“Two trees, with two different sets of roots, but growing together as one,” said artist MiSun Kim-Hunter quietly, looking at a very early, elegant painting on the wall of her studio.
“My husband and I represent two cultures which have grown together as one, making harmony. As One is the name of my gallery. And it’s here that I find freedom of expression. Here that I try different things to discover their texture. Like mixing spices.”
MiSun Hunter was born and grew up in Korea. She came to Canada in 2003, where she met her husband, Derek, himself an artist and an art teacher at BCI in Brockville; they settled in Morrisburg in 2009.
As One Gallery, opened in 2010, is in an old house on a quiet side street of the town.
MiSun’s studio (renovated by Derek) takes up the front half of the red brick house: its high ceilings and tall windows allow the light to play over easels, shelves of brushes and paints and art pieces, walls hung with works complete or in progress.
In the centre of the room are long, comfortable tables where MiSun’s students can work.
The overall impression of As One Gallery is of rich colour and variety.
“My original style came from Korea, where I was an illustrator of such things as Christmas cards, greeting cards and children’s books,” MiSun explained. She studied jewelry design in college, and also worked as an assistant director in a movie production company.
But coming to Canada changed her approach to her art.
“In Canada I began to paint in my own style, to tell my own story. My art has become more what I want to explore.
I use a lot of colour. I use many styles: colour and shape depend so much on my mood when I am actually painting.
But I like to make my paintings graceful, flowing and emotional. When I paint for myself, I paint out of my own imagination.”
There is another artistic passion in MiSun’s life.
“I truly love teaching.”
From the time she opened her Morrisburg gallery and studio, she has found satisfaction and personal happiness in “helping people on the road to art.”
MiSun believes that it is possible for anyone, at any age, to find joy in art.
She has taught very young children, and adults who may never have painted before.
She also teaches water colour at St. Lawrence College, and offers individual and group instruction in her home.
“I think I guide people,” MiSun said. “Little children, they love art so much. Yet even as we are having fun, they are still grasping structure, light and form, the basics and foundation of art.
My older students even say that I create a new life for them. They tell me their eyes are opened and they see things, even their lives, differently.”
“I believe,” MiSun said firmly, “that a person should never be afraid to try to paint, to explore and to experiment. Once the basic foundations are in place, go out and try new things.”
It is a philosophy of art which she herself follows.
She uses acrylics, oils and water colours, and her themes range from illustration to animation to abstracts.
“I would say that I am a dreamer,” MiSun Kim-Hunter said.
“I think artists break down walls. The artist can be a filter who sees things in a different way and expresses them differently. I believe that people can break the walls in their lives through art. And that’s the power of art.”