Why Edinburgh was the perfect home for this Korean glass artist
“The style of my pieces is playful and inspired by kidult toy culture,” says Moonju, 33. “Kids culture refers to adults who wish to maintain their sense of childhood happiness by enjoying popular cultural activities and products commonly used for children are destined. Through the application of a kitschy aesthetic, my work expresses a contrasting idea that joyfully blends certain darker themes, such as microaggression.”
Moonju’s distinctive style was recently showcased at Collect 2023, the international art fair for modern crafts and design at Somerset House in London. She was one of 10 designers and makers selected to be presented by Craft Scotland at the event.
The chosen creators represent some of the most exciting work happening in Scotland today. Moonju admits she was “honoured” to be part of the exclusive event, which welcomes an average of 20,000 visitors.
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“It was a blast!” she says. “I really appreciated all the great support.”
Her collection at the event, titled Nobody Knows What the Problem Really Is, depicts contrasting emotional states, primarily the youthful joy and micro-aggression. She points to one source of her current inspiration, which stems from “dark emotions caused by social pressures from everyday interactions in the UK as a female Asian minority”.
She says, “I hope that my artworks not only convey a sense of playfulness to viewers, but also encourage them to think about micro-aggression that generally arises from implicit bias.”
For Moonju it was love at first sight when it came to glass art and the techniques involved.
“I will never forget the moment I first saw the art glass making process, beautifully glittering with flames,” she reflects.
“This initial experience instilled a strong passion in me and eventually led me into the field of glass art when I was still a desk job and dreaming of a new creative path.”
After escaping her office job, Moonju honed her skills in graphic communication design, with a particular focus on character drawing. In 2021 she received an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) Glass degree from the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) at the University of Edinburgh.
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“I took an interdisciplinary approach to develop my artistic work, combining two different disciplines of graphic illustration and glass,” she explains. “This approach allows me to develop my art from a creative, hybrid perspective that differs from traditional studio glass artists.”
Moonju is currently studying at ECA for her PhD in Glass.
The Seoul-born artist admits she loves incorporating color and engraved images into her work. After deciding on the final designs, she heads to the ECA glass studio to begin making her pieces.
“I blow glass at the Hot Shop [workroom containing the furnace], the glass is then hand cut onto vinyl, sandblasted and finally engraved,” she says. “I mainly use pendulum drills for engraving.
“For me it can be a challenge to transfer a certain idea in my head to a physical object in glass art.”
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Though her animated glass figurines are delicate and detailed, Moonju hopes her work is more than just art.
“I’m a big fan of subcultures like manhwa/manga [Korean/Japanese comics], web novels, anime and mobile games. I would love to collaborate with such subcultural genres. I hope that my work will be further developed in various aspects so that it can appeal more to collectors.
“I’m also hoping to work with the colorful textile/fashion space – just the thought of it makes me very excited!”
https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/23433414.edinburgh-perfect-home-korean-glass-artist/?ref=rss Why Edinburgh was the perfect home for this Korean glass artist