We had the good fortune of connecting with Jiwoo Lee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jiwoo, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
The main reason I want to grow up as a creative animator is that I want to make a difference in the world (as many artists do). If I continue to make artworks containing my philosophy, it will be possible to meet and communicate with various people who love my works and inspire them like I’m gradually doing right now. As an ‘Idealist’ with a strong belief in ethics and morality, I believe that the many injustices that exist in this world can be improved with a warm understanding and consideration for each other. And here’s the second reason. I believe that human creativity, including myself, is truly infinite. I feel so great pleasure in the activity of expressing my big, frantic imaginations. Nothing excites me more than being able to show it to the world proudly and make people empathize, be shocked, and then get applauded for it. And I personally think it’s most suitable to express it in the field of animation. Interesting stories created infinitely from a white empty page don’t require expensive CG, lighting, and actors. Who wouldn’t mind introducing your own fun world to people all over the world that you’ve just created on your desk!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
What makes me a little different from my friends around me is that I am interested in studying science and philosophy while majoring in animation. Recently I began to fall in love with physics, and the knowledge I learn while studying quantum mechanics is really mysterious and charming. I think the uncertainty they have is well worth using as creative material in animation. Given that the concept of “multiverse” has already appeared frequently in many films these days, and that they leave very positive and interesting reviews, the world is already actively converging ‘art’ and ‘science’! I’m a beginner in physics, but I’m really excited to draw an innovative future that will combine Animation with other fields. However, when I look at myself who have grown up so far, the passion that has persistently dug into only one thing is also a big part. As mentioned above, I’ve liked animation so much since I was young that I steadily accumulated drawing notes from elementary school until now.
But there was always one stumbling block that made me want to give up drawing or even art. It is the habit of comparing with others. Recognizing that this is very damaging and produces only negative results, I habitually weigh the abilities of others against my limitations. Through the advice of books and some of my friends, I learned consciously to stop comparing and look on the positive side. And now I’m making good use of it. For instance, as a perfectionist, I often set a lot of excessive goals for a day or week, and I usually felt defective because I couldn’t achieve them all perfectly. But now I try to set the focus on achieving half-full itself thanks to many goals. So I try to convince myself that it is a good thing in that way to set a goal big. By looking at the positive side like this, self-esteem and confidence are building once again.
From this perspective, I will continue to grow myself, and together. I want to comfort individuals’ feelings with my drawing and stories and create a masterpiece that will overturn the existing unequal social norms for the better world. (always have a big dream!)
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ve never been to many cities in my 19 years in Korea. (yes I am a bit countryside girl) Still, if I were to pick one, I would like to go on a trip to ‘Jeju-si’ city on Jeju Island, which is located in the south of Korea. I stayed there with my family for two weeks, and it is a place where I can relax and enjoy a day without any complicated thoughts or many people. Jeju Island is a volcanic island, so the beach is mostly made of basalt. Basalt is a black stone with several small holes, and the view of the coastline with basalt that I saw was very beautiful. (But if you bring it secretly as a natural monument, you will be charged a fine of about $40,000 so you should warn your friends.) I think it would be good to go around and paint various natural scenery of Jeju-si because I and my friends like to draw and the city has so many interesting natural sceneries like the volcano cave. And since it is a city but an island itself, there are so many kinds of seafood, so I wanna make them eat that various seafood and enjoy their reaction. And in the evening, we will just lie down on a hammock where we can see stars, with the campfire, sing, and play guitar comfortably. Seoul and other cities are usually complicated and noisy, but I would like to recommend this place right away if I introduce my friend to the travel destination because the calm and fresh wind of Jeju-si City will be the most memorable trip.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’ve lived with inspiration and support every moment, so I always have family, friends, and artists that I’m grateful all the time! However, it could be a bit obvious but the first person that comes to mind is my mother. surprisingly, she worked in animation for a long time when I was little. Thanks to that, I watched it and learned the process of making animation since I was young. And sadly, she quit the animator because, at that time, there was not much interest and financial support in the field of animation in my country. However, she encouraged me despite those backgrounds. I could do what I wanted to do and learn what I wanted thanks to her full support that I wanted to go the same way like her. So I’ve never given up on my dream ever that I had. Secondly, one of the artists who made me exist here now is the famous band called, ‘Twenty One Pilots.” I appreciate them all my life because their songs helped me to get out of negative and extreme thoughts when I was in serious depression. Finally, I want to mention one more artist. That is director James Cameron. He is a director who has created tremendous masterpieces such as Titanic and Avatar. I should say he is a director and ‘explorer’. He went into hiding in the film industry for seven years after the Titanic. And he was founded at NASA’s Undersea Research Institute. The reason is that the background of Avatar 2, which will be released soon, is the deep sea. He has a passion for extending his curiosity to the limit for the details of his film. In addition, he invented submarines while studying with NASA, and contributed greatly to the scientific community with various information obtained from undersea exploration. I also want to expand my stage in science and philosophy, not only in the field of animation like him. I really admire his passion and great execution ability. So whenever I meet the limit in my life, I remind him again and get up with the thinking ‘Maybe there is something more.. let’s try it another way!’
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