The unbearable heaviness of creativity 작가 홍일화의 아트 에세이

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Images by Hong Il Hwa

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Black, 2010-11 Hong Il Hwa

The unbearable heaviness of creativity 

“An author well known for his horror novels Stephen King once wrote a column ‘Can a Novelist be too productive?’ on New York Times. Would having big creative will that springs like water fountain be a medicine or poison?”

“In case of Picasso, he has left about 50000 pieces of art and his art wasn’t limited in only painting. He had 1885 paintings, 1228 sculptures, 2280 porcelains, 7089 sketches, 342 tapestries, 150 books on crocquis and about 30.000 printings. There are about 13000 ‘Codex Leicester’ of Leonardo Da Vinci and 7000 of them are left to this day. Bill Gates made news when he bought 72 pages Codex Hammer manuscript for 31 million dollars at Christie’s auction house.”

“Codex contains from artistic sketches to ideas on scientific creations thus Codex Hammer is the product of Leonardo da Vinci’s effort and the evidence of his revolutionary approach that covers mathematics, natural science, architecture, anatomy, technology, music and other areas. For reference, though Van Gogh had passed away at the young age of 37, he has left about 2000 pieces including 900 oil paintings and more than 1100 sketches.”

“His painting style and materials were as various. From portraits of himself and sunflower series to night scene series and landscapes, he has painted tirelessly and studied observing objects through still life paintings. He has put in endless effort in diversifying his styles that started from impressionism, post impressionism, expressionism, and fauvism to symbolism.”

“It doesn’t work with every artist however the genius artists with prolific appetite in the history have never been the customary kind and have pursued various changes through endless trials. Even so there are many people who have negative opinions about having to produce so much artwork. Their biggest reason is that an artist shouldn’t downgrade his art to mass-produced product and instead should devote oneself to each art project carefully.”

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Black, 2010-11 by Hong Il Hwa

“I must raise the hand on being a prolific artist. I disagree with the term “mass-produced” but I personally believe that it is an essential attitude for an artist to cultivate changes through endless and various attempts and effort. Anyhow the debates on being a prolific artist have always been there and will always be there.”

“I have created 200 pieces of black and white series on 46 by 38 canvas in over 2 years. They are the portraits of black figured actresses who are fading away from our memories and yet being on white screen of old classic film add more value as time goes. The project became the solid foundation of portrait work and gave me great opportunities to overcome the fear and terror of painting.”

“The source of my prolific work was the result of my anxiety. I can’t help but feel anxious if I pass a day without painting anything or not having artistic idea. Although the realization of me painting out of the anxiety causes another anxiety, I remain thirsty for the next painting somehow. In fact I am constantly thirsty because I have belief that I can achieve something better every time.”

“As I was working on 200 some portraits as a series, I had moments when I couldn’t paint well then I painted very well sometimes for no reason. The skill fluctuated dramatically. It may not be obvious to others but through the project I was able to try various ways of painting and find characteristics that I like.”

“I am still not sure what kind of work I can put out in the future, however my thoughts on trying to create something better and nicer and as many paintings as possible in order to quench the artistic thirst hasn’t changed. Rather than wishing to find something new or to achieve certain artistic trend, I wish to experience things through my painting, I wish to live to paint.” By a Korean artist, Hong Il Hwa




Contributor, Hong Il Hwa 

A Korean artist, Hong Il Hwa is a member of the Korean Modern Contemporary Printmakers Association, and a member of SONAMU artist association in Paris. He was attracted by public when he won the Chunghyun Mecenat young artist award in 2008.

홍일화 작가는 한국 현대판화가 협회 회원이자 재불 소나무 작가 협회 회원이다. 2008년에는 정헌메세나 재유럽 청년작가상을 수상 등 다양한 대회에서 예술성을 인정받았으며 현재 파리와 서울을 중심으로 작품 활동 중이다.

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