Art and Culture, Blogging, college, exploring, Uncategorized

Where to draw the line between Hobby and Career

I’m in a rut. I’m at that stage in life where all the Ted Talks and inspirational speakers on Youtube are adamantly trying to convince me that I’m at the most exciting and wonderful period of my life, where anything is possible if I just believe. Unfortunately, I am having a really hard time believing them, let alone myself.

Last night, I finally met up with a childhood friend after an entire year has passed us by. In the small bossam stall in the crowded streets of Hongdae, the air saturated with noise, smoke, and heat, we spilled the messy happenings of our lives. During this time, she decided that she wanted to drop out of college, plastered her body with Harry Potter tattoos (which I am quite envious of) and learnt how to be a bartender. I, on the other hand, went on an exchange semester in Australia, and learnt more about myself than ever before in my life. All that travelling and relying on myself made me come to a conclusion that I definitely don’t want to be living a life in my major, because just thinking about my future in the field made me lose all motivation for living. I face entering my final year of college with so many decisions and plans of action that are eluding me every step of the way. Meanwhile, my boyfriend finally got his break after years of trying, and got the internship of his dreams, in one of the best motor companies. He says his experience has disillusioned him about the corporate life, seeing his coworkers’ faces sag in the myriad of cubicles surrounding him. In all these various facets of life, I believe we are faced with the same amount of uncertainty and angst, each a little envious and in awe with the life of the other. Increasingly, people are becoming more realistic and vulnerable on social media, in between the festival and foodie pics, they are professing deep anxiety and confusion over the futures.

Confession: I am contemplating a life in art. I know that nothing fascinates me more and gives me more joy than delving into the creative–reading, writing, watching, dancing, and feeling. Sadly, this big decision comes with a price; that while it has no price it furthermore has no monetary value. My dreams of becoming a curator/art historian/writer and editor all require that I pursue a Ph.D without the guarantee of any financial stability. It is a dream that makes loved ones frown and be concerned about the future, my future.  It concerns me because I don’t know if the money, time and effort that I am going to be pouring into this future will ultimately lead to my demise, especially when I could have done something else. But deep down, my heart tells me that anything else is not my authentic self, anything else would be any other life but mine.

I am so incredibly blessed that I can even consider this kind of alternative future, and that my parents are completely supportive. I imagine that it is incredibly rare to have parents that actually push you towards such an uncertain future, but this is because they hold me with high esteem. Mother believes that I have a sixth sense when it comes to art, and it is ridiculously hard not to take it to heart. Their level of pride and confidence when it comes to my capabilities is astounding, and I wonder if my worries are an unnecessary complexity where I am talking myself out of something that could potentially be, and ironically not by others.

Earlier this month, as I was projecting the boundless opportunities offered by summer break, I was genuinely excited to have a summer where I could be unapologetically myself and live a creative life. I feel that no matter how much you work, and no matter what kind of life you project unto others, it is just difficult to convince yourself that you are enough, and that you have done something of worth. This month, I dived into a mini exhibition held for my mom, which proved to be tough work but a lot of fun and insight. It allowed me to see the business aspect of the art world, as we were unexpectedly invited to see the behind the scenes of a modern gallery. The entrepreneur is also the one that convinced me that there is an opportunity in the arts, and surprisingly confirmed all my thoughts that I dismissed as just dreams. Since then, I’ve been reading and researching things about living this creative academia. It is both liberating and disheartening at the same time, but I guess these are the doubts that everyone is feeling at this point in our lives. Most of all, I don’t want to waste the opportunities I have, or riddle myself with doubts. I don’t want to be my own biggest enemy. Then again, I don’t want to be my own downfall either. Does anyone else have these doubts? I’ve been asking so many questions on online platforms and on quora, but in the end other people cannot make my decisions for me. Either way, life will go vehemently on without me. I just need to buckle down and decide.

