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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

From Seoul to Starkville: Korean designers’ innovative prints, artwork on display in VAC Gallery

Kaitlin Mullins
From Seoul to Starkville

A taste of Seoul, South Korea has found its way into the Visual Arts Center and remains until Friday. Four Korean artists, Sakiroo, GWAJA, 08AM and 1000DAY, have a diverse range of prints on display in the exhibit.

Lori Neuenfeldt, coordinator for the Visual Arts Center Gallery, said an art professor at Mississippi State University, John Paul Remo, traveled to Asia this summer and met these artists in South Korea. He found out they would be in the United States and asked them to come to Mississippi, with help from the American Institute for Graphic Artists (AIGA). 

Neuenfeldt said the artists work largely in graphic design and create everything from video games to illustrations.

“These artists are concept artists- — developing characters for gaming (video games), character developers, toy designers and illustrators,” she said. “They work for big name clients such as Adobe, FILA, ESPN, Johnnie Walker and Warner Brothers designing posters, products and original artwork.”

    The gallery displays samples from the artists’ portfolios and professional work. Afew are process sketches, and many are characters these artists developed for video game promotions. 

Sakiroo has a print tribute to the movie “Django Unchained.” 1000DAY has a print poster inspired by the comic book character The Joker. 08AM uses video game and various pop-cultural references in his art to form social commentaries on issues like pollution and urban development. There are many illustrated characters from Mario Brothers in one of his pieces. 

Neuenfeldt said one of the prints is even an ode to a romantic interest. 

“One of the prints by 1000Day is a depiction of a girl that he likes back in South Korea,” she said. “She is his muse; he uses her for inspiration.”

This display of Korean art challenges the anime stereotype with a range of projects. Neuenfeldt said this international interaction is important for MSU students to see and understand what artists do around the world. She said it is also beneficial for students to see and learn about their careers.

“These are also artists that show how valuable and profitable a career in the art field can be,” Neuenfeldt said. “The four artists came to campus for three days and gave a talk on marketing and branding yourself as an artists so that you do what you love and make a career doing it — fascinating for our students to see and understand.”

These artists sketch, develop their work digitally and color their sketches using Adobe Photoshop. The range of people they depict, from a pretty girl back home to comic book characters, fills the prints with vivid life. The work is playful and stylistic, and Neuenfeldt said the work in the gallery challenges visitors to reconsider their definition of art. 

“Some may think if it isn’t a painting or can’t be exhibited in a museum or worth a high value, then it can’t be appreciated the same as ‘art,’” Neuenfeldt said. “That just isn’t true. I think their work is a great example of how everything is art. We interact with art every day, it’s what we wear, what we play with, hold in our hands and live in every day.”

The VAC Gallery provides a relaxed environment to interact with the wide range of styles the exhibit displays. Neuenfeldt said everyone, not just art students, can feel comfortable at the VAC due to its student workers and even its unassuming facade. 

“The gallery workers are all students, not just art students,” Neuenfeldt said. “So when you come to the gallery you really come into a student space. If you’re looking for inspiration or relief from a project, come by and visit us. We get classes, student groups and school tours coming in and they are always blown away by the work. From the outside the building is very inconspicuous. I love seeing visitors’ reactions to the art.”

Macy Osman, sophomore French and international business major, said the exhibit provided what Neuenfeldt predicted: a window thrown wide open into cultures from around the world.

“It was interesting to see another culture’s artistic view,” she said. “I enjoyed being able to see bits and pieces of our own culture interwoven throughout the exhibit.” 

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From Seoul to Starkville: Korean designers’ innovative prints, artwork on display in VAC Gallery