A Fresh Look at Korean Culture

I found myself suddenly living and working in South Korea, only a couple of months after graduating university. It wasn't a well-thought-out move. Actually, I made the decision quite impetuously, and with little research done as to where I would be existing in Asia, I plunged into Korean culture, with all of its weird and wonderful quirks.

After spending 4 years living in Korea, I married a Korean guy, was able to learn the language, and although I had no frame of reference before 2011, I fully embraced this beautiful, colorful country.

My love for Korean culture inspired this series of 10 watercolor paintings. Koreans still wear Hanbok (traditional Korean dress), the same now as they did a thousand years ago, but today these clothes are reserved for special parties, weddings, birthdays, and funerals. Normally bright and radiant, these outfits seem to rival our modern ways of life. However, while donning these bold outfits and using 21st Century technology (Samsung and LG smartphones, selfie sticks, etc), sipping on the latest Starbucks trend, and looking fly in Gucci shoes, the two ideas of ancient traditions and modernity happen to complement each other, flawlessly.

(The tigers added to this series represent Korea's national animal, as well as pay homage to the phrase "Once upon a time," which in Korean, is translated as, "When tigers smoked.")

Marni Manning - Artist

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