Thursday, March 31, 2011

Street Art Hongdae: day 1

The street art walk begins in graffiti park, Hongdae. A tiny park nestled into the clubland streets that sprawl out of the local arts university, Hongik, is covered in Seoul’s familiar tags. When we meet up it’s flooded with people for a hand-made craft sale.

Snap a photo of a V-Vendetta mask poster-cut next to a tattooed suicide girl style pin up and the topical marker sketch: What Is Wikileaks?? The art in the park is always peeling off, covered by new lines and unlaboured sketches. Today there is a nostalgic 1950’s lass left in the corner of a torn poster, the word SEX all that’s still legible from the work.

The next morning the streets are empty, save for last night’s garbage. Down the steps, out the park, and into the back alleys. There is one of the most-seen images of street art in Seoul, and maybe larger Asia. Angry-girl, by Nana Is Real, is all over Hongdae and Tokyo. Next to it is often Metaphysics and a hand missing fingers and dripping blood.

An aged Art Is Over poster haunts the same alley, another work perhaps by Nana. Also, a stencil often seen in Seoul, Mother Teresa says Don’t Be Greedy. A rich man and an Indian, and some fading sign of Lincoln.

The street fashion girls are out for the flattering mid-morning lighting, SLRs following them with duty. I take a few more shots of their backdrops and disappear into another alley to find more art for blog posts forthcoming.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Saturday night we hunted down a bizarro food favorite: American Chinese.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Turtles win the war

After the Karsh exhibit, we went to see the turtle ship. Sometime at the crack of the 1400’s, Korea sent its first turtle ship out into the ocean, and since then they’ve been the nation’s pride.

An open jawed dragon leads the ship, hungry with sharpened fangs. On top the bubble, a field full of spikes. Cannons shoot out each window like telescopes, ready for the Japanese.

In the basement of the Seoul Arts Centre we ran past all the children, aboard the re-constructed ship. We climbed up onto the ledges to pose for photos with the likeness of naval soldiers, preparing for their war.

Clouds floated across the screen above the ship, and the day marched on.

Monday, March 28, 2011

If anyone asks, we were hiking, like, all weekend.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Sunday scenes

Two slices of two day old pizza and a sprite, service. Seven a.m. Hongdae, Sunday morning, the green chest men clear litter from the clubland streets. Two hundred some sleep inside on the hot heated floor.

Fifty more suck on coffee filtered cigarettes back at Tom n Toms, the early weekend unsleeping-rise. Upstairs opens at nine, in time for faithful full slept consumers to attend Sunday roasted mass.

A man parked over the deep breathers slips three hundred won into his video machine. The pixels cross their centre line exchanging blows. Another man, this one younger, slips behind the computer and says in soft English, “Sorry,” rolling out his mat.

Then he stretches his back out, tips his chin back, and closes both his eyes.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The scent of a man

When the packaged arrived I let out a girlish squeal. With a shake I knew what it was. The Tylenol bounced out, my favorite red capsules covered in caffeine. And in the bottom of the package, two sticks of High Endurance Old Spice.

See, Koreans don't really smell. So I send away for my old Old Spice, something they don't sell. It had been a week since my stick ran out, and I'm sure my coworkers had silently noticed my change of smell.

To the bathroom I rushed to slide a little on. After work, home for an evening shower. Without the morning rush I organized the cabinet. And what's behind the ten tubes of toothpaste work gifted me for Thanksgiving? One tall stick of Old Spice. Unused.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Shooting blanks

Every time he hears the hiccups of the Canadian political machine, he is happy to be overseas. A wasted treasure chest and eight weeks of rhetoric, six shades of a single color leaning on the left side of a wall. Play it again, Sam, play it again.

Seven more months of sweater vests, he says.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's no Macaroni Rascals, but its still a name I can get behind.
Shore-stars, welcome to Korea.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Manga Realities

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, we planned a comic visit. The Artsonje Centre, hidden up the end of a snowy back alley in Insadong, was playing host to collection of Japan’s best manga.

Strictly for seeing, not reading, we feasted on the gauche and ink panel strips of Japanese words and Korean explanations. Best was Harold Sakuishi’s BECK, a manga take on classic album covers by Kanye, Bjork, Rancid, and Nirvana.

In deep dark blues Igarashi Daisuke drew his Children of the Sea, a haunting strip of stories told under water. But maybe most captivating was Kyo Machiko’s cartoons from her blog series Sennen Gaho, a quiet, nostalgic series.

Two Kyo lovers kissing under water pulled me in her pool, and stuck in that panel I stayed afloat, all day, and much of that passing week.