by Annierra Matthews
Kyungmin Park, a ceramic artist from South Korea, spoke at the University of West Georgia on October 4, 2013. Currently, Kyungmin teaches ceramics at Auburn University in Alabama. Her work is on display at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport through January 2014, and her “Playmates” exhibit will be on display until October 31, 2013 in the Humanities building.
"Taken," stoneware, glaze, milk, paint, resin. March 2012.
Kyungmin began her presentation with her very first piece of artwork, a childhood pen-and-pencil drawing of her family. She continued to hone her craft throughout her youth with frequent drawings of other people. Although her mother insisted on violin lessons, Kyungmin’s passion lay in visual art. At age twelve, she told her parents that she wanted to be an artist for the rest of her life, and they let her attend an art high school.
Kyungmin’s favorite shows, Pingu and Wallace and Gromit, instilled in her an interest in clay figures. She was so intrigued by them that she went to a crafting shop to learn from observation how to create little figures. In high school, she created a clay project consisting of various one-inch characters like Snow White and the seven dwarfs.
While attending college in South Korea, Kyungmin was instructed to make fifty to seventy bowls for a class assignment. The assignment frustrated Kyungmin, who knew she didn’t want to be confined to creating bowls. When a professor she was close to suggested Kyungmin study ceramics in America, she jumped at the opportunity. Although it took three tries, she was eventually accepted into Alfred University’s ceramics program in New York. There, she earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree. After Alfred, Kyungmin went to obtained her Master’s of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia.
As Kyungmin began to learn more about ceramics from working in an art gallery, she began to challenge herself. At first, she stuck with making pottery creations, such as one with a girl balancing pottery on her head. Later, however, Kyungmin decided to utilize more color in her artwork and learn how to sculpt. She has since designed many amazing three-dimensional works of art inspired by everyday encounters. One project made from porcelain and underglaze, titled “I Fish You,” was inspired by three girls gossiping about each other behind their backs. Kyungmin thought this was a “fishy” situation, so she created a piece with two girls chatting with fish coming out of their mouths.
Kyungmin enjoys her life and the various works she creates. Her artwork is carefree and tells a story, and that’s how she wants people to view it. “If I can make people giggle and laugh, then that’s all I want,” she explains.