+ -

Chapter 91 - 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 Painting for Them (5)

"The role of an artist is to make art applicable to people's lives."

This was what he said to his brother the first day he observed Klimt in his dream. At that moment, I felt as if a huge bell was tolling in my heart.

Had I met Henri before Klimt, my choice would have been to portray the marginalized. Art and images, being visual arts, are linked to seeing. I simply thought that since visually impaired people cannot see, expression would be impossible and unnecessary for them.

But I met Klimt before meeting Henri.

I thought of ways to apply art to the lives of the visually impaired, a marginalized group.

"Now, the first person on the right, take your hand off the safety bar and feel around the area at hand height. There should be a small metal plate there with a description of the artwork."

At the front is a young man with a sports haircut.

The young man fumbles for the plate, touches the familiar braille, and his face lights up.


Seeing his reaction, I smiled and said.

"If you go about 30cm straight from the plate, you'll find the painting at the same height. It's a painting you can touch freely without any problem."

Although only one person has touched the braille on the plate so far, the faces of the students behind him light up with anticipation when they hear that they can touch the painting.

The sports-haired young man cautiously feels and touches the painting.

He stays in front of the artwork for a long time, but no one behind him rushes him.

This is because there is no one who doesn't understand that it takes them a little longer to comprehend the painting compared to ordinary people who can just look and move on.

Standing in a position where the painting is at belly button height, I spoke to the students touching the painting.

"Itaewon was one of the Joseon Dynasty's relay stations. A relay station was a place that rented out post horses and provided lodging and meals to foreign travelers, and even today, you can see many foreigners in Itaewon."

The sports-haired young man's face brightens as he listens to my explanation and touches the painting.


Chairman Yoo, standing a step behind the visually impaired people who are touching the painting, asked.

"But honey, what kind of painting is that, so uneven? It doesn't seem like a sculpture."

"It's a painting done in the Matière technique."

"What is that?"

Minyoung interjects.

"You know oil painting, Dad?"

"Yeah, I do. It's painting with thickly applied oil-based paint to give a three-dimensional effect, right?"

"That's right."

"That looks like oil painting to you? It's completely different! That looks like... fabric."

Mrs. Kang turns to her husband and says.

"There's a famous Korean painter named Kim Whanki."

Chairman Yoo, recognizing the name Kim Whanki, responds with delight.

"Oh, I know him. The one who paints moons and jars? I heard there's a retrospective of his work coming up."

Mrs. Kang nods and says.

"Among his early works, there were Matière technique pieces where he mixed newspapers and magazines into the paint and then applied them to the canvas."

"Oh... So that's it."

"Right, but these works have been specially treated to reduce the warm texture and increase the strength with an external coating."

"For the visually impaired?"

"Seems like it."

Just then, the first student who was touching the painting moves on to the next one and calls out from behind.

"I've only heard about Itaewon Class, but this is my first time feeling it! So this is what Itaewon is like, it must be really cool!"

Hearing the young man's words, Chairman Yoo finally takes in Jeonghoon's entire work.

The wide space with an empty center. A comfortable space where visually impaired people can move in a line without obstacles. And the paintings that densely fill the edges of the space.

"The paintings..."

Images of Itaewon, Dongdaemun Market, Gyeongbokgung, Deoksugung, Changgyeonggung, the statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin in Gwanghwamun, and the landscapes of Inwangsan and Bukhansan. These are places closely related to our lives but unknown to the visually impaired, all depicted in Seoul using the Matière technique.

Minyoung's eyes widen as she realizes this at a similar time as Chairman Yoo.

"Can this be?"

She hadn't expected this?

Right after seeing the paintings drawn in the Matière technique and witnessing the visually impaired come to see them, she realized that they were painted for them. But she never imagined that they were also meant to let them touch and imagine the beautiful scenery of Seoul.

Minyoung looks at Jeonghoon's back.

Today, his back looks broader and larger than usual

Jeonghoon, who had been observing, adds an explanation.

