[Herald Interview] Artist Heo Wook cries out ‘no war’ in Ukraine through ‘Cheomcheom’
In support of aiding Ukraine, the artist donated his painting ‘PEACE in Ukraine’ and its image featured at ‘2022 Special Concert for World Peace’
Published : Mar 27, 2022 - 18:33
Updated : Mar 27, 2022 - 18:33
Heo Wook stands next to his painting “PEACE in Ukraine” wearing a face mask designed with the image at Jeongdong 1928 Gallery in Seoul. (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald)

Artist Heo Wook is happiest when he draws lines to connect edges in his works. He has pursued an artistic concept of his own, which he calls “Cheomcheom,” that has evolved throughout his artistic career.

After graduating from Beaux-Arts de Paris with degrees in drawing, painting, architecture and multimedia, Heo has explored how relationships are created among objects or people. The concept “Cheomcheom” literally means to constantly lay one thing upon another in Korean.

“I came to think that many circumstances are a result of relationships around us reciprocating one another. It is like ‘support-supported.’ We constantly meet, communicate and conflict in our relations, as well as return one’s kindness and favors in our lives,” Heo said in an email interview with The Korea Herald.

Heo’s viewpoint as an artist is featured in his painting “PEACE in Ukraine” that was used for the poster of the “2022 Special Concert for World Peace.” The special concert was held last Wednesday at the Seoul Art Center, co-hosted by The Korea Herald and led by the Seoul Pops Orchestra and conductor Ha Sung-ho.

The painting “PEACE in Ukraine” was created with the colors of Ukraine’s national flag and is emblazoned with the word “Peace” to express hope for world peace and opposition to the war in Ukraine.

“My heart was crying out ‘No War’ when I painted the work. It was like I was layering ‘Peace’ over and over in the painting,” he said. Heo

Face masks designed with the image of the painting filled across the Seoul Art Center with people wearing masks while watching the concert performed by SPO. The scene resonated more when Ukrainian violinist Sergiy Salo performed “Moldova.”

A total of 99 copies of the image were issued as nonfungible tokens at 50,000 won ($40) each on digital art platform and marketplace Evei. All proceeds will be donated to support emergency relief for Ukrainian refugees.

As an artist, Heo considers art a core thread that links different fields and people around the world.

“Art is like a bridge that connects people to each other as well as the present and future. Artists are those who help things go smoothly and have the role of a relationship buffer,” he said.

When asked about what keeps him as an artist, he thought of his 7-year-old son who recognized his father’s painting when he was just 3 years old. “It was a very ‘unique’ and touching moment. Such an experience is the source of my strength as an artist,” he added.

The exhibition “Start Collection,” which features Heo’s works, runs through Tuesday at Jeongdong 1928 Gallery in Seoul.

By Park Yuna (