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Art and Culture, Blogging, creatif, exploring, personal

What it’s like to hold an Exhibition at COEX as an artist/seller

For the past four days, I volunteered to help my mom take a shot at selling her Zimbabwean art collection at the annual Home and Lifestyle Exhibition held in unison with the Gyeongyang Housing Fair. This exhibition, alike many others, are hosted in key cities around the country such as Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, Jeju and others throughout the year. It hosts a variety of creative products, from traditional hand held mirrors embedded with mother of pearl to extravagant tech that guarantees turning all food waste into liquid form. I’ve attended many of these events, but got to understand the behind-the-scenes of running our own booth. I thought this would be interesting for anyone wondering whether this is the step to launch or propel their business in Korea to the next level.

With 30 years of experience, this event boasts an average attendance rate of 180,000 persons. There is an entrance fee of 10,000 won, but they have the option of reserving a ticket for free beforehand. The bigger firms use this as an opportunity to showcase their exhibition design with elaborate and flashy architecture, case in point:IMG_0341.jpg

 

 

 

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(This particular shop was all about the pictures and promotions of–can you guess what? Shampoo!)

However, there are still a good number of smaller shops that sell their products in a more straight forward and simplistic manner. There are shops selling handmade jewelry to cosmetics and chocolate. Even if you’re not particularly keen to sell, if you are familiar with the fleamarkets and open market styles, this may be an interesting event reminiscent of those days when you can just walk up to the different stalls, have a chat and be hopefully jostled from your everyday surroundings and gain some home decor tips. Speaking of which, they host different seminars and conferences during the course of four days, where you may listen in on talks of brand design, sustainable and eco-friendly living, and other seminars for free. Unfortunately, most of these talks are held in Korean, and have yet to provide English translations due to the fairly limited attendance of foreigners (or perhaps, vice versa).

Setting Up.

This particular event is held over four consecutive days, with 2 days extra before and after for setting and wrapping up. They give you the whole day before to construct either your own booth or hire another company to do it for you. Because of this, the day (and air) is filled with dust and people panting heavily as they carry furniture and other goods across the huge hall. The hosting company conveniently failed to provide air conditioning on that day, and we had to move, unpack and organize items in the middle of Korean summer. When you apply to be a participating company, they are literally providing you with a standard 3x3m stall, and come to install lights, plugs, and a white box that you can use for some displays. Luckily, the plastic walls dividing shops are pretty durable and you can mount things onto it with a drill. We ended up drilling a painting, a light and a huge mirror so I’m guessing most other things are good to go.

Most of the preparations must be done beforehand. Bring your own tools and posters and marketing strategies. However, COEX has a lot of handy shops nearby, and you can pick up last minute supplies like tape and plastic chairs from the Daiso on the B1 floor. They will require marketing material a week before the exhibition itself, which they will disperse (though unseen by myself still). Another pro tip is packing a large piece of fabric that you drape over your products once you’re done for the day. It indicates that you have closed, and gives you some privacy when you leave the building.

If you don’t manage to complete everything in the day, it’s okay to do so the following day. However, because you share a wall, drilling it on opening day may not be seen favorably. You may still reorganize and set up your goods as there are not that many customers on a Thursday morning.

Personal Experience/Verdict.

Our mini exhibition/shop was wedged between a sink company, a facial exfoliating device company and a handmade arts and crafts store. Overall the neighbors were amiable and you grow a little fond of them by the fourth day, buying each other’s products and breaking bread with one another. However, deciding to partake in this exhibition requires some critical contemplation, especially if you are a relatively small company. While I’ve heard that smaller businesses in the arts pair up to split the booth costs, I am skeptical that many of them were even able to break even during the four days. The bigger companies, like the one above have no problem in fronting ‘advertisements’ as their main priority, even without reaping in the money. On the other hand, many of the smaller shops that were selling towels can hardly sell enough to even fathom covering the 3000,000 won booth fee (very rough approximation of 3000 dollars). Even our booth, which had a higher average price could barely breakeven. On that note, this exhibition, while catering towards companies that offer products as big as beds and storage containers, many of the consumers are within a demographic that are more frugal with their money. This is not the exhibition for you if you are looking for people that are willing to part with their money, even if it is for high quality art. Many are there, including myself in previous occasions, to have a feast for the eyes and have a little chit chat rather than to make an investment. While there is a considerable peak time on Sunday with last minute customers, I just don’t know if there 5~6 days is worth the effort. Through this experience, I felt fully the hardships of entrepreneurs, even with products as brilliant and futuristic as sinks that dissolve food waste into liquid form. They’re just not there for it. On the other hand, we were lucky enough to invite a gallery owner to see our booth and negotiate some business, but this was due to a friend network rather than an amity birthed by the exhibition. It’s really your call, but I strongly recommend that you prioritize your market research and consider what the primary goal of your business/exhibition is. In our case, we definitely chose the wrong market.

