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NO. 3

English  / Korean  


The beginning and the end of the year:
Recollections on the relationships and coincidences I met in the Netherlands

Yeun Kim
    Some unexpected coincidences and opportunities often come into our life. Some studies have shown that most of the choices in life are made by these kinds of chances.

    In 2019, I started a Korean painting studio under my name. I majored in Korean painting in Korea, but I came to the Netherlands to do a master's in design. Even though I've changed my study track, I was thinking about what I could do here with my background in Korean painting. Once, Deborah, a language exchange friend, suggested that I give Korean painting workshops to the students of Leiden University since she knew that I majored in Korean painting. It was the moment when I decided to start a Korean painting studio in the Netherlands. The first start was easier than I thought. I asked my parents, who are also art teachers, to send over books and materials that could be used for the workshops. I drew sample paintings whenever I had some spare time from my study. The Korean painting workshops received the attention of many people, and I thought that I could start classes more regularly if I prepared a little more.

    In the spring of 2020, I prepared for Korean painting workshops while working as an intern at a company. However, with the outbreak of COVID-19, I quit my internship earlier than initially planned, and I went back to Korea as the master courses were conducted online. Korean painting workshops were becoming difficult to proceed with. When COVID-19 calmed down, I returned to the Netherlands again to work on my thesis project. While working on my thesis, I didn't have space to think about Korean painting workshops, even with all questions through SNS. On the one hand, I wanted to forget about the Korean painting studio and do more design-related work I am doing now.

    But maybe fate indeed exists. When I thought about quitting, I had an opportunity to start the Korean painting studio again. My yoga academy teacher asked me to teach Korean painting to him. He even proposed to lend his studio cheaply for me to give Korean painting workshops there. Even though there was no reason to refuse the proposal, I initially agonized. I've come this far to study design, and I couldn't give up my life as a designer. Also, I was not confident enough to give Korean painting workshops with foreigners in English. I was even more confused about my identity, whether I was an artist, a designer, or a teacher who teaches painting.

    After all the considerations, I've started the workshops in the Yoga studio, and shortly after, Kelly, an artist working in Amsterdam, contacted me that she wanted to collaborate with me on Korean painting. We started online classes together, and I regularly invited Kelly to Delft to give workshops. We also began to offer classes in Amsterdam together, and some students continue to take classes regularly. We grew up very quickly together.

    The confusion about my identity began to disappear as classes continued. Looking back, I wasn't ready to accept myself. There was no need to define me as a 'designer' or an 'art teacher.' I am a person who does many different things simultaneously, and among them, teaching Korean painting is included. When I taught a student in Amsterdam, I thought I should continue doing this job. She said she wanted to paint as a hobby but didn't have the courage or chance to start it. One day, she saw the promotion of our studio, and she finally decided to try this time and took great courage to enter the class. When she said how she felt comfortable and had a new experience like meditating from my class, I thought that this might be why I should do this job. My role might not be only teaching them to draw well. But also providing experience, helping to focus on that moment, making the complex mind disappear, and letting them be healed while drawing.

    Looking back on 2021, I could see that there was a lot of growth. It was not just the growth of my Korean painting studio, but also a lot of growth myself. I learned to accept myself. I met many coincidences and opportunities, which made my life more colorful. Also, all of these consist of "me," so I didn't have to define myself as one thing. If you accept what happened by chance, find what you can do there, and work hard, other coincidences and opportunities will come.

    I already wonder what other coincidences will happen in 2022 and next year.


Yeun Kim︎︎︎
     Yeun Kim is a designer, entrepreneur, and owner of a Korean painting studio based in Delft and Amsterdam. She came to study for a master's in engineering to escape from Korean painting but started a Korean painting studio in 2019 by chance. Running Studio K&Y with artist Kelly Jang to teach Korean folk arts to people, she promotes Korean culture. Besides her Korean painting studio, she recently started a creativity-related startup as a designer and entrepreneur. She has multiple jobs, which means she does various things at the same time.
    김예은은 델프트와 암스테르담에 거주하는 디자이너이자 사업가, 한국화 스튜디오 운영자이다. 한국화를 벗어나려 공학 석사 유학을 왔으나, 어쩌다 보니 한국화 스튜디오를 시작하게 되었고 현재는 아티스트 kelly Jang과 함께 Studio K&Y를 운영하며 사람들에게 민화를 가르치고 한국문화를 알리고 있다. 한국화 스튜디오 외에 최근 디자이너이자 사업가로 Creativity 관련 스타트업을 시작하였고, 여러 가지 일을 동시에 하는 N잡러다.