Yunoo near the Tibetan Museum.
Name: Kim Yunoo
Length of Time in Gwangju: almost my whole life
I have never been able to . . . dance well
A great book I would recommend is . . . Illusion by Richard Bach.
The show I am most likely to binge watch is . . . Bering Sea Gold on The Discovery Channel.
The food I make that I am best known for is . . . stir-fried noodles and vegetables (Japchae).
On my days off I like to . . . clean everything using baby wipes.
My favorite movie is . . . The Mood for Love by Wong Karwai.
Do you belong to any clubs in Gwangju?
The “Rock Music Club” at Chonnam National University. I joined when I was a freshman. It’s been many years now and we still meet but don’t listen to music, just drink and chat about career, life, etc. It’s almost prohibited to talk about music now!
What is the oddest job you have ever had?
I’m not sure which one is odder. I worked in the Tibetan Museum in Boseong as a curator and I was a DJ for 5 years in several music clubs and cafes (Goks, Cico, Klaatu, The Beatles, Ricky Martin) in Gwangju. I loved both jobs. Thinking about odd things, maybe the first one, because I was wiping thousand years-old bones even until midnight to prepare exhibitions, and I was not scared at all. That was odd and I scared myself.
Tell us a strange or interesting fact about you.
If I have any interests in a certain area, I don’t stop just as an interest. People say learning something is always good and shouldn’t stop until you die. But I can say mine is like a sickness. After endless interests and learning, I have 20 kinds of licenses (soon) and a poor bank account.
Another one is an attachment to cleaning. I have to clean the house at least once a day (if I don’t, the dirty part will show up in my dreams), so sometimes I feel like I am “Monica.” BTW, Monica has a secret closet room in the kitchen, which is full of shitty stuff, things never can be arranged. I have a place like that too.–that’s my workroom, haha! One day Caleb went inside and said, “What chaos!”
Describe your favorite travel destination.
Thailand. A trip to Thailand is always right. I’ve traveled 3 times there now and I stayed two weeks with Caleb last year, and I reconfirmed it is the best place for me. Unfortunately, I had to travel on crutches many days (I got in an accident and got a broken toe), but still I like Thai beer, affordable massages that I can do every day, beautiful nature, and more beautiful minded people. That’s Thailand. I will be in north Thailand next month with my lovely handsome 3 guys (Caleb, Sahn and Jin). I hope I can visit again in the future, too, and I hope Thailand is open for me to choose as a country to live in when I get old.
Caleb and Sahn.
What business do you run in Gwangju?
I work as a calligrapher under the name “Yunoo Calligraphy”
How long has Yunoo Calligraphy been operating in Gwangju?
It’s been 2 years now.
How did your business begin?
I majored in Art until high school, and I also love Korean letters. They’re beautiful, and I love stationery (don’t say it’s childish!). Doing calligraphy fulfills many of my interests.
What is the best part of your day?
When Caleb suggests we watch American series together with a glass of wine or beer.
When my son Sahn comes home from daycare in a good mood and says “I love you, mom.”
When my second son Jin smiles at me or when he’s not throwing up after his meal.
When the delivery guy delivers my things.
And like once a week, after all the chores, like feeding my little boys, Caleb comes home and I go out for a drink. I normally go to the downtown bars alone or with my neighborhood and high school/university friend, my partner-in-crime Kyungmi Lee, and drinking monk, Al.
What can be the most difficult part of your day?
Sometimes I don’t feel like grabbing any brushes, even for many days. I want to do it when I’m willing to, but sometimes, unavoidably, I just need to work. In that situation, it’s hard to think of any good ideas and I don’t like my calligraphy either. That is the most difficult thing.
Do you have any volunteer or charity work you perform for the community?
It’s been 12 years now that I’ve volunteered or donated to 2 Buddhist communities. One is “Jabi“that volunteers for solitary old people in the Dong-gu district. Another one is “Life sharing” that volunteers for people who have blood cancer, or need an organ donation.
When I started, I volunteered making weekly side-dish boxes for solitary old people, shooting portraits of people for when they are deceased (yes, before they die), and helping them look nicer for the shoot. I don’t do these now sadly, but still I donate to them.
What are some future plans you have for your business?
Talking about the future of my business, prospects and profitability, need to be thought about. But the future of my business is in a tunnel. I didn’t start just for the money, so if I can make any money, I am happy. Certainly I’m making some. If I have to say, I started to give some air towards all of my art desires, and I like to communicate with people who love all kinds of art.
Are there any places you can recommend in Gwangju that a lot of folks don’t know about?
I can think of only one related to places-services-experiences. It’s a BAR! Yes, I love music and drinks. One of my favorite bars is located in 1-ga in downtown named “Kino,” and another one is on Art street, close to Joong-ang Elementary school, named “Sound of Music.” KINO has cheap drinks (Jack & Coke is 5$ only), electric darts, and free billiards. Most of all, the owner has a wide knowledge about any kind of music and you can request songs too. Sound of Music is a Korean style building (Hanok) bar. They have a diverse wine collection, vacuum-tube speakers, and antique music equipment. The owner of Sound of Music loves tea and incense as well, and can make them. I suggest you go there and listen to Diana Krall’s Under My Skin through vacuum-tube speakers on a snowy day (there’s windows on the ceiling too)!