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2012 Seoul Milk Carton Project: Beginnings

Every project has its beginning…

Art serenely provides a burst of energy for my aching heart that helps to quickly vanish any sort of anxiety, depression, or worry. I fully embrace it. It allows me to produce very abstract things conjured from deep within my mind and relieve the always pending, joyous urge to simply create something original. It’s like a narcotic that I can take anytime I please, which may indeed propel me to work from dusk to dawn without any concern. And despite life’s pressing demands that severely limit when and where I can freely create, I’ve recently been given a superb opportunity to do something aesthically grand.

When I was propositioned to teach an extra class last year, I was subsequently asked to come up with an idea. How about acting, I questioned. I love acting and thought it would be fun to teach. The idea resonated amongst my colleagues and students, and not before long I was co-teaching an acting class together with my closest Korean colleague. The acting class was a blast. The students and I had a great time, and I was fortuitously able to recognize their development throughout the year. Then after much practice and preparation, a theater play was performed last December to the delight of all the students, parents, and school staff. It appeared to be everyone’s favorite among the many other performances that other teachers and students had prepared.

When the new school year began roughly two months ago, I was again asked to teach an extra “activity” class. The first thought that came to mind: 3-D Art. The possibilities are endless. It’s practical and really fun. Some students already attend a bi-weekly art class taught by a Korean teacher, but its focus is minimized to solely korean/asian arts. Thus, I wanted to do something of a much more broader and grander scale. Besides, I absolutely love 3-d art.

Before commencing the art class several weeks ago, my new co-teacher presented me with a great idea and asked, “Why don’t we do the ‘Seoul Milk Contest’?” Upon ascertaining that the “Seoul Milk Contest” is a 3-D art project based on building something from “Seoul Milk” cartons, a wave of rejoice fell over me. I immediately concurred. Then after reviewing previous winning projects (many of which are included in a “Seoul Milk” printed calendar every year and dispersed throughout Korea), I recognized that many that had been chosen to be included in the yearly calendar are solely a replica of something already existing, whereas those that actually received top prizes and were greatly honored, were created solely from pure imagination. Therefore, during that same week, I drew up a semi-detailed schematic of what I presently call the “Dream Palace” – a purely original design and idea.

With the project due in just over two months, everyday I have been scrambling to collect, wash, and cut a large amount of milk cartons in preparation to actually begin major construction. Also, with the limited amount of time I actually have to instruct a small group of students that are helping me for a short amount of time each week, I am almost essentially the lone-ranger on this one. Although, after beginning to see progress in initial construction, my students have become more inspired and interested in learning more and are offering more assistance amid their already super busy schedules. To my joyous surprise, one of my students conjured an idea on how to double the strength of the columns we’ve begun to construct, essentially saving the project much trouble later down the road; it was definitely one of those “I’ll be damned” moments. And despite hitting some frustrating snags amid the beginning stages of construction and the large amount of extra work and pressure I’ve given myself, the plan is set and I must and desire to continue.

The four primary reasons that I must and desire to continue:

(1) Despite the high amount of extra work and pressure, I absolutely love doing art.

(2) Failure is not an option.

(3) My students and school staff are looking forward to the project completion and I cannot let them down.

(4) I must show the parents and school staff that I have something extra to offer.

Reasons 1-3 are almost essentially a given, but number 4? Well, it’s that time of the year of renewing contracts, and it’s essentially up to the parents, students, and school staff if they want to contract me for another year. For the time being it seems there will not be a problem, but I’ve learned throughout life that there aren’t many absolute things about what tomorrow may bring.

All the teachers at my school offer something more than just teaching rudimentary subjects, such as teaching music, sports, ballet, etc. Last year my school was very pleased that I was committed to teaching an acting & sports class, in addition to introducing a number of complex art-related projects throughout the year amid teaching my English classes. Therefore, I must again show my value and offer something extra. With this particular project being the first of several very large 3-d art projects to which I’m planning to incorporate over the coming school year, it will essentially serve as the card-up-my-sleeve that I’m confident will shred any doubt colleagues and parents may have about me in terms of offering something extra this year.

Upon project completion, I imagine the dynamic and visibly appealing piece will be seen by all the students, staff, and community, and perhaps all of Korea if it’s chosen to be included in next year’s calendar. I’m confident that my students will find success after their hard-work and dedication, and the fact that they will also be commended by the school and community. Most importantly of all, I’m hoping that my students will begin to develop a love for art and understand the great potential and joy that can be found in pure, aesthetic creation.

It’s time for me not to worry about what tomorrow may bring, but solely focus on the joyous task at hand of just freely creating.

Wish me luck!

3 comments on “2012 Seoul Milk Carton Project: Beginnings

  1. Jieun
    May 9, 2012

    wow..I like your story very much…you seem definetly the person who is enjoying challenging things. I always do as the same reasons of number1,2. Anyhow once it get started you need to get it done. 🙂

  2. Fern
    May 9, 2012

    I like it too! I love hearing about creative projects. I’m happy to see you are doing such fantastic things all the time. I can’t wait to see your palace done. I want more photos!! 🙂

  3. Dennis
    May 9, 2012

    Why don’t you build a 3-D Alamo?!

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This entry was posted on May 9, 2012 by in Art, South Korea and tagged , , .

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