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However, I had a good experience. I had my very first taste of a small exhibition beyond the confines of my home. I did not realize the time was passing as I shifted products, displayed and rearranged the sculptures here and there. While it was a strenuous process, especially since it was done by the three of us only, unwrapping each of these products and finding an aesthetically pleasing composition took up the whole evening. I felt all the better after it.IMG_0305.jpg

 

Wrapping Up.

While it is advertised that the wrap up time is till the Monday after, we were surprised to see that most of the shops were packed and ready to go by Sunday evening following the exhibition. It dissolves into more chaos than the original set up, with some hoarse screams here and there as peoples’ frustrations go through the roof. This is another frustration that I had with the exhibition hosts–they do not seem to care for the participating companies. I say this because they offered no airconditioning the entire set up day, and immediately switched it off at 6PM when everyone was packing up. Everything had to be done in the excruciating heat and humidity of the Korean summer. This struck me as a disgusting capitalistic ploy, where all the smaller companies paid high sums to participate, slave away for four days everyday as they try to break even (sometimes located in farway and unfortunate areas with little customers) and immediately discarded as soon as they are away from the lime light. This was particularly disheartening to see, as some shop owners looked like they were on the verge of tears by the end of the show.

This is my personal experience and view on the Living and Lifestyle Expo, which transformed into the Home and Lifestyle Expo held in COEX. I felt like this was an interesting insight to the shenanigans, and especially interesting for those who do not have access to such information in Korean. Atleast, you know a little more and can perhaps have a little more sympathy for the sullen faces you may see at one of these exhibitions.

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creatif, exploring

ArT? What’s that?

In 1997, art critic and philosopher Arthur Danto declared the ‘end of art’ upon seeing Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes. This inflammatory claim highlighted the concerns of modernism and the blurring between art and non-art. What Warhol demonstrated to Danto was a complete satisfaction between the two definitions. In fact, Warhol’s art was so inwardly directed and subjective that its definition had become philosophical.

Andy Warhol’s art thrived within the Artworld, as he highlighted motifs of high consumerism and mundane repetition in objects. He demonstrated ideas through transforming an ordinary, mass produced and neglected can into art. The decision to call Warhol’s product art was the end of art, because he believed that the Artworld determined the value of the product, through members knowledgeable on art’s historical context. With the multiple interpretations and emotions conveyed by the dichotomy of art and non-art, the significance and continuation of art and the job of the Artworld was halted. However, the Artworld is spontaneously distorted and recreated, and cannot be dissipated by the threat of multiple meanings. What Warhol demonstrates is not the limitations of value determined by the Artworld. Instead, he ushers in a new era of pluralism—of multiple meanings and open ended questions still formulating. The Artworld becomes a larger platform of creation and reception, and is fundamental to the recognition and preservation of the art piece.

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adventure, Blogging, college, exploring, personal, Poetry/Inspiratoin, travels, Writer

Ecclesiastical

I wrote a poem.  I’m at a crossroads in life, and no doubt overwhelmed. Enjoy.
Clearly, your feet have not dipped past the ivy crusted rims

Feeling the soft tickling of forgotten mosses,

They’ve meandered through the clattering shells clinging

To rounded flowers opening and closing before you.

They have not waded between the fluid roads revealed and at end

In the sky wandering round and straight in their wondrous Milky Way.

 

Where have you rested your head, those days you believed it was softened moss?

Whose breath did you let caress your face, what purple did you make your shade of nightingale?

 

They turn round eastward, towards instinctively home

The auburn sky is ablaze and you are there,

Feeling nothing

But still teeming, seething and afloat.

