Art of Seoul

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

One of my goals for the semester was to take part in more opportunities and events going on in Seoul. For only being back in Korea for barely 2 weeks, I have been quite successful. First, I got a glimpse into the drag queen and LGBTQ community in Seoul at Neon Milk’s event with the famous RuPaul’s Drag Race contests Kim Chi and Naomi
Smalls. At this event, there were a lot of local performers, and it was amazing to see how talented they were. Living in Seoul for however-long, I have had a few conversations regarding the local LGBTQ community with locals, and it still baffles me to this day that many don’t think the community exists. For example,  the Korea Queer Culture Festival is basically the Pride Fest of Seoul, and it has been an annual event for 17 years. There have been a few occurrences when I bring this topic up, and a local will not believe that this festival exists and they have to google it for proof.  Either way, this event opened me to the highly supported local drag community, and the level of skill was extraordinary. I admired their form
of expression through their drag. I am thrilled to see future performances and continue to support the local drag queens from Seoul, especially as it is still a difficult scene for them to fully express themselves within the conservative Korean culture.

Following the drag performance, my exchange student program held a two-day excursion touring around a southern area of South Korea; that trip will be shared in another post. Besides coming back from that trip, a few friends and I were lucky enough to be on a list to a party for an art exhibition opening. At this little shindig, there were a few DJs playing and many Koreans dressed in the latest fashions. Nothing beats the night life in Seoul, it truly is unique and one can find almost any style of enjoyment during the night hours. I got some great shots with the unique lighting they had. Lately, I have been really satisfied with the scenes and environments that I have found myself in in Seoul. Studying abroad and taking a break from my school work back in America has allowed me to really reconnect with what I love creatively and I have been able to grow that part of myself. Growing up, my own art style was always important, but I feel that was lost within my university education. Now, while living in Seoul, I have been able to connect with that again by going to performances, art galleries and even making my own short videos.

Continuing with my journey in Seoul, recently I went to an art exhibition all about graffiti at the Seoul Art Center, which is HUGE – I have no clue why I hadn’t checked that area out before. The exhibition was called “The Great Graffiti/ 위대한 낙서”, and it featured some of the most famous artists in the world, such as Shepard Fairey, Nick Walker, JonOne, etc. One funny thing occurred; my friend and I had just started to walk through the exhibit, and this guy said something to us and pointed but we just looked at each other, confused about what he was saying. Once we finally understood him, we learned something wild. One of the artists, Zevs, was right in front of us, looking at the exhibit. So, my friend and I awkwardly said hello as he walked away, haha! Growing up, graffiti always peaked my interest, I loved the art form, and I really appreciated and was very fond of this exhibit. I especially love it when the artist collaborated with their surroundings, whether it be being Seoul and/or local artists. This was also seen at the drag show, when they showcased some local queens. The Great Graffiti displayed work with local inspiration and artists. (Below are some of those works)

I look forward to more events like these to discover the many facets the make up Seoul, and as I mentioned earlier, with my connection with art, and I feel that this method of discovery will bring a lot of satisfaction in the remaining days of my study abroad.

Nick Walker