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Chapter 30 Part 1 - 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

To the Upper Class Society (2)

The next day, in Buam-dong.

This area, lined with mansions behind walls thrice my height, feels so distinct from other regions of Seoul that it could be mistaken for a posh neighborhood in San Francisco.

The street, built on a hill, is eerily quiet, not even a dog in sight.

It's clearly a wealthy neighborhood, but something feels off – perhaps the lack of warmth or neighborly connection?

As I adjust the backpack I always carry and ascend the hill, I recall yesterday's conversation with Minyoung.

“The client for the portrait is my mother. I've informed her, so please visit this address by two o'clock tomorrow afternoon. How long will it take?”

“It depends on the quality you're expecting.”

Minyoung's mother, the wife of a major hotel chain owner.

She wouldn't be asking for a quick pencil sketch like those I do on the streets of Ikseon-dong.

If it's for display at home, a canvas size between 60 to 80 should suffice, and since acrylic paint dries fast, it wouldn't take long.

But given who the client is, I can't rush it.

To produce a satisfactory painting, I'd need at least two weeks, and that's if I dedicate all my time to it. Minyoung readily agreed when I asked for three weeks.

She's a pleasant client, but such people require caution; generous time and payment often mean high expectations.

“Ah, is this it?”

The dauntingly high wall.

It's a warm, light orange brick, but its height imposes.

Standing in front of the house, I check my face with my phone camera and, with a nervous heart, press the bell.

Dressed in my only suit, I hope to make a good impression on this first meeting with the wife of a chaebol owner.

After ringing the bell, an intercom sounds.

-Yes, who is it?

“Hello, I'm the painter sent by President Yu Minyoung.”

The door opens silently after a beep, without a word. Hesitant to enter, I peek inside, realizing the interior leads to a garden.

I push the door and step in, astonished at the sight.

The chaebol house, only seen in dramas, is real.

Upon entering, the first sight is a stone staircase. Not a single tree in the garden seems carelessly planted, all meticulously maintained.

As I ascend the steps, a lady in an apron appears.

“Hello, I'm Ban Jeong-hoon.”


Her voice is not what I expected of a haughty chaebol wife. Looking up, I meet the eyes of a kindly smiling lady.

“Don't be nervous, I'm just a staff member here. Come in.”

I laugh at my misunderstanding and follow her through the garden to the house, unable to stop looking around like a country bumpkin.

The garden's vastness, the pond with koi fish jumping under a stone bridge, a stone pagoda, and beautiful trees - it's irresistibly captivating.

Inside, I'm led to a sofa in the living room, still in awe.

‘The living room ceiling is as high as my entire apartment building.’

The ceiling appears three stories high. More astonishing is the giant window matching this height, offering a full view of the beautiful garden through the floor-to-ceiling glass.

And this sofa I'm sitting on, made of lime green velvet, feels luxurious.

As the lady leaves to call the hostess, I quickly examine the sofa and am shocked.

‘Is this sofa Gucci?’

I thought they only made clothes, but they produce furniture too. And the wallpaper in front – is that Hermès?

Just selling the wallpaper might fetch millions.

Our mother always said not to touch wallpapers in others' homes, but when will I ever visit a chaebol house again? Lost in admiration, I'm brought back to reality by the sound of slippers.

Not the dragging sound of someone going to a local store, but a light scraping of indoor slippers. I stand up and stretch.

A middle-aged woman appears from a corridor, looking in her fifties though I heard she's 68.

Mrs. Kang, with brown hair, unlike the typical permed hair of mothers or ajummas, her waves elegantly reaching her shoulders.

Her plain blue dress, slightly loose, hides a surprisingly slim figure, not fitting her age.

Her beautiful face, though wrinkled, doesn't look 68. When she speaks, her voice is deep and dignified.

“Are you the painter Minyoung sent?”

“Yes, I'm Ban Jeong-hoon.”

“I'm Kang Yoojung. Please, sit. Ma'am, could you bring some coffee?”

Mrs. Kang sits gracefully on a single-seat sofa across from me.

Even sitting in her own house, she does so with such elegance. Do people like her sprawl on the sofa when alone

But she quickly composed herself and said, 

"I heard from Minyoung that you are an artist who participated in the refrigerator design of MG Electronics."

"Ah, I was lucky."

Mrs. Kang smiles with her eyes.

Then, behind her, a fantasy of flowers blooming appears.

Crazy, get a grip. This lady is older than my mother.

Mrs. Kang laughs while drinking coffee.

"What kind of child is Monica? It's not just a lucky artist she would work with."


Suddenly, I felt something strange. Mrs. Kang drinking coffee.

She is holding the teacup with her left hand.

But from her first appearance until now, I have never seen her right hand.

She is deliberately hiding it.

'What is it?'

Mrs. Kang glances at me, puts down her teacup, and says,

"Minyoung asked me to share my unreserved thoughts about your portrait. I heard it's a test to decide whether to entrust you with the decoration art of a hotel in Hannam-dong she's running."


I knew it was a test.

Was I to be entrusted with hotel decoration art?

Wow, if it's hotel decoration art, how much money is involved?

I must get this job.

While I'm rolling my eyes, Mrs. Kang, smiling at me, speaks.

"But what to do?"


Was it my illusion that her face, which had been blooming with smiles like flowers, now seems a bit cold?

Mrs. Kang looks me straight in the eye and says,

"Until now, there hasn't been a single portrait that satisfied me."

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