The Q&A #8 of ON! Storie is dedicated to an illustrator inspired by Gustav Klimt, Glasgow’s architecture and the beauty behind everyday’s simple things. Come and meet SUJIN HAN, an artist focused on her “Now or Never”, who loves Japanese traditional stories and who showed us what happens when Korea’s outlook on art meets the West’s.
Sujin, where are you writing from and how does your city inspire you?
I am writing from Glasgow, Scotland, a city full of artists! The architecture that is a combination of past and present, this harsh weather and the arts, all of this makes Glasgow. I especially like the color of the old buildings; shapes and details inspire me a lot. It is quite different from my home town.
How does your Korean culture live alongside the Scottish surrounding? How do they influence each other?
My works in Korea were more focused on the things that I knew and I was familiar with. I now try to add more imagination to my every day life and experiences; see all the ordinary things in a different perspective to make them more special.
About this life in Scotland: I have just moved in, so everything is still new. Even eating, walking, and breathing, I am doing exactly the same things I did in Korea! Nonetheless, I feel like doing something new all the time. I believe this experience will give me a new perspective on life.
Which are your major sources of inspiration?
The theme behind my most recent works is the drawing out of the special from the mundane. I am inspired by the people who surround me and my daily routine. Artworks can originate with a chat, and living the day. A word from a friend, pictures by my parents, the sunset at the end of the day: these are the moments that can make our life more special. My inspiration starts with a look around me.
Three illustrators that you look up to, past and/or present.
I will happily write down 3 artists! Gustav Klimt, Salvador Dali and David LaChapelle. I know so many good illustrators, but I want to talk about artists regardless of their art genre. I look up to them because they had/have a firm faith. Their styles have very unique characteristics, ideas, colors, and a perspective of the world. All these things make their art timeless.
If you could go back in time, where and when would you go?
Actually, I always try to think that today is the best day of my life, and I try to never look back to my past. However, if I could go back, I would go back to 2013. It was a time when I wanted to give up drawing. It was a moment a bit hard for me, full of confusion. I would love to go back to that year and say to myself “You are doing things right, so you don’t have to be impatient.”
How would you describe Korea’s modern approach to the visual arts? In what way is it different from Europe’s?
Contemporary South Korea is very interested in the visual arts, there is a variety of artworks and styles coming out at the moment. I think that in Korea artists try to show their unique perspective and thoughts. They are more concentrated on personal creation.
In Europe, I have just moved, so I can’t be sure. But it seems to me that there is more collaboration between artists, for example collective exhibitions. There’s more opportunity for artists to interact.
What do you like to do when you’re not working? How do you unwind?
I love walking! Even if it’s the same road or surrounding: if I’m in a different mood I can see things that I haven’t noticed before. Just feeling the wind on my face, without thinking about anything, helps me to refresh my mind. Of course, I also love to organize field trips and experience other countries’ cultures.
A book you love that you would have liked to illustrate yourself.
I love so many books regardless of their genres, but one of my favorite book is 食堂かたつむり( The restaurant of snails). It is a Japanese novel, and the main character is called Lingo. She has killed her lover, so she decides to cook to heal herself. She then opens a restaurant to heal others with her cooking.
Like her, I am not perfect. I make a lot of mistakes and I sometimes choose poorly. But I think our mistakes make our life special. Like in this book, from the worst will come an opportunity to try something new.
Do you have a motto that always cheers you up and keeps you going?
One of my mottos is ‘Now or never’. This moment is a time we will never live again. Do it. It is better to do, and in case to regret after. When I have to decide whether to do or not to do something, I think about this motto. Now or never! How hard can it be?
One advice for wannabe freelance illustrators.
This is the hardest thing for me too… Have confidence in yourself!
Follow Sujin on Instagram!