Sunday, October 30, 2011

Artist Lecture at Rhode Island College


Last Thursday, I gave a lecture to a group of jewelry students at Rhode Island College (RIC). I was a guest artist invited by Dianne Reilly, the head of the Jewelry department at RIC. 

In the beginning, there were a couple technical problems with the projector, which made me very nervous. But Luckily, it worked out eventually. Flustered, I took a deep breath, looked around the room and started my presentation. After a couple minutes, my breathing went back to normal and I was able to make eye contact with one of the students. I was not sure whether I was doing well or not. But when I got a few more eye contacts with different students, I regained a sense of confidence to keep going.

My presentation took around 30-35 minutes. Afterwards, we had time for questions and answers. Surprisingly, several students put their hands up. I started to answer the first questions. After my answer, the students kept asking me more and more questions. Everyone seemed to listen very careful when I made eye contact with them. Some of the questions were very interesting and thoughtful. I didn't realize how much time we spent while I was answering their questions. By the time we wrapped up, I realized that 30 minutes had already passed. Having many questions about me and my work was highly encouraging. I felt that I actually communicated with them and they understood my story. It gave me a positive energy to keep working forward. 

After the Q&A, I met with 9 students individually to critique their work. It was very interesting to have discussions with them. While I was meeting with one of the students, she told me, "I really got a lot from your critique. I am glad to have a fresh perspective on my work!" I was also very glad that I was helpful.

It has been two years since I finished my graduate program. After graduation, there were not many chances to present my work or to review other people’s work. I am so grateful to have this opportunity.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Interview with Japan Cinema

My schedule has been very hectic with shows and events happening through the end of the year. I have been meaning to write a blog post and the lazy me has finally gotten around to it. Apologies for my tardiness.

A couple months ago, I received an interview request from Marcello who is the founder of Japan Cinema. Japan Cinema is a 3-part lifestyle project that houses both film reviews, an online-magazine, and artist interviews. It acts as a natural expansion for movies, art, and Asian culture.

I was very impressed with all his interesting questions, and I wanted to share some excerpts from it here on my blog. If you'd like to read more, please visit here.

Japan Cinema: Do you believe that having an outsider perspective, having grown up in Korea, given you any advantages in acquiring an unique perspective approaching towards art?

Yong Joo:
I think having an outsider perspective from Korea isn’t an advantage per se. I think what matter is that you put yourself in a place of deep contrast. Since I had experiences living in both Providence and Seoul, I was able to compare and understand what the difference is. This was an important key to reflecting on my life and my art work.

I think our life is like a train travel. As soon as we are born, we are put on a train which is headed somewhere unknown. However, if we want to see what kind of train we are on before we get to the final destination, we need to get off the train at a rest stop for a moment. Then and only then will we be able to gain a perspective on what train we are on, where we have passed by, and where we may be headed to. In other words, it helps us become aware of our past and the present. Also the awareness of the past and the present works like a compass that allows us to guess where we may be headed in life, even though the future may be vague and uncertain. Changing my environment and culture has given me a moment to take a break, to get off at a rest stop. It has been a great opportunity to reflect on my history and life by stepping out of my familiar environment. I’ve been traveling so fast with the train, and never had a chance to really think about how I was living my life.

Japan Cinema: Would you recommend a creative to go to a formal college to further their career in this day & age?

Yong Joo:
That’s a difficult question. The advantage of a formal college is that we could study in depth our chosen field. In order to do that, it requires that we need to have a motivation, passion and interest in that chosen field. However, the problem is that our students often enter school without knowing what they are interested in or what they want to do. I didn’t go to undergraduate school in the U.S so it is hard to comment on the education in the U.S. However, from my experience in Korea, competition was a major theme that stayed with me while I was a student. Me and my friends suffered a great deal of stress due to the competitive and rigorous college prep environment in order to enter to prestigious university. Because the majority of my peers believed that scoring high were the only way to gain recognition in society, my peers decided to choose their major based on standardized test scores and they didn’t know what they are really interested in. I saw many colleague and friends who felt lost because they were not interested in their major. These days, the majority of college students try so hard to attain qualifications in order to get a successful job before they graduate.

I believe that each individual life is unique and creative. However under the current education system where the middle and high school has been standardized, each individual often becomes uniformized. It is more important to ask yourself and find out your true passion about what you are interested in, what you want to do with your life, and what you want to study,instead of wondering whether or not to go to college. When I came to study abroad at RISD, I had an opportunity to observe the freshman year students. I felt that a lot of them had great passion for their dream and had entered school with a lot of preparation. It was quite impressive. I think passion is a source of power that helps you overcome a lot of difficult tasks and workloads. Without it I think it would be very difficult to make it all the way through art school without becoming jaded or loosing interest.