Images by Hong Il Hwa
Art, regarding the endless battle between creating an original and reproduction
Artists are not some sort of inventor who is constantly looking for something new to release a new product, but a person whose effort is to avoid what other people have done already. In other words artist’s instinct isn’t for looking for something new but avoiding reproduction is.
They are the people who simply do what they want to do but hate doing something that has been done by other people already. Compare to other people, artists have clearer idea of what they want to do and get it done without being conscious about the surrounding. Having too many thoughts also can hinder being an artist. On the other hand some artists say they became an artist because re was nothing else they could do.
Surely I have met the later however most of the artists I have met were more like the first. I dare not to pass my judgments on artists in other genre however artists in painting art are generally quite handy with making or fixing household stuff and even with cooking as well. Since painting requires from sketching, painting and finishing so we has to be multi talented except with bureaucracy.
The theory hasn’t been proven but I do remember reading a statistic of measuring cooking skills in different occupation other than chef themselves. If my memory is correct the occupation with highest cooking skill was painter. My observation of other artists including myself was that we don’t really possess any professional knowledge in cooking but we measure things by ingredients’ colors and portions with our sights instinctively and the result has never been disappointing. So I don’t think it is wrong to cook like we paint or mix paints.
Either you do what you like to do or you have no choice but to be an artist, ultimately being an artist means doing what one likes to do. However when the reality of ‘living’ starts to take the artist by the throat and the pressure of people’s prejudice and the surrounding heavies, artists start to lose their passion for art. As wine loses its flavor and scent by being too exposed to air too long.
Usually I get super excited after seeing a good exhibition that I have to rush to my studio. May it be when I talk to people or when I am zoned out, as soon as I get an inspiration my heart starts to race for the image I want to paint. The thrill is always there. The very first place I had visited when I moved to France was the Louvre.
Words can’t do justice of how excited I was. However what bewildered me more than the beautiful collections of paintings were the people who were reproducing the paintings. They could paint exactly the same painting hung in front of them in the Louvre. Aslo I wasn’t bewildered by how exactly they could reproduce but I was more pleasantly shocked by the environment which they were allowed to copy the painting and the world’s most prestigious art museum is allowing it.
I was once again taken aback when I found out that it is not considered illegal unless the size of the frame was exactly the same. Some of them were doing that as an occupation while a lot of them were art students or art professionals who were practicing the technique. When I realized it, I also began thinking about doing the same practice. However the paperwork I had to go through in order to receive permit to do it was way too complicated for me back then and it would have taken so long that I didn’t want to waste my energy on it.
Yet I had my ambition to learn the techniques as I observe the paintings so I picked a few of my favorites and started to reproduce one by one. Art students don’t need to pay for the entrance fee to the Louvre so I visited the museum numerous times to take as many pictures of the paintings I chose as possible for a year between 2002 to 2003.
Then I would paint them at my studio, and when I get stuck, I would go back to the museum and took another pictures then paint it over and over. After awhile even though I was painting the world’s most precious paintings, I started to lose my interest in copying the style so I started to deter the image and add on my personal touches eventually. These paintings ended up becoming my graduation pieces for Ecole Des Beux – Arts in 2003.
As result, not only did the practice really help me improve my techniques but also was the great opportunity for me to understand the master painters. Once I liked it, it stimulated my curiosity and in order to satisfy the curiosity, I had to research and study a lot. And to this day it remains as a fruitful period in my life.
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.