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What does the field of medicine and art have in common? To that question, doctor Park Kwang-hyuk (Department of Medicine, ’00) answers that they both revolve around the life and death of humans. While the field of medicine works strenuously to lengthen human lives by finding the cause and remedies for diseases, art strives to capture the essence from various moments in a person’s life. Having found this intriguing factor, Park has devoted his life equally to each of these fields. He works as a physician before noon, and gives art lectures in the afternoon. The audience of his lectures are somewhat varied, from corporations to public offices and schools. One lecture that he gives on a regular basis is through his weekly art gathering, the Mona Lisa Smile. The Mona Lisa Smile The name 'Mona Lisa Smile', suggested by one of the members, has a dual meaning. The first is quite literal, referring to the mysterious smile of Mona Lisa, one of the most symbolic works of art in the Louvre Museum. The second meaning is derived from the movie, The Mona Lisa Smile. In the film, the protagonist is an art instructor who attempts new approaches to art lectures. Park expressed satisfaction with the name, as it well captures the values that his gathering strives for: the love for art and the desire for new things. The Mona Lisa Smile is a social gathering that welcomes anyone who shares a love for art. (Photo courtesy of Park) When asked how the Mona Lisa Smile came to being, Park replied that he originally began with docent lectures, which is a type of lecture that handles art facts and history when some of his audiences approached him with a suggestion to begin a regular lecture. Intrigued by his lecture contents, they formed a regular social gathering for art lovers, where Park could give regular lectures. For Park, it was a great opportunity as he liked nothing more than to study art under various themes and prepare lectures to share his findings. Some of his most popular themes were “The plague in classical art”, “Gambling in classic art”, “Jealousy in classic art” and so on. The classes are held every Friday, from 7pm to 9pm, in Yeoksam-dong. About 30 to 40 people from a total of 70 members attend, where classical art is approached in a variety of perspectives, such as medicine, humanities, and so on. Not only are there lectures but also group museum tours from time to time on weekends. Although most of the members are artists and doctors, Park mentioned that he was surprised to find out the diverse professions of his audience, such as lawyers, pharmacists, accountants, and public servants. A Doctor at an Art Museum Park also published a book titled, “A Doctor at an Art Museum.” It is part of a series in which different fields are applied as windows to perceive classical art. There are books such as “A Chemist at an Art Museum,” “A Lawyer at an Art Museum,” and such. Park explained that the book was actually a collection of his lecture notes from the Mona Lisa Smile. Some of his members asked for a review note of his lectures to organize their contents, so he began sharing his analysis on internet communities. The notes had so great a reaction that people nudged him to organize them into a book. Park also wrote columns for art magazines from time to time, and some of them were also used for the book. Although his lectures revolve around a large number of themes, he was asked specifically to extract contents related to the field of medicine to emphasize his characteristic as a doctor. Park answered that he was surprised to find out that "A Doctor at the Art Museum" had a decent sales number. (Photo courtesy of Park) The story of Park Park recalls that he had been mesmerized by Greek Mythology as a child. As an introverted kid, he often turned to mythology books during his free time. However, his ideas and concept of various gods and myths were only in his imagination. It was when he encountered his first classical art piece that the ideas in his head were portrayed in real life. He realized that a picture really did speak a thousand words, and that there were details that he had never thought of before. It was in that moment when he realized his love for art. Later in his high school years, he witnessed the death of a protestor during a demonstration in Shinchon. Such a close encounter to death was a traumatic event for him, and he recalled that he was even physically ill for a few days. He had spent the rest of his life trying to forget the memory of what he had seen on that day. Then, during his second year in medical school, he went on a trip to Europe. He visited the Louvre Museum in Paris, where he was mysteriously drawn to the Liberty leading the People, drawn by Eugene Delacroix. He stood in front of the piece and shed tears for a long time. “I saw myself in that drawing. Among the protesters leading the rally, there was a frightened looking child, whom I found myself in.” He felt as if his old trauma was fading away and realized that there is a power in art which can heal people. Throughout the interview, Park was excited about his next lecture regarding the piece, The Girl with the Pearl Earrings Now Park is living a happy life pursuing his interests and his profession. He jokingly added that many people think that he must make a lot of profit from his activities, but as a father of five daughters, he has to work very hard