5 Jun 2014

Seoul Weekend | Free Market @ Hongdae

As a future Art and Design student, Hongdae is a must-go for all who are in the same field as me. I would highly recommend this Free Market (or flea market) in Hongdae, held on every Saturday at Hongik Park, which features its signature playground (filled with informal signatures, or I would say graffiti) used as a filming spot for famous Korean shows like Running Man.

They say Saturday is the worst day to visit Hongdae but I felt that the crowd was alright. Not very shovy or pushy but very tamed. Korea is generally a safe place to carry your backpacks around so I felt no theft threats throughout my entire 16 days there. In fact, I felt even more at ease over there than back here in Singapore.

The Free Market features many budding artists displaying their fine artwork or handicrafts both in 2D and 3D. As a tourist, I would specially look for drawings that infuses modern drawing techniques and also traditional korean cultural influences in it. Though some of their works may seem pricey (5,000 won for a small card), it is always good to support fellow artists in their journey to pursue higher standards in their artwork. I really wished Singapore had more of such flea markets featuring artists selling postcards of their own photography/own drawings or handmade stuff like keyboard pieces made into handphone dustcaps e.t.c. instead of flea markets being just a place for young giggly girls and model-wannabes to sell their unwanted clothes that would barely cover any average-sized person's butt or bellybutton. I mean, if you want to put it bluntly, yeah that's the trend in Singapore. Our country seriously NEEDS more of such events like all these Free Markets and the weekend flea market at *SCAPE is definitely not what I'm referring to. Time to gather some uni friends to set up some flea market for budding artists in the future.

There are also many portrait artists there. Some are even Fine Art students from the nearby Hongik University coming out on the weekends to earn some extra pocket money. If you think the only way to drawing portraits is on an easel, you're wrong. These talented artists draw on EVERY SINGLE THING. The girl that I approached told me to choose from a box of wood chips in different shapes and sizes (she cut and shaved them herself) and then she drew my portrait on it within 10 mins, with colour and all. I loved her idea so much that I gave her 10,000 won and told her to keep the change of 5,000 won.

I really appreciated my time at the Free Market as each and every booth just tells me how infinite one's imagination can be to create so many products out of one simple piece of wood/one unwanted keyboard or even from drawings out of our moving hands. I felt truly inspired to be a better artist and a better student at ADM after emerging out of the Free Market with almost half of my daily budget spent on all those little postcards and drawings that I decided to take home with me for future inspiration.

Korea, I'm so in love with your quirks and your vibrant arts scene.


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