[Interview]Ku Hye Sun – “The Musical” Magazine Interview
Since her debut 8 years ago, she has been living as an actress, an author of [Tango], a composer/songwriter, an illustrator who had her own exhibition, and a director of a short film (Cheerful Caretaker) and of a long film (YoSool). It is no longer new in this generation to come across many multi-players. However, she is the one who has continually done her own unique style of activities without much concern to others’ views about her. I really wanted to meet her at least once. Because she is currently involved in the 60-day Design Korea project to work freely as an artist, I went to see her there. When I opened her room, I saw her illustrations everywhere. At a corner where two walls meet are black and red furry knitting threads weaved about with her picture frames hanging here and there. It gives a feeling of her picture frames caught between various spider webs. Among all these pictures scrunched on the floor, I discovered GHS trying to sand out a small clay doll. Like a pro, she sprayed it with silver lacquer to enhance its color/shape and started to place it among the furry knit wires. Trying various locations on the wires, she suddenly stopped and said while smiling, “The clay has not yet completely dried and I have to paint it again.”
Q: It seems like you really enjoy the work.
GHS: When I first came here, I felt overwhelmed about what to do. But as I got into it, I enjoy it. I have always loved breaking things apart,,,(laughter) The fact that I can walk out of my room and see others work/projects, I like it. Although we are not all working on a same project together, I am learning a lot from other people’s various styles and concepts and thoughts.
Q: Please explain the way you designed your own work room here (at Design Korea?
GHS: I wanted the room to feel very comfortable so that people can just come and go easily while looking around. That is why I just placed some of the pictures on the floor. These ball pen illustrations are from my previous work and because they are drawn as lines, I also hung them on lines. When I first came here, there were lots of mold everywhere. But then they started to look pretty to me. I also liked the walls with torn wall papers and I wanted to make that feel come alive. So I sprayed silver tone over the old mold color. I tend to work with a single solid color, but, for the first time, I decided to use pink. I definitely think that my mood became better.
Q: You normally do not use many colors?
GHS: When I was younger, I really used too many colors. Sometimes, I even uses colors that did not go together well. As I became older, I rarely use more than two colors. So, the one that I added is pink. At first, I was just going to use wires and threads in this room, but it felt cold. So, I decided to do something new and also to bring over my old pictures from previous exhibition.
Q: How and when did you do all these work? Aren’t you currently making a drama?
GHS: The titile of the drama is same as the name of your magazine. The MUSICAL. (laughter) Although the drama is taking longer than I initailly thought, all that I am left with is time. Except for the days with all night filming, I always have time. I have time to eat, go to bathroom. I have at least one hour each day. I tend to get distracted doing other things within that hour.
Q: When there was a rumor that you are appearing in a musical drama, many people are hoping that perhaps we can see you actually perform on stage live.
GHS: No Way! Absolutely not! It is only possible through a drama. Even if they are going to give me million dollars, I cannot perform dance, acting and songs live on stage without any editing. You can make a movie and later edit and fix things. However, musical is done live. I am amazed by (Ok) JooHyun unnie and (Kim) HoYoung-ssi’s performances. I think they are like gods.
Q: You must really enjoy creative work, especially in such diverse areas.
GHS: Actually I am amazed by the fact that I became an actress. Since very young age, I loved to draw and I lived music daily. I became interested in movies while working at acting. Then I realized that everything that I enjoyed doing since young age is very helpful to me now. It is just that I am more known than other people because I am an actress. However, there are many people who do so many different things all at once. Most of my friends are like that too. One friend plays cello but also plays violin, writes poems and draws murals. Even the Great Lee WehSoo started our as painter before taking up writing. Most of his acquaintances are more familiar with him as a painter than a writer. Recently I hear he is composing as well. My feeling is that many people live with the pressure to specialize in one thing. But, I just think of all these activities to be basically cultural art. Under cooking, we make bhap, kimchi stew and other side dishes and call them all food. I guess I am just making the bhap and kimchi stew and other side dishes and mixing them all together to make a movie.
