Writer Lee Him Chan lecturing at ‘Shall We Walk Festival’ / 2014

#  Writer, freelancer, and 

 Right after graduating from Soongsil University major in Literary Creation, I started my job as a ‘story designer’ in a marketing company. I learned and practiced marketing and later on continued working as the team leader. Then in the summer of 2013, I went through an emotional breakdown and mentally collapsed for a while. I started posting emotional writings and drawings in a form of diary in social media to comfort myself.


 In the beginning of the year 2014, I received a publication offer due to the unexpected positive feedbacks from the people. I resigned to concentrate in publishing a book rather than using the energy at some other things. I gave up on money and concentrated on publishing a book, which was my ‘dream’. On August 2014, I debut as a writer and published a drawing essay ‘Square of Emotion’. It was my first work so I was very exhausted but thanks to the 100,000 fans secured in the social media channel, I was able to receive the next book offer and so I started writing right after a short break. On March 2013, I opened a personal café near Boramae station, which I have longed for at the same time as the drawing essay ‘Square of Emotion’ was published. I started arranging my writings about travel that I have wanted to do from the beginning while managing the café and published a photo essay ‘Unfamiliar, today’ on April 2016.


 Since then, I went through various works such as running a workshop, etc. but today I have settled everything and is working as a freelancer in the field of photography/column, series publication/image(toon) production, etc. and continue writing while communicating everyday revolving the 200,000 subscribers in Kakao Story channel ‘Emotional writer, Lee Him Chan’.

 Kakao Story channel ‘Emotional writer, Lee Him Chan’ who is continuously working on series


# That’s how I came to Jeju


 It’s been three months since I came to Jeju. I did not come with a plan – I’ll be staying in Jeju for a long time- so there are quite a number hectic days that just went by. I have liked the place, Jeju, since before but at first it was just a travel destination, and a little bit later just a shelter for resting. It didn’t come to me as a space that could create something new. During my stay in Jeju, I spent on totally new challenging things that I had not and did not try before.


 It started out with ‘Jeju-daum’. It is a program hosted by Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation that provides accommodation, work space and other special opportunities for ten people with different fields/jobs/gender/age to live and interact in Jeju for a month. I was concerned about leaving the usual living space and staying in a new environment for a month is not a short period of time. However, rather than worrying, I applied with having expectations on new environment as the works I did does not really matter with venues.


 I needed a purpose to stay in Jeju when applying for the program. My purpose was to publish a series of works containing contents about Jeju. I thought many people come to Jeju to travel but not many enjoy Jeju in their own way. There are many attractions that Jeju has and an energy that only Jeju can give but because people do not know, or because it is complicated, or does not have enough time to look into, people just follow the path that somebody else have been to. I wanted to inform that you can do this in Jeju, and that Jeju has this kind of energy through writings and drawing photos not just telling this place is beautiful, and this restaurant is delicious. This is the biggest reason why I decided to stay in Jeju.



The first locker I received when I participated the Jeju-daum program - Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation accommodation zone / June

# Met people with energies


 The best thing I liked about Jeju while staying a little bit longer is that I established a relationship with more people than I have met in years. Of course there are many people that just passed by in the past but it was not easy to face each other for a long time in one sitting and to listen to each other’s thoughts and to give advice and comfort. Meeting with various people itself can be a valuable study. I get to learn and accept in the most natural way, not by force, on things that I do not know, that I have overlooked, or that I have not yet thought of. This method is called communication.


 For example, I write, draw and take photos and I am only into literacy and arts that do not know anything about ‘business’. I was not able to raise sales as I was thinking only about being nice to the cafe customers. It did not last long and had to close down the cafe due to the external pressure. One time, I had to pay 1,100,000 won as a penalty for a font that I used in a series I did. I naturally miss on many portions as I only focus on specific fields of work. But while hanging out with people in Jeju, I received a lot of feed backs by just putting out what I have encountered or have thought of. I was able to get answers and comfort I needed regardless of the field whether it was about relationship, emotional or job-related issue. These are the power a community has and even if it was not necessarily about business, the sharing of thoughts were a valuable interaction.


 On June, the first time I participated in Jeju-daum, there were a lot of happy energy people. Since I am used to working along all the time, I thought I would not be able to hang out with people as I’ll be travelling alone naturally and was not confident in hanging out with people. However due to the people opening up and asking and caring first, I was able to open up and socialize in the community and adjust in Jeju. As Kim, Do Yeon, a participant of Jeju-daum on June said, ‘If you have lived together for a month, aren’t we a family?’, we continued to catch up with each other on the following month of July and those who were in need of each other began to work together to create new items. The process was so natural and perhaps it was possible because it was in Jeju. It was thanks to the space that Jeju had which helped to attract each other closer.

