Writing Art with a Brush
A calligraphy-loving Glovis member

For people who work in offices, hobbies can be a welcome respite from the daily grind. Manager Kim Jung-hyun, Vehicle Logistics Business 1 team, fills his life with energy by practicing calligraphy. His regular hobby has a positive impact on his work life. We follow his hobby, which he plans to continue until the end of his life, when his hair will be gray.

An office worker who goes to a calligraphy studio every weekend

Kim Jung-hyun manager joined Hyundai Glovis in January 2019. It’s been five years since he was in charge of quickly and safely transporting vehicles produced by Hyundai Motor’s domestic factories and ready to release to customers in Korea. On weekdays, he is busy fulfilling his duties, but on weekends, he transforms into a completely different person.

He resists the temptation to sleep in and heads to the calligraphy class on Saturday mornings. Kim jung hyun manager’s love affair with calligraphy dates back to 2011, when he was a freshman in university. A Chinese language and literature major interested in Chinese characters, he joined the calligraphy club on campus at the urging of his collegue and naturally took up the hobby.
“During my first year in the club, I remember spending almost a week in the club room preparing for an exhibition that overlapped with my exam period, sleeping in the club room, studying for exams, and living with the seniors. It was a busy and demanding time, but I am grateful that I was able to complete my first exhibition safely, thanks to the delicious dinners that the alumni visited and bought for us every day.”

Manager Kim Jung-hyun explaining his work at the exhibition

My life partner, calligraphy

Manager Kim Jung-hyun started attending calligraphy class in February this year after not being able to pick up a brush for a while after graduating university. After starting his career, he tried many hobbies, but none of them lasted more than three months. He’s been practicing calligraphy for nine months now, so it seems he’s right when he says, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. For four hours on Saturdays, Kim takes a break from his daily routine and works with the calligraphy in front of him. He also feels rewarded when his handwriting is better than his teacher’s.

“If it weren’t for my hobbies, I don’t know if I would have been able to keep my mind off work after work and on weekends, but the weekends are a great way to clear my mind so that I can fill it up again on weekdays, so I guess you could say that my hobbies are my constant companion in my corporate life.”

Manager Kim Jung-hyun has goals that he hopes to achieve through calligraphy. In five years, he hopes to win the competition with the square style of Chinese handwriting, and in ten years, he hopes to work full-time on Wang Hee-ji’s The Thousand Character Text. Ultimately, he hopes to spend the rest of his life immersed in his hobby with the capital he accumulated in his youth. Looking as good as the seniors he is currently studying with at the class.

Having a meal with the students in the calligraphy class on Malbok.

There has been less interest in calligraphy than in the past. What is the appeal of calligraphy?

Perhaps the most appealing feature is that it can be used as a meditation tool: focusing on the shapes and reflecting on the meaning of the phrase can help you forget your daily worries for a moment.

You mentioned that you’re learning calligraphy every week, can you explain what the process is like?

It depends on the school and the teacher, but Cheongam Calligraphy Class in Insadong offers regular, Saturday, and 1:1 private courses. I’m enrolled in a Saturday class, and I study for four hours every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. by looking at the teacher’s notes and copying them.

Calligraphy class where manager Kim Jung-hyun goes every weekend

How good are your calligraphy skills?

In college I mainly studied the pre-Qin script called Shaoxian, and since the beginning of this year I’ve been studying the Tang Dynasty script called Yan Zhenqing, which is one of the most common Chinese characters we see. It takes an average of three to four years to master it, and I haven’t even finished one year yet, so I’m just getting started.

Kim Jung-hyun manager featured “Calligraphy by Seokgomun”
in the Fall 2011 exhibition.

Is there anything you do to get good at calligraphy?

As with any art form, I think it’s important to create an environment that makes it easy to practice in your daily life. I always keep a stationery brush on my bedside table so that I can pick it up whenever I have a moment.

Part of hae-seo calligraphy by Yan Zhenqing of Dabotap monument, written by manager Kim Jung Hyun

If there is a calligrapher you admire, who is it and why?

I don’t think it’s possible to practice calligraphy in Korea if you don’t admire the great calligrapher Chusa Kim Jeong-hee, and especially the philosophy behind his two masterpieces, Daepaengohoe and Sehando, which he wrote in exile and which are an example for the whole world.

Do you ever use your writing in your daily life?

When I was in school and I was looking for an envelope for a holiday, and all I could find was a white envelope, I used to write the words by hand when I wrote the ji-bang (paper spirit board) for the offering. If someone wanted my calligraphy, I would give them a gift, but I’ve never been asked. As my handwriting matures and my peers get older, I’m sure there will be occasions when my friends will want it.

Who should you recommend calligraphy to?

Basically, if you’re interested in the Eastern classics and are confident that you can stick with it for a long time, this is for you. Regardless of your current age, I believe you can be considered a master calligrapher by the end of your life. Calligraphy is also in the realm of art and requires some aesthetic sense, but compared to music or painting, I would say that “consistency” is the most important part of it.

“Interest in classics and traditional culture seems to be fading with each passing day, and I hope that this interview for the Glovis+ will inspire at least some of my fellow Hyundai Glovis colleagues to become curious about the hobby of calligraphy, and to revive interest in traditional culture for a while.”

Manager Kim Jung-hyun

By the Editorial Department