Sunday, December 6, 2009

Elegance in Ink

Walking along Chongno Street more in the direction of Sinseoldong and Chegidong (where there's a concentration of older people and a lower amount of urban development) are street sellers, old people passing the time all bundled up, and even a rubber-squeegee name printer. The pedestrians are more leisurely in this area, old people typically with a lot of time on their hands, and they saunter past, many dawdling over fruit, lingering to chat with acquaintances, and also stopping to watch the rare artist in the area and his artistry that takes shape.

The local street artist paints words of fortune so people can hang these words in their homes and be recipients of attributes of what they seek. Many of these banner-like productions are sayings like "harmony", "wealth", and "happiness" painted in Chinese characters (some in Korean characters) and then decorated with stylistic animal and flower ornamentation. If a person wishes his or her name or even a saying painted, he or she just needs to tell the painter and the creation will be started.

This particular style of painting takes a lot of skill, calm hands and an artists vision of the outcome. The rubber squeegee, a rather unusual "paintbrush", is dipped in several inks - black, blue, red, green, and yellow - to different depths creating a layered look of color on the squeegee, and then the squeegee is rapidly applied to the paper is swishing artful arcs and lines. The outcome is swift and amazing. I've tried something similar but have no idea how the artist prevents the colors from bleeding like water colors do - these colors are certainly not oil or acrylic based as they dry quite rapidly. And shortly after being painted, they can be carefully scrolled and transported home for hanging on the wall to beckon the targeted fortune.

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