The Boundaries Between Craft and Art Have Become Blurred in Line with The Shocks of Various Cultures. Youjin Um interviewed by Klimt02

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 24.04.2020
Youjin Um Youjin Um
Edited by:
Edited at:
Edited on:
Youjin Um. Brooch: Division II III, 2016. Sterling silver, nickel silver.. 3.9 x 2.8 x 5.7 cm, 5.1 x 4.4 x 4.3 cm. Photo by: Kwangchoon Park. Part of: Enjoia’t Awards 2019 selected jewellers.  Professional Category.. Youjin Um
Brooch: Division II III, 2016
Sterling silver, nickel silver.
3.9 x 2.8 x 5.7 cm, 5.1 x 4.4 x 4.3 cm
Photo by: Kwangchoon Park
Part of: Enjoia’t Awards 2019 selected jewellers
 Professional Category.

© By the author. Read Copyright.

Most of the viewers who have seen my work have asked if it is 3D printing. It's something we've never heard of in the past.
Tell us about your background. What were your first influences to be creative and become an artist and what has drawn you to contemporary jewellery?
Many years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the exhibition hall for an interview for a school assignment. Until that day, I was just a normal student like my other friends. I still remember how I felt back then when I first saw the professor’s work. I felt inspired by what I saw. And luckily, I had a chance to talk to the professor, and as I had a lot of questions about her work, I proceeded to ask as many as possible but she was kind enough to answer all of them.

With the good memories and energy of the day, I remember her as 'the person I admire', and this became the source of my energy. Since then, I have worked harder on perfecting my sawing skills in metal craft. I am forever grateful to her for teaching me how this work can help me overcome sadness and despair. Her work inspired me to decide to become someone who ‘works harder than anyone else to become an expert in my field of work’.
How important is networking for you in your professional practice and what are your preferred tools for this?
As the world is changing rapidly, it seems that I have more opportunities to share my work with the world. I think promoting through various social media outlets, various mass media, cultural contents, etc. has paid off, as it's given me the opportunity to become a member here.

Youjin Um, Object: Hexagonal Prism II, 2019, Sterling silver, 3.9 x 1.7 x 12.2 cm, Photo by: Kwangchoon Park, From series: Hexagonal Prism.

What are your general thoughts on the contemporary jewellery world, (education, market, development...), where do you see chances and where are dead ends?
Unlike the past, the coexistence of various cultures seems to blur the boundary between craft and art. I started crafting again although I was thinking it was too late to start. And fortunately, I have not suffered any slump in my work as of yet.

For me, who is keen on technique, it is difficult to tell whether it is a craft or art when looking at sculptures with high artistry. I love sawing, and I keep working on improving it, remembering the precious memories of my life. Even if the boundary between craft and art is blurred, if the creator's free-thinking is expressed within their work, the blurred boundary will not be a problem and will be a positive interaction.
Thinking about your career, what role do technology and the digital play in your artistic development & communication?
Most viewers who have seen my work ask if my work is 3D printed. I have never heard such a question in the past. For the purpose of healing myself, I am creating my own space using sawing, a metal craft technique. Instead of completely refusing to use technical support, I will use it if necessary. However, I still want to keep making my space with my own sophistication. So far, I have thought that hand-made works are much more natural and look more beautiful. I am so proud of them.
Youjin Um, Brooch: Hexagonal Prism II, 2019, Sterling silver, nickel silver, 4 x 6.8 x 2.1 cm, Photo by: Kwangchoon Park, From series: Hexagonal Prism.

How has your work changed over the past few years and what are you excited about these days?
The current social environment is in a bad condition, but to overcome it, I have to adapt to it best as possible. While working with integrity, I will continue to be interested in the environment. And I will become a more passionate craftsman by receiving a lot of attention and encouragement from people through continuous and diverse promotions. I will try to keep my initial mindset for this work.

A place that holds precious memories like my treasure.
A place where you can stay for a moment to heal when you feel lonely,
tired, or sad, and you're reminded of life in your mind again.
I still want to live in a kaleidoscope.