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(Yonhap Interview) Artist serves as medium for his digital creation

2018/01/19 14:07

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By Woo Jae-yeon

SEOUL, Jan. 19 (Yonhap) -- Artist Noh Sang-ho sees himself as a medium. Thousands of pieces of visual information pass through him and turn into something different, with new images, forms and narratives.

His method of creation sets him apart from other, conventional artists. He collects images online, prints them out and traces the images onto a piece of paper. Then he paints them in watercolors and invents a story to go with them.

Artistic sensibility, creativity and vision are added, and the original image changes the way he wants it to. The transformed visual information is put out online again through his social media accounts.

This undated photo provided by Noh Sang-ho shows the artist himself. (Yonhap) This undated photo provided by Noh Sang-ho shows the artist himself. (Yonhap)

This image from artist Noh Sang-ho's homepage shows "Rabbit Kingdom." (Yonhap) This image from artist Noh Sang-ho's homepage shows "Rabbit Kingdom." (Yonhap)

This image from artist Noh Sang-ho's homepage shows "The Hair Stuck Princes." (Yonhap) This image from artist Noh Sang-ho's homepage shows "The Hair Stuck Princes." (Yonhap)

"I receive so much information from the virtual world, which travels through me. I am a producer and consumer at the same time. Also, I am a medium," Noh told Yonhap News Agency during a recent interview at Laheen Gallery in Yeonnam-dong, western Seoul.

"I am like a filter that stands between incoming and outgoing information."

   Noh is currently holding the group exhibition "Culture Wave Surfer" at the gallery with two other artists, Shin Mo-rae and Kelly Park, whose works are popular among young Korean art lovers.

But he said he doesn't often feel the need to hold physical exhibitions as he runs a successful virtual gallery 24/7 on his Instagram.

This undated photo provided by artist Noh Sang-ho shows his paintings on view at West Warehouse in Seoul in 2016. (Yonhap) This undated photo provided by artist Noh Sang-ho shows his paintings on view at West Warehouse in Seoul in 2016. (Yonhap)

This undated photo provided by artist Noh Sang-ho and taken by photographer Jo Jun-yong shows Noh's paintings hung on hangers. (Yonhap) This undated photo provided by artist Noh Sang-ho and taken by photographer Jo Jun-yong shows Noh's paintings hung on hangers. (Yonhap)

"I have more than 23,000 followers on it. If I run an exhibition, how many will actually turn up? Considering the cost (of holding an exhibition), it doesn't make much sense to me," the 31-year-old artist said.

As his artwork is heavily consumed online, he doesn't feel very attached to keeping the original paintings in paper form, he said, adding that a scanned copy of a painting would do. So far he's had about 1,500 such files on his computer.

Noh said he is deeply influenced and inspired by American artist Henry Darger, one of the most celebrated practitioners of outsider art, who only became famous for the huge amount of posthumously found books, drawings and paintings. Like Darger, he uses tracing as the groundwork for making art and creates a fantastical story based on what he observes in the real world.

This undated photo provided by artist Noh Sang-ho shows his solo exhibition "The Great Chap Book" at West Warehouse in Seoul in 2016. (Yonhap) This undated photo provided by artist Noh Sang-ho shows his solo exhibition "The Great Chap Book" at West Warehouse in Seoul in 2016. (Yonhap)

This image provided by Noh Sang-ho shows one of his paintings. (Yonhap) This image provided by Noh Sang-ho shows one of his paintings. (Yonhap)

A graduate of the printmaking department at Seoul's Hongik University, the artist for years created one painting a day, accompanied by a story, for a project he called "Daily Fiction," out of anxiety as a young artist with an uncertain future, he said.

One of his breakthrough projects was designing the cover for Korean indie band Hyukoh's album "20" in 2014. The album by the then rookie band gained critical acclaim, and Noh illustrated the covers for the band's next two albums, "22" and "23."

   In 2014, he was introduced as one of the country's most promising young artists by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA).

"Some people know me through the album covers. Others know me through exhibitions. Still others know me as a writer. I like the fact that my work is consumed in many different ways. You don't have to know me as a whole," he said.

This image taken from artist Noh Sang-ho's homepage shows the cover of Korean indie band Hyukoh's album "22." (Yonhap) This image taken from artist Noh Sang-ho's homepage shows the cover of Korean indie band Hyukoh's album "22." (Yonhap)

This photo provided by Laheen Gallery shows artist Noh Sang-ho's "The Great Chap Book." (Yonhap) This photo provided by Laheen Gallery shows artist Noh Sang-ho's "The Great Chap Book." (Yonhap)

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr

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