It was a beautiful moment in the drama. In a room bathed in the warm afternoon light, Mi-young sketched intently on her canvas with her graceful and deft pencil strokes while Geon, her once estranged husband, gazed at her from a distance, mesmerized. The book he was pretending to read rested upside down on his lap for an hour, without him noticing it.
Fateful encounters are imbued with such ephemeral qualities. A girl was ready to give herself to a perfidious guy when Destiny brought her to one who would come to treasure and keep her in the most delicate corner of his heart. Accident and illness wiped out her new-found happiness but another man who crossed paths with her took her to a land where she got to create a rosier future from scratch.
Fate is also when life parallels fiction. Just as Mi-young transformed herself from a doormat into a confident artist successful in love and in career, real-life artist Youk Shim Won, whose works populate the later half of the drama and the runway, adapted traditional oriental painting techniques and materials to produce modern designs celebrating self-assured and exuberant women. One of those sets of works which feel like a breath of fresh air in East Asian art, Youk’s commercial paintings reject the often unquestioning reverence for subtlety in oriental art traditions and the all-enveloping angst prevalent in many contemporary artworks. Instead, vibrant hues and pastel colors blossom across the canvas while gentle lines glide and flow freewheelingly alongside them to generate close-ups of females unafraid of indulging in and exhibiting their joy and content with themselves.
Yet, according to Youk’s philosophy, the seeds of change have always been around. In her words, “every woman is a princess […] who possesses inner beauty and dreams, from which she envisions new happiness.” The fact of being female alone is enough to inspire change. In her designs, ladies and girls of all natures – gamine, wild, sophisticated, peasantly, mysterious alike – embrace themselves for what they are. In a sense, Mi-young embodied this idea. Even though the events that turned her life for the better happened by serendipity, she always had the qualities that allowed her to actually reap from them. She was thoughtful and had a heart of gold, traits that attracted the devoted love of Geon and her benefactor and got projected into the inviting warmth of her (or rather, Youk’s) drawings. Away from her regular life as an overwhelmed and underrecognized post-it girl, she had found simple joy in mug painting. Fate merely nudged her to pursue what she deserved and truly loved to the fullest extent.
Beauty is channeled when you take the leap of faith to be in your element. Such is the way Fate concocts its magic.
© Youk Shim Won
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