she was a fan of hip-hop music. The music, fashion, impact and art of this musical style are very important in the development of her look; her art draws heavily from classic hip-hop imagery. However, as well as this modern, western style, her work is strongly motivated by Korean culture and her own background.
One of the key influencing factors on A Ram’s work is Korean society, the current transitional nature of modern life. Korean life is rapidly transforming from traditional to modern “My paintings are a reminder of our past” A Ram told me that many people have positively reacted to this aspect of her work “Seoul is always growing”, population, technology and society are constantly developing, it seems that many Koreans enjoy seeing the past in contemporary art work.
I asked A Ram if she faced any challenges in the street art scene because of her gender “Many people are curious about me because I am young girl, I often work on my street art late at night” This means that often the police will approach A Ram to check she is safe and will get home safely, rather than be upset about her street art! It seems her youth is not stopping her from gaining an audience in Seoul.
“Foreigners are usually more interested in my art than Koreans, they find me very interesting!” With her work drawing so heavily from established hip-hop iconography and symbols it’s easy to see why many foreigners find the young artists work relatable.
A Ram’s enthusiasm about her art is evident from our interview, she keenly tells me about her Facebook paging gaining her fans from Europe and America. What are her plans for the future? “I really want to make a go of it here in Korea” A Ram has already set her sites on travelling the world and experiencing different styles of art, next year she will attend a street art festival in Poland, her trip will be sponsored by Samsung.
There is no doubt with A Ram’s attitude she will certainly go far in the street art world, but what about the publics attitude and acceptance of street art in Korea? “There are many talented artists in Korea nowadays, so I hope that people’s thoughts about street art will change, this is one of the quickest ways for a country to grow.”