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Chapter 82 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

The gathering didn't last too late.

Around 10 PM, after wrapping up, I headed down to catch a bus below the hotel.

Walking down the hill, I gazed at the night view of Seoul and was lost in thought.

'What kind of painter am I?'

A very simple question.

Yet, it's a question I couldn't find an answer to.

Kwang-ho must have had no ill intent in asking me that question.

It was just out of curiosity, but it caught me off guard.

It's a perfectly normal and ordinary question among artists.

I am not a painter who draws something. I am a painter who makes money.

Am I ashamed of that? Not at all.

I have always hated poverty. I still do.

I'd rather be a well-paid designer than a poor but honorable painter.

But those designers can clearly articulate what they do.

What frustrates me even more is that I haven’t decided what to paint for this exhibition.

I don’t know what I’ve painted so far, nor what I will paint in the future, yet I hastily joined this exhibition with these genius artists.

This feels more like an apology to other artists than shame towards myself.

Because everyone is devoting their lives to their art.

I was walking with my shoulders slumped when a car's headlights shone behind me.

I was on the sidewalk, so I didn't pay attention, but the car stopped beside me, and the driver's window rolled down.

"Ban Jeong-hun?"

Someone calls my name.

I turn and see the installation artist Kim Jeong-min.

"Ah, Artist Kim."

What an honor to talk to such a person. But I'm not in the mood right now.

Kim Jeong-min's car is a luxurious sedan.

The Mercedes logo standing tall at the front seems to represent the gap between her and me.

Honestly, I can afford it now, but it feels like wearing clothes that don't fit, so I hesitate to buy one.

"Didn't you bring your car?"

I don't have a car.

"Yes, I was about to take the bus."

"Get in, I'll give you a ride."

"It's okay."

"The bus stop is quite far."

Ah, if the bus stop is on the way, then it's okay.

"Ah, then I'll take the ride, thank you."

Kim Jeong-min is sociable enough to lead the mood at the earlier gathering. She smiles at me, sitting in the passenger seat.

"I heard you say you're twenty-eight."

Does she have good ears? When I was talking to Kwang-ho earlier, she was actively chatting with others. When did she hear that?

"Yes, that's right."

"I'm forty. Can we talk comfortably? You can call me 'noona'."

What? I can call Kim Jeong-min 'noona'?

"Really? Can I call you 'noona'?"

"Yes, I prefer it that way."

"Yes, noona."

My mood, which had hit rock bottom, slightly lifts.

To think I'm now addressing a renowned artist as 'noona'.

As she drives down the winding hill road, Jeong-min noona says,


"Yes, noona."

"You're lucky."

"Excuse me?"

She glances at me while holding the steering wheel and smiles.

"You're already painting at twenty-eight."


"I was a company employee at your age."

Really? Kim Jeong-min was?

"What company did you work for?"

"A semiconductor company."

"Did you switch to artistry from there?"

"Yes, when I was thirty."

"That's amazing, noona."

It really is amazing. She must have joined a major company after graduating from Ewha Womans University's College of Engineering. To have the courage to give up everything and pursue her path at thirty is remarkable.

Noona smiles broadly and says,

"Do you know what I make?"

Of course, I know.

"You do installation art with thread and lights. I actually saw your pop-up exhibition in Dongdaemun."

"Ah, that one."

"It was really impressive. It felt like I was in a different world."

I'm envious. If only I had something clear to define what I make, like her.

Jeong-min noona smiles with her eyes and says,

"Do you know how old I was when I started doing this? My current art."

I would have thought she started from the beginning.

"I don't know."

"It's been less than five years."


What? Wait a minute.

She's forty now, so if it's been 5 years, she started at thirty-five? Didn't she say she switched careers at thirty?

"What did you do in those 5 years then?"

"I was finding what I should do."


She stops the car in front of the bus stop, holds the steering wheel, and looks at me.

"It's okay if you haven't decided what to paint yet. It's not a big deal. But remember this, Jeong-hoon. Whatever you're doing now, all of it is part of the journey to finding what you will paint in the future. Just remember that and keep working hard on your art; that's enough."

I look at her with newfound admiration.

This person. She's a good person. There was a reason she diffused that awkward situation earlier.

"Thank you, noona."

"Stay strong. By the way, where do you live?"


"I see, I would have given you a ride if we were going the same way. I live in Jongno."


Suddenly struck by a thought, I quickly speak up.

"I actually have to go to Jongno as well. Can I ride along with you? I just need to get off near Jongmyo."

"Oh, really? That's great for me, too. Less boring."

Noona's car starts moving again.

I reflect on what she said earlier.

'I am currently in the process of finding what I should paint. That's nothing to be ashamed of.'

Where is my answer?

I don't know the answer, but I know where to find it.

'I'm going to the museum.'

The museum that made everything I have now.

Right now, I'm headed there.

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