Artist Turns Found Stones Into Animals That You Can Fit in the Palm of Your Hand


To me, stones are not simple materials or canvases for painting pictures on. Among all those numerous stones on a river bank, one stone, looking like an animal, catches my eye. When I find a stone, I feel that stone has found me too. Stones have their own intentions, and I consider my encounters with them as cues they give me it’s OK to go ahead and paint what I see on them.

So the stones I decide to paint on are not arbitrary, but my significant opposites with whom I have established a connection, which inspires me to work with them. In my encounters with the stones and in my art, I respect my opposites in toto, so I never process stones, and would never cut off an edge to alter the shape. Stones may fall outside our usual definition of living organisms, but when I think of the long time it takes for a stone to change from a huge boulder in the mountains to the size and shape it has, as rests in my palm, I feel the history of the earth that the stone has silently witnessed over the millennia, and I feel the story inside it. I feel the breath of a life inside each stone, so sometimes I paint while I talk to the stone as I hold it in my hand.

In order to bring out the living being that I feel in the stone to its surface, I proceed very carefully. I consider step by step, for example, whether I am positioning the backbone in the right place. Does it feel right? Am I forcing something that disagrees with the natural shape of the stone? I tread carefully. I put my paintbrush to the stone when I truly feel that it is the right brushstroke. In this sense, my painting is a dialogue with the stone. It is the stone that determines what I paint on it, not me. The art I want to create is a life newly born in my hands through my dialogue with the stone. I want to paint the life, the living spirit of the being I feel inside the stone.

I paint the eyes at the very end, and I consider my work completed only when I see that the eyes are now alive and looking back straight at me. To me, completing a piece of work is not about how much detail I draw, but whether I feel the life in the stone.

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