Mijin Jeon is a 32-year-old Korean woman who has been working as a concept artist for eight years now. She met her husband two years ago and has since moved to New Zealand.
“I wasn’t satisfied with my work and had a feelings of doubt until a year ago. I had to deal with my stress from work for 8 years, as time went by I had an identity crisis, and I wanted to bring my ego back into my work. So I had time off from work for a year. During my time off from work, I went to travel, I tried to observed things with the eye of an artist, I focused on how the lights work and the human body. I also attended life-drawing sessions and took a lot of interest in the human body and it lead me to study anatomy. Those basic and banal exercises gave me a so much improvement in my art.”
She recommends the study of anatomy to many who inquire about her artistic talent, and want to improve their own. She mentions that she continues the same exercises from her class, because she is always looking to improve her skill.
“Most of my drawings are one person’s job alone, but what motivates me and gives energy to the artist are people around me and how I see and feel about them. I wish I could give every person a loving look and draw them in my works.”
CA: What would you classify your art style as, and what has been your favorite piece of work?
MJ: My favorite piece of work is ‘The girl with a backpack and travel carrier, because I like to travel and when I was drawing this piece I was sitting at the cafe and saw this girl outside of the window. She was walking along the street while looking at the map on her phone screen, and I wanted to go somewhere, just like her. While I was drawing her, I had a feeling that I was travelling somewhere as well.
CA: What got you into art and how long have you been doing it?
MJ: First time I got into art was when I was 5 years old, I remember I drew a horse, and my uncle was so surprised and gave me compliments, it was a happy moment for me. After that, I just liked to draw, and it became just part of childhood play for me. When I was studying at University drawing was just a way of getting into the industry and get a job. At that time it didn’t enjoy me and satisfy, it was just another day at work. I have been drawing for almost 27 years, but I guess nearly half of that time wasn’t fun or never taste the pride at all. I had great a change and a big step up in my drawing and attitude last year when I had a year off from work, and I love my work I think it is a fulfilling job for me.
CA: In what setting do you like to create the most?
MJ: I love to go to libraries and cafes. I go to cafe most of the time, I spend hours there and get a lot of inspiration from different people.
CA: Who are some of your favorite artists?
MJ: Well.. There are so many artists that I like so I don’t know where to start. If I have to name them in a list, I like:
Takahashi Rumiko- Ranma 1/2
Glen Keane- former Disney Supervisor
Daisuke Tsutsumi-Tsutsumi Dice
Miyazaki Hayao… and many more!
CA: Have you experimented with any other mediums, such as painting or sculpting?
MJ: It is quite common to go private educational institute for high school students who are applying for arts university in Korea. They learn many skills through using different mediums. However, I grow up from a poor family, and my parent didn’t have enough money to send me those private art lessons. So I had to train by myself, pen and pencils are accessible material for me because they were cheap and easy to get.
If there is an opportunity to learn, I wish to learn and try oil painting and creating miniature sculptures.
CA: Do you have any real life experiences that have influenced your work?
MJ: I think many moments in life affects my work. I try to draw what I feel and see the situations. I had a sudden impulse when I love someone, when I spend time with my friends or when something visually shocked me. I think all those experience influences my drawing consciously or subconscious.
CA: In your experience what has been the best thing about creating?
MJ: Well, it’s different every time. I used to think of actions and movement in the drawing, but I found fun when I catch and draw the little action from mundane life, it doesn’t have to be a something big.
Check out Mijin on her instagram or if you’d like to commission a piece you can email her at email@example.com
Interview by: Jasmine Woodward
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