Q: Wasn’t it hard to make a movie for the first time? I would imagine it would have been amazing to have your imagined picture inside an angle shot?
GHS: It was like that when I was making . It was very hard and I had to deal with few things head on for the first time. But, I worked on them without thinking it was hard work. I was 24 years old then and I did not have any director’s educational background. However, since I have been part of making scenes as actress for a long time, I became accustomed to filming fairly quickly. Also, there were many experienced professionals on location and their minds were open to helping me out in difficult situations and to discuss ideas together. For , I had only one month to make the movie. But because it was my second film, I did not get lost as easily and I personally learned a tremendous amount. I also love that one does not make a movie alone. When acting, I had to be careful because sometimes truth can be distorted. So I would have to act and say things very carefully. But as a director, I really liked that I can just be GHS.
Q: What kind of person is just GHS?
GHS: I am not sure myself as I also change at times. But, I do not become immersed in my own world of creation and turn abstruse and serious. I tend to be disorganized and very forgetful that I often lose or forget things. When I was younger, I used to think that I was different/special compared to other people. Because I drew before I can read, I had a strong self-confidence about drawing. I think that many people who draw tend to be very self-conscious. I felt very firmly that I had a strong future because I can draw. However, life does not easily turn out the way one wants. There will be failures and obstacles. Now that I am in the twenty’s and already 28 years old, I now feel that I am no different than other people. If one feels that one is too special and too precious and yet does not meet one’s own expectations of self, one can easily feel distressed and anxious. People rightfully make mistakes. One time, I fell in a very crowded place and yet I found the situation funny and saw myself having a good laugh. It is a situation that I could not have even imagined about myself when I was younger.
Q: But, in your case, I don’t think that you had any big failures or frustrations after your debut.
GHS: Well, I was lucky. It is not because I am better. It is because I had many good adult people around me who advised me well. I don’t know about anything else, but I do feel very blessed because of the people around me. Wonderful adults around me give me great strength.
Q: You are talking about the late Representative Jung SeungHye.
GHS: Yes. We started our relationship when I was scolded badly by her. I brought her my script that I wrote during high school called Button. She nonchalantly told me to ‘throw it in the garbage.’’ At that time, I was in a stage where I could not throw any thing away. Plus, it was the size of an encyclopedia. If the phrase is I am going out, what I try to understand is how is the person going out, wearing what clothes and what hairstyle and in what way is the person walking. I thought I would be traumatized but actually she gave me self-confidence. I have a feeling that I wished someone would tell me something like that. By meeting Representaive, I learned to throw things out and also learned more about life. I was also able to write a new script. After 1~2 years, she told me not to just write but to do something with it. Until then, I wondered if I could really direct a movie, but she would encourage me by saying that the right time will come. She would advise me that one does not know anything fully until one actually tackle the work at hand. She told me to just jump into the reality and deal with it. That is why I thought that I did not want to live life with regrets just because I was afraid of failures. I felt it was more important to live life without regrets.
Q: At that time, you were quite busy acting on dramas, right? And yet, you still found the time to write a script.
GHS: (laughter) Actors are extremely busy at one period then becomes unemployed the next. Most actors experience at one time or other the distress of one’s status of not having a next job not en queue. To prepare for such situations, I had to turn to and find myself. I felt that if I try and prepare something new for myself, I can overcome such possible periods of anxiety and depression. But, because I tend to be timid and not so adventurous, I wondered what others may say if I do. I felt that people may criticize me and say, It is true that I was afraid of such pouring of criticisms. It is because they do not know that I have been drawing and writing for so many years. But, what is so intriguing is that since I have been doing these activities, many acting scripts that come to me are about musicians and painters. is an example.
Q: I know that not everybody supported/praised your activities. Now what do you think of such negative views?
