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Chapter 20 Part 2 - The Mysterious Art Museum

A street artist's life changed when he ended up at a mysterious art museum. DBT,Korean,Novel,Translation,Art,Artist,Slice of life,Poor to Rich,Mystery

"They say it's a village where the people of Roseto, who had no way to make a living, immigrated to the US and lived together."

"The village must have been poor."

Suyeong nodded and said.

"It is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, and it is 54 km away from the city center. It has a beautiful scenery that preserves the medieval appearance, but the population has been declining for 50 years. In 2022, the Italian Ministry of the Interior allocated 500,000 euros as a settlement fund for the returnees, but the decline continues."

I don't know how much 500,000 euros is. Suyeong continues.

"There were so many empty houses in the village that anyone who wanted to come in could buy a house for a symbolic price of 1 euro. But after the population fell below 1,000 in 2022, they are now giving away houses for free. But there are still more than 60 empty houses in the village."

I see. Oh, how severe must the population decline be for houses to be given away for free? I'm a bit envious, having given up on buying a house in this lifetime.

I briefly indulged in escapism, imagining myself immigrating to Italy and painting in the beautiful countryside of the village.

Then, it suddenly occurred to me that the information I had heard about Monica was coming together.


A subsidiary with 100% ownership.

Part-time jobs for covering the costs of land acquisition and other expenses.

A hometown village disappearing due to population decline?

I furrowed my brow in thought. Suyeong asked me, noticing my expression.

"What's wrong?"

"Suyeong," I said.


"By any chance, do you know the area Monica is considering for buying as a factory or business site?"

"That... might take some time to find out."

"I can wait as long as it takes. The test won't end unless I leave this room."

Suyeong seemed momentarily flustered by the strange request, then stood up.

"This isn't something I can check with a search. Let me call a contact."

"I'm sorry to trouble you."

"No problem."

Suyeong left with her phone.

I could hear her talking outside in Italian, suggesting that her contact was Italian. She's more connected than I thought. She knows people in Italy too. Maybe she studied abroad in Italy. With her career in MG Electronics' design department, studying abroad must have been part of the course.

After a short while, Suyeong came back in with a slightly surprised look.

"Mr. Jung Hoon, did you know this when you asked?"

It seems my guess was correct.

"Is the factory site near that village?"

Suyeong nodded.

"Yes, Monica bought land near Roseto Valforte Village, about 2km to the southwest for the factory site."

That's it, this is it.

I clenched my fist in triumph and bowed to Suyeong.

"You've been a great help. I'll get back to the test now. I'll take good care of the meal you provided, thank you."

Suyeong hesitated as if she wanted to ask or tell me something, but eventually left without saying more.

Left alone, I hung a new canvas and stared at the blank paper, smiling to myself.

"Got it."

Alphonse Mucha once said to draw pictures that tempt the heart. To seduce people, one should paint a happy image of what they desire.

Monica wants to establish her own brand.

She wants to build a factory in her hometown.

She wants a company with 100% ownership.

Putting all this information together, I can form a hypothesis.

"If she wants to build a factory in a place far from fashion sanctuaries like Florence, Rome, and Milan, she needs a company with 100% capital initially."

Of course, as the company grows, investment will be inevitable.

But by then, the factory would have already been established.

She wants to put the factory site in her hometown village to provide jobs for the villagers, who otherwise would have had to immigrate to the U.S. due to a lack of employment, ensuring they could live well without having to leave.

And ultimately, what she wants is for her beautiful hometown village not to disappear but to become a prosperous and livable place.

I quickly sketched the buildings of the village from the photograph Suyeong showed me earlier, before I forgot them.

The village appeared to be carved out of a plain in the middle of a forest, with woods below, on either side, and at the back, and the village buildings gave a warm feeling with their brown tones and light red roofs.

Although I was drawing from memory, I'm quite good at remembering brief moments, often sketching passersby during idle times in my usual portrait painting sessions.

Comparing the completed sketch with the lingering image of the village in my mind, I smiled and muttered.

"I've decided what to draw. Now, the remaining part."

How to draw it? That's the only thing left to solve.

Going back to my initial thoughts when conceptualizing, what I need to focus on as my winning move is the 'idea.' Looking at the sketch of the village, lost in thought, I contemplated.

"Artists who constructed a new world beyond the framework of the canvas with bizarre ideas."

The first artist that comes to mind is Salvador Dalí.

He was not only an artist but a true eccentric in every aspect of life. Saying such a thing from an art student's perspective might sound odd, but my initial thought when seeing his paintings was that he must be 'mentally troubled.'

Next, the painter that comes to mind is René Magritte.

A person who jumbles up the viewer's mind and creates paintings that evoke new impulses. He was so shocking that it made me rethink surrealism when I saw his painting "The Son of Man" during my school days.

And then, Paul Klee.

A painter leading into the world of richly colorful abstraction based on meticulous theories. However, applying his paintings as ideas for portraits is too challenging to comprehend.

Who else could there be?

Marcel Duchamp, who pioneered a different artistic world through creative naming?

Hieronymus Bosch, a medieval painter more modern and eccentric than contemporary modernists?

Ogata Kōrin, who pioneered the flow of decorative design leading into the modern era in Japan?

Or even Katsushika Hokusai, known for saying that he can draw anything that exists in the world?

Joan Miró, the master of modern abstract painting who liberated art from the narrow confines of the canvas?

Andy Warhol, the rebel of the masses who elevated vulgarity to the realm of art?

The history of art is long, and there were many geniuses.

Geniuses, like meteors that I need to steal from and learn from, stir up my mind.

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