Gimbap+Friends in Seoul

January 9, 2015

New Friends

Insanely happy. Not only was I able to successfully navigate the Seoul subway system so I could see art at both the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art and Seoul Museum of Art, but I also made a lifelong friend. I walked into a tiny crowded restaurant near the Deoksugong Palace, entering immediately after the sweet lady in this photograph. The waitress mistakenly thought we were together and seated us at a small table. I made my body small and with my knees pointing away & started the drawing I had been working on all day. Out of the corner of my vision, I could see her interest. We had both ordered gimbap (Korean sushi) and when it arrived she began to ask me questions in halting English about my sketchbook, my nationality.

Although I was shy at first I quickly warmed up… she gave me incredible feedback on my sketchbook and went so far as to write her comments in English and Korean on two empty pages. She began: “I feel now about your drawing”.


All the while I was wondering whether this would be a friendly encounter that would live in the moment but, lacking an exchange of names, would become a moment of the past without tendrils projecting forward. So I was so gleeful when she signed “Good Luck, Shim Bu Seop”. She is a 62 year old who looks 40 years old. Her smile is sweet and benevolent. She is a sculpture and when we parted we exchanged hugs and she said “We become good friends” and invited me to her studio, an hour and a half away. We will write to each other and I promised I would send her photos of American sculpture. Moments like these between kindred spirits, which spring from coincidence and friendliness, are moments which make my soul shine. Now I’m eating donuts and drinking hot bubble green tea at Dunkin’ Donuts, revisiting fond childhood memories. Thank you world for believing in my art. Thank you for new friends.



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