Tranquil Pastel: Interview with Artist Shin Morae

GAZE at the artwork of Shin Morae long enough and you will find yourself slipping into a pastel tranquillity. CLOSE-UP Culture chatted to the Seoul-based artist to find out more about this entrancing work and the person behind it.

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Q: How would you describe your work and use of colour?

A: I TRY to express ambiguity by using pastel colour tones in a depressed sketch. The reason for using light and shadow is also the same. I do not like intuitive paintings.

Q: Where do the ideas for your work come from?

A: EVERYTHING starts from everyday life. I get a lot of hints from the photos and notes I take. I like writing and reading books.

Q: You mention books and you also have the lyrics to Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence on your website. Are you inspired by music?

A: I LIKE the songs of the 1960s and 1970s. Like The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Led Zeppelin and The Doors. I especially like the lyrics of Simon & Garfunkel. The lyrics on the homepage of my website are the same mood as I want to create in my artwork.


Q: Can you talk us through your typical process from concept to completion?

A: FIRST, I write a sentence and expand the feeling from that sentence. When I draw on the paper straight away, I try to take on too many things. So I write before drawing as a means of relief.

Q: It’s Nice That have written a few terrific articles on your work. In one they pointed out your work has begun to zoom in from crowds to more singular figures. Can you explain this change in focus?

A: I STARTED out only drawing objects  and approached it like I was taking a picture on a camera.

I wanted to draw some of the odd moods from when I look at objects in my room. For example, when a popsicle fell on the ground. It would have been an easy moment to let pass, but it became the focus of a drawing. The popsicle gave a unique perspective.


Q: I find your work incredibly smoothing and strikingly completive. Are you looking to evoke a certain reaction with your work?

A: THE reaction does not matter. The emotions that people feel are mostly similar, so they liked my work – I think. I just want to draw my emotions, and after I finish drawing I can forget about the rest.

Q: Can you tell us about your background and how you nurtured your talent?

A: I AM a very boring person and indoor type. Most of my time is spent in my workroom with my two cats. Sometimes I do nothing in a whole day just watch the clouds move through the sky.


I did not know I had a talent for drawing until I started my career as ‘Shin Morae’ because my major was not drawing or painting – I just did it as a hobby.

I like to tell a story without words. I know it is weird but drawing is perfect for a person who does not like talking. I think started from there: “I do not want to talk a lot.”

Q: How important is social media and websites like Instagram to your profession?

A: IMPORTANT for marketing. I use my Instagram account and website for branding myself. When I logout from ‘shinmorae’ I never think about that. My life is ordinary life.

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