#011 - Raymond Lemstra
#011 - Raymond Lemstra
Destination: Seoul, South Korea
Date: 28 November - 05 December, 2014
About the print:
Dimensions: ± 50 x 70 cm
Colours: 4 colour silkscreen print
Edition: 50 prints, signed and numbered by the artist
(frame not included)
A little word by Raymond Lemstra
"I have traveled to Asia before and every time I am aware of how much I depend on the English language. Every now and then the language barrier gives you a sense of helplessness and it is a big reminder of being completely out of your comfort zone. The massive economic boom in the past decades changed Seoul over night. You can see it in aspects of the pop culture for example, it's like Seoul is peaking in it's puberty right now. Wearing the right brands is extremely important and good looks are important for success. In a weird way it reminded me of high school. At the same time, what absolutely made the biggest impression on me was the warmth and kindness of the people I met. They were all so welcoming and giving, a truly special feeling.
I've always been fascinated by North Korea, so I was intrigued to visit the Unification Observatory on the border between North and South Korea. Glancing into North Korea from a little distance and talking to a person who escaped from Pyongyang was surrealistic. In Seoul I walked around a lot, soaking up all and everything that stimulated me visually. I was surprised how easy, with guidance, it was to get around and how pleasant it felt walking around. Seoul is a very interesting city, there is constant construction and a huge amount of mega bridges and buildings which make you feel this city is way bigger than you can grasp, but at the same time it makes it hard to feel human in such a big impersonal space. Once back home, I sat down and just started drawing. I trusted that all the impressions would influence me without me trying to force it."
Friday, November 28, 2014
Good morning! My Jaunt trip to Seoul has begun! Bags packed and I made it to Schiphol. Not really looking forward to the long flight, but can’t wait to discover what Seoul will bring me. (-: Tomorrow, Saturday around 19:00, I will start with a book signing at Everyday Mooonday. Hope to see all my Korean future friends there!
Saturday, November 29, 2014
YES!! I have arrived in Seoul! And these are the lovely people at Everyday Mooonday! This is where I will be signing my Nobrow Pres publication in a few hours! It’s also the place where I will be spending my nights trying to sleep away my jetlag during this trip with The Jaunt! Thank you Diny! ❤️
Sunday, November 30, 2014
This is the ever prominent and shiny Lotte World Tower. It’s to be the tallest building on the Korean peninsula. Right now I’m on my way to the Seoul Design Festival. I finally slept a full night after staying awake for 50 hours. Feels good!
This is me posing in The Sticky Monster Lab at the Seoul Design Festival. When in Rome… 👀
Me signing my book at Everyday Mooonday last Saturday. ✏️ 👀✨
Monday, December 1, 2014
Lovely.. (at Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station)
met up with Gummy Koal today and we made a snake woman, bammy in Korean, and a sweaty man carrying her whilst drinking hot chocolate and milk tea.
(at 폴 바셋 - Paul Bassett 광화문점)
Me in front of a really old Ginkgo tree next to the Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Naturally I was really tired when I got off the plane, no surprise there. But I hadn’t slept at all during the flight, so I was especially floating around like a transparent plastic bag caught in a gentle breeze. The fact that a lot of Koreans speak very little English, as it turns out, doesn’t make it much easier. English is usually my point of departure for a conversation abroad. It resulted in me being pretty disorientated my first days.
I exchanged a lot of “I sort of, but actually not really, understand you, so I’ll kindly moonwalk out of here now”-smiles. But this mega city is just super overwhelming and beautiful from what I have seen from it. And I’ve already had the pleasure of meeting many very kind and interesting people showing me their favourite places in Seoul.
I am staying with the people of Everyday Mooonday, a unique gallery in Seoul focusing mostly on contemporary character design. It is an amazing building and run by super kind people. They have something very special going on here. On the first day I arrived they organised a book signing at the gallery. Lots of people showed up and it was an amazing first experience to the city.
I always prefer to enter an unknown city from a local’s perspective. This way you actually experience the city more personal, instead of looking at it from the outside. Staying at Everyday Mooonday has given me a very safe home base and friendly new faces to introduce me to the city.
Other than that I have been traveling around the city trying to see some art spaces. I have also been meeting up with people I have been in contact with for a while (great to finally get to meet them in real life). One night I ended up at a party by Eloquence magazine that got so wild it had to be shut down by the police. Up till now I have always been so much in the moment that I forget to take pictures. It is a good sign, but not so nice for sharing my experiences. (-:
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Today I visited The Unification Observatory to have a look at North Korea from afar.. Very strange, very quiet.. I met a man that works there who escaped from Pyongyang but now works at the observatory looking at North Korea every day.. It all is really impressive, no words.
(at 오두산 통일전망대)
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Yesterday I wanted to go and travel to the DMZ, also known as Demilitarized Zone, which is the border between North and South Korea. Unfortunately you need a permission from the nation to enter the DMZ, and I didn’t manage to get one. So together with two Korean friends we went to The Unification Observatory instead. This place was a bit further away from North Korea, but was more relaxed.
While at The Unification Observatory i met an old North Korean man, who wanted to remain anonymous because he had recently fled the country, Now he was a guard along the border line. Thanks to my Korean friends helping translating I was able to talk with him. We talked about love and how it this works/happens in a country like North Korea. We talked about dialects, because the North Koreans talk a slighty different Korean. We talked about televisions and how everything is heavily under control of the government. If any rules are violated heavy punishments are the result. When you are found in the posessions of a Western DVD or a DVD with unsanctioned programs, you are punished with a bullet.
From the actual Observatory point we had a view over North Korea. Which was surreal to look at. It looks like any other landscape, not very different or dynamic in any way. The idea of North Korea being on the other side is really heavy. You can see houses on the other side, but these are mostly fake. Just to make the impression that life is well. In these border regions there are only a handful of people left, and about 80% of them are soldiers.
At the Observatory was also a little museum part. It turns out that about 10 years ago North and South Korea opened a joint-factory in North Korea. This was meant as an attempt to get closer to each other and collaborate. According to the museum the factory was doing well, but my friends told me that the factory is actually no longer in use.
My South Korean friends gave me the impression that an actual Unification would be very difficult. It would create a whole new set of problems because of the enormous differences between the people. The old man who we talked to described as a difference between heaven and hell.
Friday, December 5, 2014
While I was in Seoul I have been eating lovely bibimbap, gimbap, and they have amazing iced matcha shakes and matcha lattes. The strangest thing I have eaten is sliced pork skin next to some sort of rice- or noodle blood sausage made with pigs intestines. The side dish was a sort of baby shrimp soup. It was in a small local restaurant I would have never walked in to myself, but my new friends took me there. I unexpectedly appreciated the experience, it was really very special.
It has been very nice to meet a lot of local people through the gallery and the book signing. I feel there is a very friendly and sharing atmosphere, but also distant. Not willingly, it might just be the language barrier. There is a big focus on being attractive! For women and for men. It is linked to being successful in an extreme way. I have been called handsome by a few straight men as if they’d compliment me on a new hairdo. Pretty awkward somehow. And there’s of course quite a lot of plastic surgery, but after a while you stop noticing. I also noticed that when they party, they party full out, explosive! Amazing to see.
During my stay I have hugely fallen in love with the Korean characters, the food and the city scape (huge buildings in progress). The big number one though are the kind people I have gotten closer to. Now I will have to start to drawing for my print and see where it takes me. I am sure I soaked up a lot of visual references.