MANGO: I’m really stoked to be here with you in South Korea after all these years. We’ve known each other for how long now? Since 2012, right? So coming up on nine years. And I think you started painting right at the end of that year. I remember that you decided one day that you were going to start painting and drawing — and it was just like a faucet that turned on. You were prolific.
JI HOON: You guys really cheered me on in that beginning phase and it made me think “ oh, maybe I can do better,” and kept going.
MANGO: I think we were all genuinely impressed with just how much art you made — like three paintings a day sometimes. I remember when we moved into an apartment together. You had moved in before me and I arrived after a whole summer of you living there. We walk into the apartment and there are maybe 50 paintings all over the walls. The whole living room was covered in paintings. Maybe we have a picture of that.
MANGO: You really developed a style over that time, and I’m really excited to see you coming into the NFT space. I’m wondering, as a first time NFT Crypto Artist, what are your thoughts about the space? What are you excited about? What are you nervous about? What do you find the most interesting about it all?
JI HOON: I think what interests me the most is just showing my art to the public. I feel that I wasn’t showing my art to many people in the past and just doing it my own way — showing my close friends, family — but this time I feel like I’m opening it to more audience. I think that’s the most important thing with this NFT project.
MANGO: I was with you while you were making a lot of these and it’s clear that you were making them because you loved doing it, because it gave you an outlet, because it was a way to express yourself and to create and bring your gift into the world and all this beautiful stuff. It was never in your mind that you would sell these pieces. Or, you weren’t making them for that reason.
JI HOON: Mmm, no never.
MANGO: But they’re amazing. Some of them are truly awesome. My family purchased a couple because they just loved them.
So how do you feel about the idea of these pieces, which were a great emotional outlet for you — selling them to someone, having it go up in their house or wherever, someone anonymous you might never meet?
JI HOON: I mean, it would be a great honor. If my painting is going to impact anyone, I would be glad. I wish people who see my painting feel similar emotions as when I actually made the painting. How can I say? Empathy? I wanna share empathy for life. I think that’s the motivation. That’s what I want from the audience.
MANGO: So tell me a little about how these paintings are going to be integrated with the NFTs on Charged Particles? How exactly is the collection going to be presented?
JI HOON: So the paintings will be displayed digitally on Charged Particles. Each of the paintings will have an integrated NFT, and when people buy the NFT, they will get the actual painting too [as well as] the artist label and QR code. The QR code is for displaying the NFT and Charged Particle info wherever the actual painting is displayed. Also, it is possible to check how much money is raised for charity within the QR code.
MANGO: It’s super exciting to see the Charged Particles protocol being used in this way. Just to clarify for our readers a little bit — basically, your paintings will be loaded with interest-bearing aDAI tokens and a percentage of all the interest generated will be donated to charity. Someone viewing the painting would be able to scan a QR code displayed alongside it and see the digital copy, learn more about the charity, and see how much money had been raised for that charity initiative. While your pieces are being appreciated in the physical world, the NFT in the digital world will be perpetually raising money for good. This is just amazing, really, and I feel like it really brings the digital and physical worlds closer together.
JI HOON: Are there any artists like that, anyone you know doing that kind of thing?
MANGO: There are a lot of charity things out there in the NFT space already and people doing it in different ways, but this is, I think, the first project that’s doing it quite like this where, no matter the owner, it will always be generating money for charity as long as the assets are locked inside the NFT.
Are there any causes or charities that you would love to see your paintings supporting? Is it different for different paintings?
JI HOON: Recently, I’ve been thinking about children whose parents were not taking care of them very well, or were abandoned at an early age. Elderly people. Both of my grandparents died. I feel like they could be taken care of better. I’m thinking about that kind of care. I’ll look into more as we go. Maybe we’ll start by focusing on one charity first.
MANGO: How did you choose the five paintings that you’ll be minting with this first collection? Can you tell us a little about them?
JI HOON: So I think these pieces show my overall style. It kind of shows the stages of my art development throughout the eight years of painting — different chapters of my art. Of the five, the earliest one is, I think, “Living Room Jam”. By the time I painted this, I saw a lot of Van Gogh paintings. I was in love with his painting. I saw his books and tried to copy his style. Looking at the pictures. His biography. I would say the style is very alike. Very thick, a lot of touch, many color combinations, very vibrant, and very fast. I was very in the moment when I painted. Very quick painting sessions. When I painted, there was always music. So much inspiration.
MANGO: Which of these paintings do you think is most representative of your current style?
JI HOON: It’s hard to choose. Probably “Dream of Icarus,” (pictured, below) or “Rogers Avenue Window” (pictured, top). The window theme, I like. Someone said the reason I draw windows in my paintings is that windows are kind of like walls. They block you from outside. You can still see outside, but you are inside. I’m always looking out but I can't reach, yet, the outside. My ideal, my pursuit of happiness, personal good, something for the better — it’s clear. It’s there. I can see it. It represents my hope, I guess.
MANGO: Well, thanks for sitting down to talk with me about this project, Ji. I’m stoked to see the collection minted!
JI HOON: Thank you for having me on this project. I love to show my art to people. I’ll be glad to have people see my art in the future.