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Chapter 81 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

Holding a Solo Exhibition (4)

A solo exhibition or a joint exhibition.

Most painters consider having an exhibition in their own name a great honor. Even amateur painters who are not professionals often prepare everything by themselves for a solo exhibition without spending a lot of money.

I was the same.

Even though a solo exhibition that requires a huge amount of time is beyond one's wildest dreams, I once joined an artists' group in Sindang-dong to prepare for a street exhibition that would happen ten months later, without considering the costs too much.

A life of gathering in a communal studio in the basement of a commercial building, discussing art with impoverished painters, creating works, and dreaming of the day we would be recognized. It was an ideal job for a young me.

But the reality was harsh.

Most of the painters there had to worry about their livelihoods.

Many among them who worked day or night for a living and did their artistic work in their spare time had to give up halfway. To make matters worse, the company that was sponsoring our exhibition withdrew its support, leading to the cancellation of the exhibition.

The five months I spent working at a convenience store for night shifts to have time to work during the day went up in smoke. But I didn't give up. Since I was somewhat supported for studio costs through the national art grants, I kept on working, hoping I might get lucky and find another exhibition opportunity.

Eight months into preparing for the exhibition.

I couldn't hold on any longer. Why?

Because a fire broke out in the Chinese restaurant operating in the same basement as my studio, and many of my works were burned. The commercial building, rented out cheaply with national subsidies, was too vulnerable to fire.

At that moment, I ran into the building and barely managed to save a few half-burned canvases. But none of them were in a state to be exhibited.

Staring blankly at the burning building with my face covered in soot, a firefighter told me to step back because it was dangerous. I was so upset that I even got angry at the hard-working firefighters. Looking back, I don't understand why I acted that way.

Several days had passed since Minyoung's proposal.

I was thinking about the exhibition I had prepared before, pondering what to paint and what themes to explore.

In the past, I only focused on creating impressive paintings, constantly drawing large landscape paintings. But what should I paint this time? I don't want to repeat the same attempts as before.

Even after a few days, I still couldn't decide, but it was okay. There was plenty of time left.


At the W Tree Hannam theater.

I nervously walked into the theater in an Italian bespoke suit I had bought at Monica's suggestion.

Today was the day to meet the other painters with whom I would hold the exhibition.

Embarrassingly, I had never met any moderately famous painters in Korea. I had always been at the very bottom.

What would they think of me?

Would I be ignored from the start?

They must all be geniuses who have studied abroad, right?

Not wanting to be outdone, I checked my suit one last time before entering the theater.

Currently, the theater at W Tree was preparing for the world-renowned musical Cats.

I heard that the foreign performance team was coming to Korea, but the actors hadn't arrived yet, and only stage construction was underway.

The theater, a bit messy from the stage art installation.

But the theater, built in the Baroque style, still flaunted its splendor amidst the disarray.

In the front row of the theater seats.

Five people sitting in the very seats where I watched Irina's performance are visible.

They all turn their heads when they hear me coming in, but I don't recognize any of them.

Five people looking at me, two men and three women.


I'm not the outgoing type, but since I was late, I greeted them first. Then all five of them stood up.

They didn't have to do that.


A simple greeting is exchanged. An awkward and embarrassing moment without any introductions. Fortunately, Minyoung soon enters the theater. Everyone seems to know her face, as they all stand up to greet her without being told.

Minyoung nods and says.

"I believe you have been informed through the secretary's office. I am Yoo Minyoung, the representative of W Tree Hannam. I am happy to meet young painters who will shine in Korea."

The painters silently bowed in greeting.

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