MY HIDDEN CREATIONS | Inventing From Vintage
An antique room in the basement where all my prized possessions lie. Pieces of art, I could say, that have never left this space for the public to see.
Editor Andrew Kim talks with artist Jung Lee on her intricate creative process, love for vintage, and view on aggravating environmental issues.
Q. I’ve heard that you are constantly in search for vintage items. Can I know how you started collecting and what types of products you find yourself cumulating?
I started collecting upon garnering interest for vintage furniture. In Korea, vintage furniture are usually old, meaning that they are more than 100 years of age. Because I want- ed to explore items that were made within the span of a century, I visited Europe to see them for myself. Initially, I started out by purchasing bits and pieces needed for architecture, such as lighting and tiles. Eventually, as my enthusiasm for vintage items grew, it ended up becoming a relatively large collection. I prefer vintage and designer pieces more than antique. Products made within the last 100 years. In particular, I have great appreciation and love for French vintage. While most vintage, regardless of nation, are dull and rough in nature, French vintage are fancy and delicate making it look beautiful despite having gone through a long period of time.
Q. How did you come up with the idea to make new creations with vintage products?
When people collect items, it is usually for the purpose of selling. However, there are often sentimental pieces that are unavailable for sale : products that have no practical purpose. Yet, those pieces tend to emanate a unique mood and feeling. Among them include broken or destroyed goods, materials inside a clock, and much more. Once I came to realize that a large part of my collection has been taken up by such items, I thought of creating some- thing with them. With my expertise in de- sign and textile art, I started constructing necessary products such as clocks and lighting— ultimately turning impracticality to practicality.
Q. What makes vintage products more attractive than new factory made ones?
Vintage products are objects that are no longer being manufactured. Since production has ceased in factories for multiple years, there are only limited quantities of them. Rarity is certainly a factor I view as charismatic. Additionally, unlike the past when products were designed for its artistic beauty, most items that are being produced today are solely made for human practicality.
Q. With environmental issues on the rise, how important do you think it is to recycle materials when constructing new products?
I think the most important thing is not to consume things too quickly, whether that be purchasing, using, or disposing goods. It is unfortunate to see that numerous industries around the world are practicing and advocating for fast consumption. Personally, I favor things that are old and antique. They provide senses of familiarity and help me remember moments and feelings that I have experienced in the past. Perhaps, that is the reason why I have been using the same home appliances and car for more than half of my life.
Q. Would you say you have a product that you are most attached to or a moment in life you remember as your favorite?
Every creation is my ‘favorite’ because it all required immense time and a unique type of dedication.