GHS: I am sorry that I keep on referring to age, but when I turned 25, I started to think what will be will be. Whether positive or negative, it is a very result-oriented type of work. Those who only dreamed about doing things became stimulated by me. Those who criticized me (for having no professional background) felt that they could do better than I can and actually produced their resulting works. When doing these works, we often run into capital fund problems. There are many people who felt that I could do these things because I have money. However, actually, I started to work on my crafts even before I had money. For my ball pen illustrations, all that I needed were paper and a ball pen. And, if one really looks around, one can find many galleries to exhibit one’s work for free. If I did something that cost money, it was to build a gallery in Surae Village and people can also exhibit their work there for free. If a person truly give at least one hour of his/her time per day, there are so many things that one can do. I have always worked and practiced this far with a belief that I can do it if I really try.
Q: Even so, there had to be something that were easier just because you are a well-known actress?
GHS: there was a time when I did have such arrogant and impudent thoughts. Because I am GHS, I thought it would be easier to get investors. However, there was lot more negative opinions than positive ones. I also heard that people may show interest but they may not buy tickets. I think I received more negativity from those who had been preparing their movies for a long time, even more so than from those who majored in making and directing movies. Sometimes I wished that I were just GHS and not actress GHS. Of course, I think I was treated more kindly than other first-time directors. There was a great gap between the positive and the negative. In a way, I guess that makes the world fair.
Q: What have you gained by doing various types of activites?
GHS: Well, first, I feel like I am living my life well. I feel content that I am working this much everyday and leaving a record of it for me to see and to feel that I am not just playing around at others’ expense. Most importantly, I feel glad about enjoying what I do. It may be important that others acknowledge my work, but I feel there is great value in just enjoying what I do. These days, I feel like everybody is a critic. One can get stressed from criticisms. However, I think it is better to just try to get what I need out of the criticisms and then basically think about how much I really enjoyed the work. Even this room, it is fine for people to just come in, take a look and say, “ah, I hear this is GHS’s room”. It is possible that someone may get an idea for interior decoration after looking at the way the threads are connected. But it is perfectly OK to just take a look.
Q: Besides this (Design Korea), do you have other projects going on? How is the script about vampires going so far?
GHS: I did complete the script but I felt that summer time would be better so I postponed it. Recently I completed a script called which is a family movie centering on people with handicaps. It is a fantasy. I am at the point of casting for the roles.
Q: Why <Peach Tree> as a title?
GHS: I felt that a peach has an Asian image about it. In =, YooBi, GwanWoo and JangBi make a vow of their brotherly love under a peach tree. Actually, it really does not have any special meaning. I was just thinking about a fruit tree and thought it would be better than a persimmon tree. This time, I am going to also participate as the music director. I want to use my own music and edit based on what I want to express. I know. It again looks like I am doing a lot of this and that. However, I am actually trying to cut cost. I prefer to suffer a bit but do my very best unless there is a even better choice. Sometimes I did my own painting on the movie sets in order to cut cost. Whatever the job may be, I know that I will gain something if I do it myself. I would never feel that I would be wasting time.
Q: I get a feeling that you are not afraid of new challenges. You also have a strong sense of curiosity.
GHS: Rather than having a strong sense of challenge, I believe I am too curious. I feel awkward hearing that I have this or that talent. What I do is my job and my life. It just feels unexpected. Our country Korea is even more intense. We think that It is right to work a lot and that is why it should not be judged.(???) What I do is a type of work that requires experience of time. What I do has been known to others for about only 3~4 years. Little by little, I feel that people are getting familiar with it. My responsibility from now on is to further develop myself and to produce even better contents.
Q: What does HyeSun-ssi ultimately want to do?
GHS: Even now, I have never filled out a formal resume about my occupation. I still feel I am just a student. But does one have to have a set occupation? For me, I want to live continually doing what I do now.
It may sound too pale/vague, but money really does not have big meaning in my life. I really do not feel any big difference in my life when I have money vs when I do not. Ahh, wait. I did feel good that I did earn the money so that I could treat the staff to jjajangmyun and tangsooyook when I was making the movies. (laughter). When I decided to give all the profit from movie jobs (not including the acting jobs) to a program helping the needy neighbors, I felt that I and all the spectators who enjoyed the work that I did got together to contribute to a good cause. I just feel sorry that the profit was not as good. I want to do a better job next time.
Cre susAmerica@soompi & http://www.themusical.co.kr/