An Art Student Who Lives Twice - Chapter 31
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“Are you really going to give me money?” Yeon-woo, who heard the explanation, muttered in a surprised voice.
As she looked at me with an expression of disbelief, I smiled and said, “I can give it to you, why?”
“Why would I get paid for exhibiting my work?”
She asked once again as if she couldn’t believe it, despite my answer.
I spoke in a firm voice, “Because that’s our franchise.”
“I’ll have to make more specific plans, but I’m not just going to display the works—I’m going to replace them periodically. If there are buyers, we will sell them.”
In fact, after meeting Yeon-woo, I’ve made up my mind- ‘I have to keep discovering people like her.’
There are many people who are talented but can never be successful because they aren’t given an opportunity to do so.
I think I can save them. ‘We can write down the creator and the name of the work, and if necessary, we can also provide services so that it leads to purchases.’
They pay a down payment, and when the work is sold, they receive a minimum commission. Artists can pay for the rental fee cheaply, and the franchise can significantly lower interior costs.
It’s a win-win for all sides.
Of course, this was something that we had to discuss with Chairman Oh Kyung-jin first.
‘If everything goes as planned, individual artists who want to exhibit their works will come to us on their own, and we will be able to enjoy the promotional effects from our seats.’
It truly is a virtuous cycle.
It fits perfectly with the idea of combining exhibition spaces and rest areas.
What if we could make our franchise itself into a platform in the long run?
‘If this franchise spreads nationwide, won’t more and more people be able to make the art they want to do?’
Endless scenarios came to mind.
However, nothing is certain yet.
Swallowing back countless thoughts, I continued.
“But I can’t give you too much. It’s still in the planning stage, so we’ll only be able to give you a definite answer after discussing it with the owner.”
“Okay? It doesn’t matter,” Yeon-woo said in a happy voice. “So long as my money isn’t being spent.”
She seems happy just because she’s not paying for the exhibition.
‘It makes a poor artist laugh.’
I smiled and said, “Considering the size of the store, I’ll need 10 of your works. Do you have time to make them?”
“I’ll make it even if I don’t have any.”
She spoke with confidence.
That was the moment.
“Wait a minute,” Hanseol intervened and said. “Use my work as well.”
I could see a slight resentment on her face as she said so. A face that stemmed to ask ‘why didn’t you ask me while you were promoting this?’
I tilted my head and asked her, “Then originally you weren’t going to exhibit your works?”
“Oh….” Hanseol mumbled with a slightly surprised look.
“You’re very quick.”
“This is the situation after all.”
“Good. Very good.” She giggled.
I liked it too.
If this is the case, then this should be enough for the exhibits.
‘The main will be Yeon-woo’s textile art, and Hanseol’s sculptures will be placed here and there.’
Yeon-woo is in charge of specialness and Hanseol is in charge of plainness.
Lastly, I thought I’d hang just one of my works here as well.
‘…What would be good?’
If possible, I wanted to add things that would go well with the cafe. Something that is also very practical and can be used for a long time.
It’s a work I design, so shouldn’t I be able to enjoy this right?
I thought about it like that for a while.
Soon, one particular thing came to mind.
‘After all, all franchise cafes should have that.’
I got up from my seat, stretched out, and said, “Jihoon-hyung.”
“Would you like to go somewhere with me tomorrow?”
A wooden complex in Incheon.
As I was driving the car, Jihoon muttered with a sentimental look.
“I didn’t know I’d come here again.”
The last time we visited was at the beginning of the semester, so two or three months have already passed.
I smiled and said, “You got a business card from the director last time. Didn’t you say you were going to visit back then?”
“No, I did mean it, but it’s a little far to drive here from school.”
This person is rather sincere. As expected, Joo Ji-hoon is the best.
“By the way, who did you borrow this truck from?”
“This? A colleague from the same class.”
A friend who lends you a truck.
‘I have a lot of friends.’
Anyway, as I was driving the car, a familiar sight slowly passed by.
As the sign that read [Seongjun Wood] welcomed us from afar, a hairy man immediately caught our eyes.
It was Director Yoo Seong-jun.
When I stopped the car and rolled down the window, he approached me and said, “You came again.”
“I came to see the director.”
I didn’t get out of the car this time. Instead, Yoo Seong-jun got into our car with his arms crossed and said, “Students are weird.”
“It’s my first time seeing such an order while working here. Why did you think such a thing would exist? Normally, they don’t.”
“That’s why I contacted the director, isn’t it?”
He furrowed one eyebrow as if he didn’t know what I was saying, and I said, “It’s nowhere else if the director can’t get it.”
Director Sung-jun coughed.
“You’re good at flattery.”
“So is there anything I asked for?”
“That…” He scratched his cheek and said. “There is. It’s kind of bad to leave the place empty, so let’s hurry up and go.”
We picked up Director Seong-jun and immediately headed to a warehouse, somewhere out of the wide and spacious Iuncheon timber complex.
Director Sung-jun got out of the car, took the key out of his pocket and opened the warehouse door.
When the door opened, the smell of wood mixed with dust came out.
“Wow….” Ji-hoon exclaimed in admiration.
Inside the warehouse, there was an enormous amount of wood piled up.
“All the things that are difficult to dispose of in this area end up here. So, usually no one is here looking for things.”
