All we know about Myeongminho is that he lives in South Korea, and that his illustrations capture the moments we’d love to freeze in time.
Have you ever felt the urge to record what’s important to you because deep down you know that your memory will fail you eventually? That intuition is correct on many levels: even if memories last for a long time, they will slowly become a fiction. That’s because our brain’s cruelest joke is that the more we remember an event, the more a memory gets distorted and modified. Every time we remember something, we’re reproducing the event as we remembered it the last time, not as it actually happened. Ironically, the memories that we love the most, the ones we love to replay hundreds of times, are precisely the ones that get lost faster.
The solution to this sad problem is not to ruin the moment by constantly taking pictures and recording everything. Instead we cfan accept that nothing lasts forever, and to think of art as a consolation. The illustrations of Myeongminho can help us. All we know about him is that he lives in South Korea, and that his images capture precisely those moments we’d love to keep frozen in time.
Myeongminho illustrates the first moments, days, and weeks of a relationship, the ones we idealize the most. He depicts the moment we meet that person, when we decide to ask them out, and the sweet embarrassment of the first dates. Every clumsy step we take is painfully awkward while it’s happening, but if everything goes well, we’ll end up cherishing those memories and appreciating even their cringe-worthy side.
The South Korean illustrator reminds us that when the first kiss finally happens, we usually think about it for days. We do it because we can’t believe it happened in such a perfect way, or because we’re anxious and we’re trying to figure out how to do it better the next time. We analyze every detail because we’re still intrigued, still fascinated by that person. And getting to know them feels like the most exciting thing we’ve ever done. That’s why it’s so easy to spend so many hours talking with them on the phone in the middle of the night.
Those long conversations start happening in person as we spend more and more time with them. They go from deep to cheesy, from philosophical to superficial. Talking about our past, our family, our childhood, and all the strange thoughts we don’t share with anyone else. Only through those conversations we finally begin to open up to each other, until silence becomes comfortable and we don’t need to talk anymore.
Myeongminho does an incredible job at illustrating important stages in romantic relationships. In these images we see the first moments of everyday life together, the awkward but beautiful ways we start to get used to living together. The first fights about dishes or laundry, and the coldness and distance we discover in our partner as we get to know their darker side. These moments aren’t idealized. They’re supposed to be scary and we’re supposed to avoid them. But this stage is more fascinating than the ideal beginning. Here, we learn how our partner gets mad, how their behavior changes when they’re angry, and how they deal with frustration. It's at this point where we find out if their emotions are compatible with ours, and if we have the resources to transcend them.
Can we see ourselves in drawings that don’t necessarily look like us? Can we find what unites all of us? Even if we’ve had terrible romantic experiences and we don’t relate to happy moments, we all know what it’s like to feel isolated, to be away from a person we love. Some feelings are universal: missing someone, regretting something, and reevaluating what we’ve done in the past. In these illustrations we can see and understand situations that we haven’t necessarily been through, like a second change to do things right.
With time, we learn how to work together, literally and metaphorically, how to be creative in the way we love one another. Each person has a particular way of loving and receiving love, and our love will last if we’re willing to be flexible. Time will pass, and the sparks will settle down. We’ll grow familiar. We’ll be able to predict our partner’s behavior and reactions, and we’ll peacefully grow together.
Almost like a single organism, we won’t care about the shortcomings of our memory. We’ll remember the past, and we’ll talk about our first days together just like we once talked about our childhood. We’ll look at photographs (drawings, paintings, illustrations) of us, of our first embarrassing date, our first kiss, our first fight, and we’ll remember them vaguely, with just one certainty: it was worth it.
If you want to see more of his works, take a look at the artist's official Instagram page.
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