Wonderland

I had much grander ambitions for today’s post, but it is soooooooo hot here.  Maine doesn’t usually have super hot summers.  Some times in August we’ll have one really hot week.  But this is July!  And today the temperature hit 97 degrees!  And 80% humidity!  My cats were mostly puddles on my kitchen floor.  Poor things.  At least I could seek out an air conditioned coffee shop.  But even that was warmer than it should have been – the a/c just couldn’t keep up with the heat.

ANYwho, instead of what I was going to photograph and share with you all, I’m going to share one of my favorite works from a very interesting photographer.  His name is Yeondoo Jung and he lives and works in Seoul, South Korea.  The project is called Wonderland.  What he has done is taken drawings from elementary school kids and made them a reality:

Afternoon Nap, C-print, 2004

I want to be a singer, c-print, 2004

Miss Sparkle Sprinkles the Magic, c-print, 2005

I love that he really manages to capture each kid’s wonderfully skewed perspective and make it believable.  It really feels like the drawing has come to life.  He has taken the child’s sense of wonder and added his own to make some really fabulously bizarre and sweet photographs.

Another take on this idea comes from Bill Zeman and his daughter who he has dubbed the Tiny Art Director.  Basically he takes direction for his illustrations from his two-(now five)-year-old.  Her directions are often a word or two and her critiques of the finished work are hilarious and scathing.  So, about what you’d get from an adult art director. I also think it is fabulous that he has been doing this for so many years with her.  It is really cool to see her change and grow through her father’s eyes.  Her demands have become more specific and she has reached a point where she has decided she can draw what she wants better than her dad.  So often he posts her work alongside his.  Which is just so cool!

I love collaboration between adults and kids.  I think the work on each side is richer for the other.  A kid’s imagination hasn’t been truly reigned in by anything yet so everything is still possible.  And a grown-up has to work really hard to live up to that.

As part of a class in vector graphics, my husband will often have his college students do an Imaginary Friend Project.  He will pair them up with a 2nd or 3rd grade student (we have several friends who teach art in elementary schools) give the following directions:

If you are planning a career as an artist-for-hire, you’ll be creating art to other’s specifications all the time. Frequently this will come as a doodle on a cocktail napkin, done by the owner of the ad agency (who has no training as an artist whatsoever) while drinking with the client. From this you have to extrapolate a final, finished piece of that will make the client (who is probably paying tens of thousands of $ for it) (although you’ll be lucky to see $100 of that) and your boss happy. Fortunately, in this case, your clients are more accomplished artists than you’ll usually work for. They’ve provided more detailed sketches of their concepts than you’ll usually get, too. Your mission this time around is, starting with your client’s sketch as the initial idea, create a finished, polished work of art, depicting just what their imaginary friend really looks like.

From one of his previous classes, this is one of my favorites:


How awesome is that?!

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