 Co-worked contents with the participant Cho Hae In – Calligraphy: Cho Hae In / Drawing: Lee Him Chan


# Connection link, tear down the walls


 While I was talking and hanging out with the people, working on the series I was doing individually and writing about my stay in Jeju in social media as well as travelling around Jeju, a month had passed by so fast than I have thought of. It was a good time to adjust but lacks on making something new. Thus, I applied to for an extension of the program and stayed one more for the month of July and interacted and met with new people. I was able to meet with people who are preparing for startups on June and people on similar field of work as I have on the month of July. There were many opportunities to discuss about cultural arts with the writer Lee Min Jung, calligrapher Cho, Hae In, illustrator Jung Hee Jung, Chimseonjang Park Mi Young, who I met through the Jeju-daum program. In that discussion, an unexpected exchange occurred, which was about practical exchanges on how we can utilize our talents and contents to the society not just working as a writer only.


 The most immediate result through this interaction is that we have tried working in collaboration. Most artist including myself, when writing a series in personal channel, I rarely discuss or reflect other people’s opinion in my work as it extremely has a personal concept and view. I tried to put my thoughts on the works of other artists first or tried to work by putting my drawings with other artist’s drawings, etc. I wanted to practice the methods I learned with the people I met in Jeju. The communications with people found the connection link that I couldn’t see and that I tried not to look at and has tear down the walls in between each other’s world.



Left – Collaborated content with the participant Cho, Hae In / Right - Collaborated content with the participant Jung Hee Jeong


# It was good because it was Jeju.


 On July, I exceptionally took many pictures and videos because people have their own personality in wanting to leave a picture and my desire to record this special time with special people. At the end of the program on July, I produced an eight minute video with the photos and videos I took. In order to input it at the end of my video, I asked the July Jeju-daum participants and few center officials the question ‘What is Jeju-daum to you?’.

Jeju-daum mentioned in this is question refers to the program itself as well as what kind of Jeju-ness each one of them has in themselves. Each precious thought were placed at the end of the video and made the ordinary video into a special one. Below are some of the answers to the question.


Start of a new journey

Illustrator Jung Hee Jeong

 Those who meet must part, the part must come back

Law officer Choi, Chul Min


  Writer Lee Min Jung

 A string of interaction between people connected by living together

 Jeju-daum senior officer

Lim Kyung Hee

 Being myself! 

I was able to face myself when I was alone and when with somebody else

Calligraphy writer Cho Hae In

 A creative gravitational force that wiggles and pulls me so that I can find myself free from a settled self

 Head of J-CCEI
 Jeon Jung Hwan

 No matter what we do, we need to meet with people. No matter what I do, I can never achieve it alone. It is always necessary to have interactions in all processes in future. And there must be always a break to have an initiative and a driving force to work. We need to face this directly and so need to try out new things and fill out the missing parts. And then take rest as much as you have worked. It was good that the place I learned and started these, which we all needed right now was Jeju. Because Jeju has all of these elements.

Partial screenshots of July Jeju-daum participants closing video


# Rest, Challenge, Meet and Grow, Jeju


 I first learned the term ‘digital nomad’ through this program and the fact that I belong to it. Many people who are staying in Jeju including myself are creating new contents of Jeju maintaining the work they had. This means that Jeju is equipped with suitable environment for those who have no restriction on places. In case of artist, if the sceneries of Jeju and meetings with people give inspirations into an artwork, for those who are in business, it is a place where you can come up with new or complemented idea for producing any kind of products and could try it out right away.


 The beauty of Jeju is in composure. For those who are living in an environment where they see high-angled buildings, pushing transportations, and where taking a rest is difficult, the blue sky and wide border of the sea and the beautifully laid out landscapes offers a time to relax. As I face an open road instead of the blocked wall, a new idea and new way is opened. So Jeju is a symbol of rest, a symbol of challenge and a symbol of relationship and growth.



With the family of Uhm, Goon Ja, a Hadori haenyeo, Ddurum brothers, Travel Korea director and producter, illustrator Jung Hee Jeong


 I would like to meet more people in Jeju and want to see more scenery of Jeju. I would want to show people the real beauty that only Jeju has with more writings, drawings and photos. Moreover, I would like to suggest that you take a break from everyday life and draw your life again that is truly yourself, if possible, here in Jeju.


The next article will be followed by ‘J-Space Emotional Interview recorded and interviewed by Lee Him Chan writer who he met at J-Space of Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation.

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