Mercer Artist: Joori Chung, visual art

Patrick Hobbs / Cluster Staff
Patrick Hobbs / Cluster Staff

Joori Chung is a senior at Mercer University majoring in art with a double minor in communications and photography. She is a full-time international student from Seoul, South Korea. Chung said that she always had a passion for art. Her love of art was inspired by her father, as she used to look through his own art portfolios. “Art has always been a big part of my life and my surroundings. Wherever I turned, it was always there,” said Chung.

In Korea, there are various levels of schooling that specialize in the fine arts. In order to get into these fine art schools, you must take an aptitude test to demonstrate the required skills. “Many people attend tutoring schools for art and practice a lot for these tests,” said Chung. Chung also wanted to attend one of these fine art schools, so she attempted to persuade her father into giving her permission. “I told my father that I wanted to study art, but he did not think that a career in art was financially stable,” said Chung. After much debate with her father, Chung ended up following her father’s decisions and attended regular school.

During her early years of high school, Chung realized that she could no longer follow her father’s orders. “I realized that common studying wasn’t right for me. I just had to do something that dealt with art,” said Chung. She had a talk with her father about her passion for art, and they worked to form a compromise. “My father suggested that I should study art in design instead of the fine arts, since designing has a more stable outlook,” said Chung. After much contemplation of what she could pursue in this area of study, she decided to go into cosmetology in art. “I always had an interest in hair and makeup as well, so I wanted to study beauty in terms of art. In Korea, they actually call this beauty art,” said Chung.

She began to attend an art institution and gradually proved her artistic abilities to her father. She won many awards from national art competitions in makeup as well. Chung’s father eventually acknowledged her dream in art and told her that she could attend the college of her choice. She decided to go to a college for cosmetology. After studying there for two years, she developed the desire to study abroad. “I quit cosmetology, which I loved, and decided that I should study English,” said Chung.

At this time, Chung entered Mercer with a concentration in education. “Since there was no study in beauty at Mercer, I decided to go with education in art. I actually studied education with beauty at my college in Korea,” said Chung. In her first year at Mercer, she happened to take a Drawing Fundamentals course. This was the moment when she reached an epiphany. She realized that her calling was in the fine arts. As a result, she changed her major to art and informed her family about it soon after. She further developed her passion for art with the help of the art professors at Mercer. “The art professors at Mercer have always been a good influence to me. They are very kind and helpful,” said Chung. Chung is looking for a stable career path with her art degree. “I would like to use art to help people, whether it is through art therapy or simply teaching art,” said Chung.