Coming across a website as visually pleasing as All Korean Arts is like finding something precious in a bowl of beondegi. A veritable treasure trove of art, fashion, design, videography and photography – all curated from Korean creators – AKA’s focused and informative blog posts are pleasurable to view and easy to digest. We got in touch with its London-based inceptor, Seyna Van Der Linden, to discover more about the new and quickly-rising site.
Chincha: What is AKA?
Seyna: AKA (All Korean Arts) is a visual diary about Korean creatives in the world. We basically write and blog about Korean artists in the world (from London to Antwerp and Chicago), with a focus on emerging artists and students. Based on a contributor network, we either process submissions sent to us or curate art and design we love. Most contributors are based in London or Seoul at the moment but we hope to go as far as Chile, where another large Korean community is based. We haven’t been able to reach out to there just yet!
There are so many websites about Korea. What makes AKA different?
We specialise in emerging talent within Korean art & design but with a global perspective. On AKA you will find anything from a Korean-American illustrator to a Swiss-Korean photography student living in Zurig or a Korean emerging designer living in Seoul, it’s a pretty unique network. It really is all about connecting the Korean communities overseas but equally creating a virtual playground where artists can showcase their latest projects or find out about their peers across the globe. The real aim of AKA, initially, was to inspire people to explore their own talents, create and share. Some artists on the website weren’t producing art anymore when we approached them… secretly we hope they’ve picked it up again after the feature!
Why have you focused on Korean arts in particular?
We feel Korean arts have a very distinct aesthetic and approach. It is something you can’t really explain with words, which is why our blog is so visual. When we saw the Saatchi gallery in London dedicated their whole summer residency to ‘Korean Eye’, a group exhibition of Korean established artists, we knew the global art industry definitely agreed about Korea being at the forefront for all things creative.
Who is your favourite established Korean artist?
It is a tough question to answer, not because I am personally not fond of any established artists but because there is an element to emerging artists and students that a lot of established creatives loose along the way. I often think of it as Rousseau’s story about Émile, the child that gets corrupted by society. Art feels very much the same way to me, once galleries get involved or an artist feels pressure to perform commercially, an element of genuine creation gets lost. Everything on AKA is pretty much a favourite to me.
Are there any up-and-coming creatives we should know about?
So many! I think most recently I was personally really baffled by New York based illustrator Lana Chun, photographer Nina Ahn (her flickr page literally gave me goosebumps) and of course one of the artists AKA represents, Seoul-based Casper Kang. But then again it’s like asking somebody who their favourite child is, I hope everybody we’ve come across and posted about will make their way in the industry, one way or the other.
AKA is a relatively new site. What plans do you have for its future?
Again, so many! We hope to push out a free bi-annual print version to distribute in Seoul, NYC, L.A., Chicago and London. It would be a collection of the artists we have featured in the past six months prior to that. As we are a virtual curating space, we also hope to expand our agency where we represent artists and connect them with galleries across the world. But more than anything I guess we just hope more people find out about us and keep sending us their amazing work or join our contributor network. So, thank you Chincha!
What do you think of Korean art and design? Who is your favourite Korean artist?
Images by Nina Ahn, Casper Kang and Lana Chun, in order of appearance on the page. Featured image is a screenshot taken from AKA.