Friday, February 17, 2017

Another En-Uk Artwork: Portrait of My Brother-In-Law

Artwork by En-Uk Sequaya Hwang

En-Uk is feeling rather aesthetic these days - and so am I! See how aesthetically I've spelled "aesthetic"? Yes, none of that ugly "esthetic" for me! I'm an aesthete, not an esthete!

Well . . . anyway.

I don't know what En-Uk wants to do with his life. He has more talents than I do - all I can do is write - but his very multi-talented self makes the choice of choosing harder.

I quickly learned at university that I was outstanding only in writing - essays, stories, even poems - but I also had a strong sense of curiosity about everything and tried to follow that up by pursuing graduate degrees in history, in which I could (in principle) learn about everything, but I've finally come around to doing what I do best.

As for my advice to En-Uk, I want to say, take your time, enjoy your youth, see the world - a bit like I did - but the world is now a less forgiving place than when I was young, and I'm often reminded that one has to choose early if one wants to find success.

So, I guess that is what I have to tell him.



At 1:29 AM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

How curious is En-Uk about the world? Does he have Wanderlust? What are his interests aside from art? I'd encourage him to spend a couple seasons somewhere—not just dart in and dart out like a tourist on a two-week rampage. That sort of long-term opportunity is most likely going to come while he's in college and—we can hope—pursuing a major that includes a study-abroad option (if he's deeply into art, I'd highly recommend Europe!). A couple seasons will give him an idea of the rhythm of life in whatever country he visits, and while he won't come back an expert, he will come back deeply affected.

The world is a less forgiving place these days, true, but even back in the 1980s, when I first visited France, there were men with machine guns patrolling the airports, and train-station announcements about not leaving your bags unattended ("sinon on va les faire sauter"—"if not, we'll have them [the bags] blown up"). Terrorism was a problem even back then; not much has changed, in that respect, except that the cancer may have spread further. All the same cautions apply.

Or perhaps, by "less forgiving," you mean that there's more pressure these days to decide on your métier and specialize in something. Judging by the progress En-Uk has made in his art skills, I'd say he's already specializing in something. If he's also talented with computers, then he's got a great future in graphic design ahead of him. Korea's got a burgeoning graphic-design market—corporate work, print media, online media, etc.

As for this particular sketch (painting? what's the medium? some of it looks like watercolor): again, great mastery of lighting, and an excellent understanding of the patterns of Korean hair. There's even a lighter spot, in the hair, that seems to indicate the reflection of a light source. Bold strokes plus subtle lighting—a good synthesis of tendencies. I can see, though, that he's still a bit timid when it comes to rendering the nuances of clothing: the wrinkles, the convolutions, the shades and textures, and so on. Clothing is hard to master; I still haven't mastered it, so I have no room to preach. But given En-Uk's facility with lighting, I think he can eventually tackle the clothing problem by looking at it mainly as a question of correct lighting over an unusually complex surface.

How's his Chinese calligraphy? The bold strokes in this portrait, made with energy and conviction, make me think that En-Uk would have an easy time of learning seo-yae, i.e., brush calligraphy. Calligraphy works best when the calligrapher proceeds with confidence, and En-Uk already has that confidence. Calligraphy, as taught in East Asia, is a very disciplined art that doesn't have much in common with the mindset of Western art: a learner of seo-yae must, for example, begin by copying—outright copying—the work of the masters before s/he can take up his/her own style. Anyway, despite those potential difficulties, I think En-Uk could pick up seo-yae pretty quickly, and those skills would transfer over to the kind of art he's currently involved in.

My apologies if it sounds as though I'm planning out your son's life. I'm an inveterate teacher; getting involved in kids' lives is kind of a reflex for me. I'm sorry if I'm presuming too much.

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Kevin. I'll pass this along to En-Uk.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:46 AM, Blogger Tom Ball said...

That's not too bad. Better than I could do at his age. Better than I could do at my age. Bye.

At 8:43 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Tom.

Jeffery Hodges

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