“Here it is.”
Director Seong-jun turned on the lights in the warehouse, went inside, and rummaged around as if he were hunting for treasures.
A few minutes like that passed.
Soon, he shouted in a loud voice,
“I found it!”
Then I went to his side and saw the thing that I had been hoping for.
Director Sung-jun, stroking the object with his hand, said, “The New Zealand Radiata Pine Tree. This is it, right?”
“Yes. That’s exactly what I was looking for.”
It was an ignorantly large block of wood.
New Zealand pine, also known as the Monterey pine.
It was so big to the point where I wondered how to use it as it is.
‘It’s a product that’s sold everywhere in Korea because of its good versatility and cost-effectiveness.’
However, what I needed was something special among the Monterey pines.
Rough, solid wood that’s been barely processed.
Usually, when Monterey pines came to Korea, it was hard to find because it was almost always semi-processed. Even if it came in normally, it was processed immediately.
Still, if necessary, you can order it from overseas, but it takes quite a long time to get it here from the production area.
‘At least a month at the earliest. It’ll be after the deadline by then.’
I was going to give up if I couldn’t get it. But I didn’t know it was left in the corner of a warehouse like this.
“There are a lot of good things out there. I don’t know why you would need something like this.” Director Yoo Seong-jun grumbled.
“I’m going to trim this whole thing and turn it into a table.”
“Yes,” I nodded and said. “Can you cut this into a suitable size?”
“Usually, the cutting is done at the woodworking shop.”
“It doesn’t have to be trimmed beautifully, it just needs to be roughly the same size.”
“Well, I’ll know based on the estimate.”
“Wait. You can cut it like this….”
I showed him the blueprint that I had prepared in advance.
It was literally in the form of cutting a piece of wood.
A table that is more suitably described as cut rather than made.
It was a wood-slab table.
“Do you usually use a desk like this?” Director Yoo Seong-jun muttered in a surprised voice.
It was definitely a product that was hard to find in the market at this time.
‘Only a few writers and woodworking people make and use it.’
In the future, it will become famous under the name of “Starbucks Table,” and it was a rare item that could be seen anywhere in the large franchise cafe.
‘As it became popular here and there, its imports doubled every year, and eventually became an essential element of large cafes.’
The problem is that this right now is the past.
Instead of the fact that imports doubled every year, it was more like less than half the previous year. Moreover, it was safe to say that distribution itself was not available at all at this time.
“Isn’t it pretty?”
In my words, Yoo Seong-jun wore an absurd expression.
“…Even at this age, I still can’t understand the thoughts of artists.”
“Director,” Joo Ji-hoon approached him and said. “Neither do I.”
It took a long time to bring the wood to the studio and trim into the shape of a table.
Since there was nothing to use as a reference, I had to rely on my memory and senses, but it felt more like a sculpture than furniture production. Nevertheless, after a long labor period, the results were finally completed.
“I was wondering what you were trying to make….” Ji-Hoon muttered in a surprised voice. “It looks plausible now that I see it completed.”
“Cool.” I smiled.
Its area was as much as three or four desks combined, and the edges were roughly processed like landscape paintings from the Joseon Dynasty. In addition, the upper part was carved with cuts here and there.
“Can we really use it like this?”
Hanseol asked curiously.
“…I feel like I was just making it.”
“Really?” I smiled and said. “That means I made it properly.”
“The true beauty of this table is that it seems to have been just made even after a long time.”
It feels as if it was freshly collected from nature.
This was the alpha and omega of the wood slab table, light and salty.
Himalayan pink salt.
‘Let’s use this table as a shared table.’
This was my plan.
Putting it in the center of the cafe for shared use.
I didn’t choose to make a wood slab table simply because of its size.
The wood slab table had one characteristic.
‘General tables tend to lose value over time.’
This wood slab table, however, was the opposite.
‘As time goes by, its value increases.’
The natural scars and lingering scent of time sublimated the wood slab table into a luxury item.
This was my purpose.
No matter how upward the interior of other cafes are leveled, they cannot keep up with the time gap.
This table will tell you the identity of our cafe.
To prove this, I embossed the date this table was made as well as my name in the corner.
[2002.7.05 / JH Design]
JH are the initials of my name, Jae-ha.
As I slowly brushed the top with my hand, the soft and unique feel of the wood came to mind.
‘With this one thing, our cafe gains an eternal advantage in the interior of other cafes.’
Cafés are emotional businesses, and there was nothing more impactful than time in emotions.
In addition, the wood slab table has the small advantage of having a natural air freshener effect.
As I turned my head, this time, the interior models made by Ji-Hoon and Hanseol caught my attention.
‘That side is perfect too.’
Unlike general models, the quality was tremendously high.
If you take a picture from a distance, you will be deceived into thinking that it’s a real store.
It’s only a little small in size, but it was much better than the one during Jeondi.
‘As expected, it’s different when you put a lot of money into it.’
Perhaps this is the sense of responsibility that Chairman Oh Kyung-Jin meant.
Not to mention the sculptures made by Hanseol and Yeon-Woo.
All the preparations are done.
‘Now, only the main character needs to appear.’
I waited for a while.
Soon, I received a phone call.
“Yes, you can come right now.”
Chairman Oh Kyung-jin visited the studio.
This translation is presented by Nocturne Translations.
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