I was raised on a little island without electricity where I was accustomed to watching the sun rise and set each day. Living there opened my mind to all sorts of natural objects including mountains, the sea, and fields. Eventually I found clay and fire were useful in helping me explore these concepts more deeply. I began my study in art by painting and playing with nature, and from there learned about the dynamic nature of clay. This has made me want to focus my artistic interests on ceramics.
‘Onggi’ is a type of Korean ethnic earthenware that was used extensively as tableware, as well as storage containers in Korea. I had a memorable experience when I was a freshman at my university in an onggi workshop. I was interested in the master of onggi, who made a big pot around 1m50cm, and I was overwhelmed and captivated by the dimension of the art.
At first I was simply attracted to clay technique, but as I worked with masters of the craft for many years I learned much about my country’s history, culture, and life. I was trained not only technically, but also spiritually, for I was granted many lifealtering experiences with and wisdom from fellow artists. To find my own way in the art, I worked at various onggi factories and ceramic studios to understand the art of blue celadon, a white and bunching ware. This was when I started to secure a strong foothold in the field of Korean traditional pottery. I thought the tradition was where I could truly find my identity. It seemed a clear path for me to follow. I began to more consciously develop my identity and art views as I exchanged my ways of thinking, life, and values with many other artists and workers.
My desire is to find and develop my aesthetic sense by focusing on the relationship between the old and the new. The scope of this relationship extends to human interactions, nature, and space. Until now, a lot of effort and time was spent developing my work, but I seek to create more inspirational and touching works that integrate both technique and philosophy while simultaneously developing my artistic views and values. I look forward to reevaluating my work after incorporating fire methodology and various surface applications in my work.
— YeonSoo Kim