to maintain his life balance of both fields. He plans to lead this lifestyle for as long as he can, and when asked about any of his long term goals, Park answered that he hopes to publish another book in the future. In his last comments, Park wanted to tell the readers that there are many domestic artists who are extremely talented but have a hard time maintaining their professions. Just like the late artist Vincent Van Gogh, artists cannot keep up with their living expenses and only draw. He expressed deep sympathy, as domestic art museums such as Hangaram Museum, Somang Museum, and many small galleries in Insa-dong carry a number of art works from talented artists who haven’t had a chance to get any spotlight. Although he himself holds small auctions to raise support funds for unknown artists, he hopes to see many more opportunities and events to promote talented, yet unknown Korean artists. Lee Chang-hyun email@example.com Photos by Kang Cho-hyun
In celebration of the construction of the Prime Lounges in the Hanyang ERICA Campus, News H interviewed the mastermind behind the many lounges enthusiastically used by the students of the campus. Park Euna (Industrial Design, '00), led a one-person design firm called Design EU, passionately pursuing her calling for design. Park runs an interior architecture firm. Designing her alma mater Her first step in designing her old school began when the LINC+ Foundation, requested the design of the Knowledge Factory in 2012. The construction, with the purpose to facilitate start-up ideas, was such a success that it was expanded to “Knowledge Studio” in 2014. This served as the next step in the relationship. It was generally unusual for a school to focus on the design of its interiors. Nevertheless, it was a small beginning that she was happy to take part of. Then, she took charge of the Prime Lounge Project for the development of the student environment. For the last two years, she has designed lounges for various department buildings. She did not have this type of environment as a student and felt great empathy to the cause--providing a better studying environment for students. A crucial purpose of the project was to move the students, who usually studied in cafes, into the campus by providing a similar environment. In designing different lounges, her goal was to understand and utilize the unique characteristics of each department. She wanted to provide diversity to the students. For every project, there were key words such as ‘concentration', ‘expression’, ‘transformation', and so on. The space design were done with these concepts in mind. In retrospect, Park views the project as a fresh and stimulating experience. She jokingly added that it was exciting just to be back on campus as it had been nearly 10 years since her graduation. Park emphasized that she never turned down a new opportunity. The journey to starting a one-person firm Park had a clear purpose since her university years. She considers herself lucky to have had the calling and environment. She sought a job that she could have fun and learn. After working in a domestic design company for five years, she felt the necessity to find her own color and voice in her designs. Thus, she took all of her savings and went to New York in 2008 with the purpose to learn, relax, and find inspiration. According to Park, she had studied straight through college, eager to begin her career, but she suddenly felt the need to pack things up and leave. New York was different in that she was more respected as a professional despite her lack of English proficiency. The fact that her initial plans for a project came out exactly how she had intended showed that her views in design were highly reputed. This was not so common in Korea, where the clients are considered to be the “king” or the ultimate decision makers. However, despite her freedom to create, one limitation that she felt while working in New York was that she did not have enough time to study. She eventually returned to Korea to satisfy her thirst for learning and proceeded to a graduate program in Hanyang soon after her return. She never had the idea of running a firm in mind, but as she began to receive numerous project proposals, it just seemed natural to do so. The realization that she could make others truly happy through her work was a big influence on her decision. The name of her firm, Design EU, stands for the reason for her designs, as well as the message that every design has a reason and purpose. Philosophy and advice Park believes that there is a right time for everything. She advises students, “Don’t try to extend your status as a student. You can always come back and study. You can learn much more when you realize the reason and purpose for studying.” For her, going to New York, proceeding to graduate school, and starting her firm all came as natural; it was always the “right time” to do so. One affirmation she had was that the purpose of her life was to design, and the purpose of her design was to spread happiness. This provided a firm ground for all of her decisions. "Nothing is easy. Every aspect of it has a process. Just know this: If you persist, anything is really impossible. Also, don’t stay in one place. Knock on doors, travel, and grab opportunities." Lee Chang-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org Photos by Kim Youn-soo, Kang Cho-hyun
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