"You learned about the Joseon Dynasty in school, right? Gyeongbokgung Palace was the first palace built in the Joseon Dynasty by King Taejo when he relocated the capital to Hanyang. The next painting, Gwanghwamun, is the main gate of Gyeongbokgung and even now, it's a plaza where people gather to cheer during national soccer matches."

The students behind him exclaimed impatiently.

"Me too! I want to touch it too! Every time I hear on the news about tens of thousands gathering at Gwanghwamun Square, I've been curious!"

Jeonghoon claps his hands and calms the students.

"Alright, everyone! You'll be the only ones in this exhibition hall for a while, so take your time and touch as long as you want. No one's going to say anything. Understand? Slowly, slowly."

Mrs. Kang looks at Jeonghoon and smiles broadly.

Chairman Yoo, with a serious face, looks alternately at Jeonghoon and the students, then nods his head.

"He's not just a simple painter. He's much bigger than I thought."

Showing scenes the students are most curious about and want to see.

It wasn't the first time someone attempted art for the visually impaired. Historically, there have been numerous attempts.

Creating tactile 3D reproductions of famous paintings or reproducing well-known sculptures to be physically touched.

Chairman Yoo, deep in thought, looks at Jeonghoon's back.

"However, all those attempts were about keeping the art itself static, trying to make the viewer understand it. Never like this, showing what they were curious about and wanted to see."

Chairman Yoo looks at the back of Jeonghoon's head.

"We've always shown what we wanted to show. No one ever considered what they wanted to see."

Chairman Yoo steps forward to stand beside Jeonghoon.

Jeonghoon, looking at the students with Chairman Yoo, is asked.

"Mr. Ban."

"Yes, Chairman. There! Jiyong, help that student. He missed the safety bar."


"Oh, sorry. What were you saying?"

Even as he talks, Jeonghoon checks on the students' safety.

Chairman Yoo, looking at Jeonghoon's profile, asks.

"Are you doing all this because your brother is visually impaired?"


Jeonghoon looks at his brother, who hasn't yet touched the first painting, waiting while holding another student's shoulder, and then smiles and says.

"That's one of the reasons, certainly. But it's not the only one."

"Not the only one? What are the other reasons?"

Jeonghoon looks at Chairman Yoo.

With a serious face, he meets the eyes of the chairman and speaks.

"Artists have many concerns. They spend their lives trying to find their own unique style."

"Of course, they grow up looking at and learning from famous paintings with unique styles."

"Many painters wonder. How to paint? How to express?"


"But I think the true premise that artists should ponder are two things: What to paint? And for whom to paint?"


Jeonghoon looks back at Mrs. Kang.

"Have you heard about when I was painting Mrs. Kang's portrait?"

Chairman Yoo laughs heartily.

"I've heard so much my ears burn. My wife jumps up even from sleep if it's about Mr. Ban."

"Ha ha."

"So, why did you bring up that story?"

Jeonghoon, smiling along with Mrs. Kang, says.

"I talked with Mrs. Kang for several months back then. Of course, it wasn't just talking. I made many sketches to capture her various expressions for a more vibrant portrait."

"I know, that must be why my wife was so pleased with the portrait."

Jeonghoon looks slowly at Chairman Yoo.



"The reason Mrs. Kang liked my painting wasn't just because of the lively expressions or because the painting itself was beautiful."


Jeonghoon looks back at Mrs. Kang. Their eyes meet, both smiling.

"During those months of sketching and talking, I realized that the most important value in Mrs. Kang's heart was 'family.' And what she truly wanted was to maintain a warm home until her children grew up and became independent."


"I captured in my painting what Mrs. Kang wanted to see. Her past and future she wanted to remember."

Jeonghoon looks back at the students.

"And this time, I've just kept to that belief."

Read ahead by supporting me on Ko-fi. Access 5 advance chapters with the Doddle Dabbler Tier ($8) or 10 advance chapters with Artist Apprentice Tier ($15) or 20 advance chapters with Master Artisan Tier ($25) For every $15 collected on Ko-fi, I will release an extra chapter. Choose your tier by clicking the 'Support me' button! Rate and review this novel on NU to help people find this novel. Bonus chapters on reaching milestones. Happy reading!

Post a Comment