Monday, April 09, 2007

GODS' BARBERSHOP

The L Magazine is a little publication you can get for free in New York, along with The Village Voice, The New York Press, and The Learning Annex Catalogue. The L, like these other pubs, has some seedy components to it, but I always peek to at least see what's on the cover.

Well, this last issue was called "The New Yorker's Guide to God" and the cover was the best I've seen yet. If you look closely, you can see that Jesus is getting his hair cut and so is Buddha.

I looked inside the issue and discovered that the painting featured on the cover, called God's Barbershop, was done by an artist named Yunmee Kyong.

I found the official website of Yunmee plus the website of the folks who rep her (make sure you click on the thumbnails) and discovered that she was born in Korea and is a prolific illustrator. Matter of fact, Ms. K won the 2006 Ezra Jack Keats Award for her illustration of the children's picture book Silly Chicken. Yunmee's work reminds me a lot of Maira Kalman's work in terms of its whimsical quality and color palette. At the same time, there is a deepness to it and a spiritual quality. It's spiritual without being too flourishy or somber. Nice balance there.

I sent Ms. K an email saying that I love barbershops and beauty salons and could I meet up with her to interview her for Creative Times. She wrote back right away, saying that she would love to meet except that she is in France right now doing a residency program that is connected to the Gods' Barbershop painting. She offered to email a little bit about what she's doing and I said "Yes!" and this is what she said:

Hi Eleanor: Yes, me too- I always am interested in barbershops and hair salons, and want to draw while I'm in them. I want to do series of drawings as well: I am working on a project of different gods, people of different religions, cultures being together, or doing things together.

The painting you saw is part of my project. When I visted Oaxaca, Mexico last October, I saw some barber shops I liked and took pictures and after I got back I put all the pcitures from Oaxaca around me and started the painting. I want to do installatons of different gods, people as well. Last year at AG gallery,I did an installation of Buddha, and Ganesha having a tea party and invited people to sit together as well.

Warm Springy Day,
Yunmee
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