The chasms spread before, thinly sunk into worn crevices,

Peeling skins off of the age old trees and the heaven dense auras

The valleys and its hidden villages are to be pillaged

Only by those ravenous in the mouth.

A donkey bears the laden fruits of your search

And together you make it to the hole

Where you bury the hatchet, and leave the memories under

The skies fondle a home in the murky waters below.

Your sister is both there and already in the wind,

Faces sunken, but never lost.

Well done, the deed is done.

Whatever you have seen,

The losses you have carried,

The tragedies you have committed in both your name and others,

The slandered will rest easy tonight.

 

When the night falls, and you offer your soul to the pits,

You are free, and free of burden.

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adventure, Blogging, personal, Writer

Procrastination, staying motivated and other ills

I am a twenty-something, kinda-Asian, kinda-artsy, kinda-lost-and-clueless college student. What a solid introduction, but that is the best summary of my current and more-so on going situation. I am not lazy, I am moderately hard working and moderately willing to take risks. Yet, so often I find myself in bed, crushed under the weight of all the assignments I want to do well in and things I want to discover.

Then I take a brief nap, and blame it on my food coma. I doodle in my journal about avante garde art, and reminisce a century that challenged everyone and everything to art for art’s sake. I sit on my desk, begin rearranging the mess that I’ve made during the peak of my motivation levels, and open my computer to type. I find myself opening Quora and Tumblr and Facebook, and eventually, WordPress. And so I type. And begin to realize that there seems to be a recurring pattern to what I prefer to do in my free time, or rather, things that I pursue despite having none.

The other day I posted a question on Quora, beseeching the Quora greats on how to keep motivated, how to remain inspired and how to continue writing. I’ve never fully considered writing to be a career choice, despite my habitual ramblings that I mindlessly share in all my social media platforms. I don’t want to label myself as a writer and have expectations, judgments and criticism, and stick closely to “snippets” in which my thoughts and its translation into a flow of words, best comes across. The answer was simple. Embrace it fully. Writing and words do not come by without effort, and in most cases, comes as an exorcism of emotions not so much for any other true benefit besides the soul. Art for art’s sake.

I want to though. Desperately.

Ever since I began this private blog site, a miserable teen on Christmas day in a cold, unlit room in Harare, Zimbabwe, I had the simple goal of writing and creating and putting something out there that would not have much significant meaning to anyone really besides myself. Slowly, my number of followers increased, and as I began searching for other like-minded blogs, I tried to do multiple things–house reviews, shopping hauls and the sort. Things that would increase my views and make me feel established.

“I”, the metaphysical ego.

Since then, my writing became even more erratic as it became a chore rather than an open forum where I could sort through my emotions and make meaning of the flashes. Rather than simply reverting this passion into the simple blogger I was 3 years ago, I want to reform, and begin to reveal the raw edges of myself again.

I’m back.

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adventure, Blogging, college, exploring, personal, travels

Hello World

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It’s been almost a year since I’ve properly updated this blog. It’s been a long time coming. There were times where I’d recall with quite the pang how much I enjoyed and needed to express myself in a blog, but I was often too busy and many times too afraid to come back to this platform. I’ve just returned from my trip in Busan a week into finishing my first year at Yonsei University. I finally found the soul’s leisure to pick up some books from my to read list, and top of the list was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Now, though I would call myself a scholar I admit that it is difficult to force down informationals in a summer read, especially on arbitrary tips on ‘how to be happy.’ However, I’ve heard some rave reviews about it, and I must say that I do agree. It is simplistic, experimental, and life changing.

It is pretty tough trying to stay afloat as a new adult, thrust into the city alone and unknowing, and often against my will I find myself feeling grumpy and defensive against the world. Reading this book reminded me of the little pleasures I have in life, and what keeps me gentle and humble. It struck me how similar my life is to that of the author, having an affinity to the languages but directing myself towards law instead, the short anger spouts and most of all, simply trying to live and enhance a life that is already pretty worth living.She started a blog despite her doubts, and so I’ve decided to do the same.

It is a great summer read, and recommendable to anyone.

Look forward to my Busan trip post!

Thank you everyone who has stuck around,

Sincerely,

Me.

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