A series of Illustrations that draw my personal story as an immigrant who chases after a dream and a goal in life to become a better artist and a human being. With Alice in Wonderland motif, I've incorporated multiple point-of-views: as a girl, an immigrant, an artist and a Korean along with my values, belief, and ideology, and philosophy through Korean traditional and cultural aesthetics blended with American Pop culture.
I first researched about Korean folktale characters and the culture in order to incorporate the correct reference of the story and appearance.
The order is from top to bottom. I’ve used Sumi ink, colored pencils, gouache and Stonehenge paper.
Chase After The Moon Rabbit
“In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well”
1. Fortune Cookies:
The fortune-cookies represent Asian Americans or Asian immigrants identity. The fortune-cookies are known to be Chinese snack, nevertheless, they are invented by a non-Asian. The meaning of fortune-cookies is also a “luck”. I wanted them to expose two different meanings as Asian immigrants' identity in America and their dreams and wishes.
2. Masked people:
The masks are known to have a symbolic meaning of “hiding” or a “secret”. But, here, in this illustration, the mask exposes two different meanings. By wearing different types of mask, I wanted to emphasize a diversity. At the same time, whether they are from different backgrounds or not, they equally dream of something.
Which Way I Ought To Go From Here?
“Would you tell me, please which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where-”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
“-so long as I get somewhere.”
“Oh, you’re sure Tod o that, if you only walk long enough.”
1. Hae-Tae (해태):
This imaginary creature is a legendary animal, called, Hae-Tae. They are known to be a symbolic creature representing wisdom, fortune, and infinite life.
We Are All Mad
“But I don’t want to go among mad people”, said Alice.
“Oh you can’t help that. We are all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”, said the Mad Hatter.
“How do you know I’m mad?”
“You must be”, said the Mad Hatter. “Or you couldn’t have come here.”
1. Korean Goblins (도깨비)
The original Korean Goblins have a different appearance from the Japanese. Unlike the Japanese goblins, Korean’s are friendly to human, enjoy a party. They sometimes test people by tempting them with the treasures.
2. The Hwa-Rang’s Hat (화랑 모자):
Hwa-Rang means a young soldier back in ancient Shilla-kingdom.
The Intermezzo: Behind The Red Curtain
Intermezzo: a short connecting instrumental movement in an opera or other musical work.
1. Me, myself, and I:
Behind the red curtain, there are three different egos of Alice (me) as an actress, a director, and an artist. With this one picture, I want to remind the audience that the main character of this story is me.
On And Off, For Days And Days
“There’s no sort of use in knocking”, said the Foot-man.
“Please then, how am I to get in?”, said Alice.
“I shall sit here, on and off, for days and days-”
“H’s perfectly idiotic!”, said Alice.
And she opened the door and went it.
1. “The Pearls Are Useless If They Aren’t Threaded Together”
A Korean idiom meaning that even to achieve a little goal, there’s always a need of time and patience. In this picture, Alice (I) is stuck in a Nine-Tailed-Fox monster’s castle. The only way to escape is to finish the given task, which is threading the pearls together. I wanted to demonstrate there’s always a time of waiting in life through the hidden meaning of Korean idiom.
2. Hwa-Rang’s Hat:
After a previous episode, where Alice chose to take the hat from the Goblin’s treasure bag, her appearance changed. She chose her path to become a soldier than a girl. She’s slowly finding her true personality and identity.
Who Are You?
“Who are YOU?”, said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly.
“I hardly know, sir, just as present-at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”
1. Meet The Absolute:
In Alice in Wonderland, Alice confronts The Caterpillar, Absolute. In their conversation, Alice gets lost to define her identity and begins to deeply reflect who she really is. Instead of a caterpillar, I introduced another Korean folktale creature called, Yi-Mu-Gi. This creature is a giant snake that failed to transform into a dragon after waiting a thousand years. The Yi-Mu-Gi symbolizes wisdom, wealth and infinite life.
“I could tell you my adventures-beginning from this morning. But it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
1. Alice’s Appearance:
Alice finally found her true self throughout a long journey. She has become a warrior from a girl.
2. The Fortune-Cookies:
Alice stole the fortune-cookies and shared them with the people who have been waiting for their own cookies, just like her old self. She’s sharing the dream and hopes to everyone.
3. The People:
There is a mixture of people, from past to present, all kinds of people from diverse backgrounds. Some of them are starting the new adventures, with fortune-cookies in their hands by taking their masks off.
4. The Red Curtain:
The representation of a red curtain has been used by many artists in a western culture throughout the history. It means to emphasize that every part of the picture has a purpose, placed by a creator, like an opera on a stage.
The Epilogue: Dream Within A Dream
Epilogue: a section or speech at the end of a book or play that serves as a comment or a conclusion to what has happened.
A term, “Dream within a dream”, is a philosophic term of a confusion between the reality and a dream. Alice’s journey in the Wonderland ends when she wakes up, realized that it was her dream. But, her second adventure through a mirror begins in her daydream.