Did you ever think seriously of staying abroad permanently?
I spent most of my 20’s in New York so it’s like a second home to me. After switching to fine art from business, it felt as if a new stage of life had opened before me. The ways of thinking, the places that I’d go to changed dramatically. The change was like a formatted hard disk. Looking back, there was barely a moment when I felt any excitement during my school years. It was just me simply ‘living’ in Seoul and that was it. Whilst in New York I lived by a whole different, more exciting rhythm and I did seriously think of staying longer. But I had to return because of my father’s health issues.
So was it your family that made you return to Seoul?
Yes and I had no choice. And my family is the reason I’m now in Seoul and why I set up my studio nearby.
Your mother also has deep knowledge of cooking, considering the fact that she once ran her own restaurant.
When I was young I didn’t appreciate my mom’s cooking. Her cooking was all about healthy food so she barely used salt. Being a lunchbox generation(today lunch is served at schools) and a little kid, I wanted my mom to make me fun and cute, kid-like meals instead of brown rice, which I ate without a clue of why I was spooning such bowl of stiff grain. But as time went by I came to realize and finally appreciate the value of her cooking.