Have you ever had a dream — one that you’ve nurtured since childhood? This week, we met Junghwa, a NYC artist who teaches a variety of arts and crafts classes on Verlocal (from leather crafting, handmade embroidery, to seasonal felt toy making), in Brooklyn, a city where you can find inspiration everywhere and where people who look for or love art live. From her artwork, you can see the most adorable and direct expression from her heart about the love towards art, the city, and everything surrounding.
“I’ve wanted to be an artist since the very beginning of my memories,” Junghwa says. “I find and revisit my passion in arts whenever I come across an obstacle. I do get frustrated following my passion in arts & crafts sometimes, but I never give up.” Junghwa channels her artistic and innovative spirit not only to teach her skills to like-minded people in the city but also inspire and help them to find their own voice through the process.
Read on to learn about Junghwa’s story, her favorite moments from her classes, and what she has to say to all of you who want to start pursuing your own passions.
We are so excited to have you with us, Junghwa. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am an illustrator and craftsperson based in NYC. As an illustrator, I have worked in editorial illustration, stationery, character design, and advertising for clients. Crafting is also one of my passions. I apply my tastes to objects with my boundless craft skills. I have retailers in USA and S.Korea and teach craft every weekend at Twigg’s Bindery, a bookbinding studio founded by Jonna Twigg. I mainly teach handmade embroidery and leather craft. Seasonally, I also teach toy making, felt flower, and candle making workshops. Last Spring, I taught a felt bouquet class for Mother’s Day. Also, I am going to open Christmas lantern and candle class for winter season. Instead of just teaching crafting skills, I lead people to find their purpose and character from my classes.
Where does your inspiration come from? What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?
Inspiration is everywhere. Just being aware of where I live, what I see, and what I feel inspires me. I had had chances to teach before instructing classes at Twigg’s Bindery. Every time, my mind was filled with passion, especially about achieving an artistic goal. I am always aware of teaching opportunities. I got an email from Verlocal at the end of 2015. And I met Jonna in early 2016. These opportunities ended up with me opening class in Brooklyn and becoming a host on Verlocal.
How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?
The link between my classes and the community is natural. The city is one of the best places to practice art. Brooklyn is the place where people who look for or love art live. These cultures in the city represent my classes well. People who come to my classes are designers, writers, or simply fill their lives with art.
How long have you been living in New York? What would you recommend to someone who just moved to this city?
I have been living in New York since 2008. To anyone moving here, I recommend recognizing their purpose of moving to the city. This city has the best of everything: art, food, academics, finance, shopping, and etc. If you are a beer snob, try all of the bars and breweries in/near the city! Try to experience as much and meet as many people as you can!
Tell us about your favorite moment/ biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.
Whenever my students master a specific point that they have difficulty with, I feel pleased to share in their satisfaction. Also, it is worth teaching when people create their own works with help from my instruction as well as their creativity. Though the purpose of my class is learning a particular skill, I also always focus on guiding my students to find their own voice.
What is your favorite piece of work & story behind it?
My favorite work is with flower bouquets. In spring, I launched a seasonal class for Mother’s Day. The class was about the basics of felt craft and how to apply said craft. Lots of sweet and lovely people attended the class. There were two guys in their mid-30’s who came in. They were planning to send their bouquets to Mexico and Ohio. With their huge hands, they made the most beautiful and lovely flowers for their moms. Some other impressive students were a mom and daughter couple from Chelsea. The mom made flowers for her mom and the daughter made flowers for HER mom. They all made one-of-a-kind bouquets for their most special person in the world.
What are your goals for the future?
My goal is communicating with more people in the world through my art. Living as a human means creating meaningful harmony with others. Having the ability to inspire people is a gift in life. Art contains an artist’s subconscious thoughts, whether it’s on purpose or not. And people interpret art with their own point of view. With my ability in visual language, I want to achieve my goal of inspiring others beyond using simple language.
Any recommendations to someone who wants to pursue their passion for a career?
Just do it and do not give up. Whether you fail or successfully achieve a goal, the experience and the journey are more important. Even if you fail, you can try again using what you learned on your journey.
What does Verlocal mean to you?
To me, Verlocal is an innovative and fresh bridge between the creative community and myself. Verlocal is an online community that also connects spreading communities in real life, all in one website. Verlocal also attracts a lot of young and creative people with their simple and fashionable interspace.
You can see Junghwa’s artwork across the world, from US to South Korea. But if you’re lucky enough to be living in New York or plan on visiting the city soon, you’ll be able to meet this awesome artist in person! If you’re feeling artsy, then keep an eye out for her embroidery workshop this weekend.
All photos by Junghwa Park