Future Characters

A poetic picture essay by artist and former fellow Eunjung Hwang on her drawings, animations, and the ghosts, monsters, and memories of her childhood.

I’ve drawn thousands of characters. Doodling is something I’ve done since my childhood, starting at around four years old. My characters come out of an automatic process. The characters transform themselves through their endless reincarnations.

Ghosts and supernatural things have always fascinated me. I like to explore the unexorcised images from my childhood and dreams.

My earliest memory was lying in the dark as a baby. I saw a thin white snake slowly coming out from the spout of a kettle. It went into the air and came back and repeated the movement for a while. The eternal piston movement went on and on with intermittent sounds of water dripping.

One night, I went out to an empty street in my pajamas. An old friend with braided hair was about to flee by night with her family in a pickup truck. Without saying a word, she dropped some colorful M&M’s that looked like beads into my palm. Silence went on for an indefinite period of time, with both of our faces looking upward at the dark windy sky.

I’m not sure if she died in a car accident before or after that. Or was she really my friend? That was when I was five.

One Christmas Eve, I witnessed from my room a bunch of dwarfs circling around the tree in the living room. Our old wooden floor was too cold; I could tell they were almost jumping because of this.

There are also dreams. In one dream, I’m sitting on a slate roof, looking down on dead bodies on a field. »Corpse gatherer is a promising job in the future,« I wrote. There is a peace and solemness in dealing with death.

In another dream, four hunters in a hut started talking about their past. Suddenly, their legs were becoming dull and started to become erased from the bottom, and they looked at this helplessly. They realized their non-existence, and I witnessed it.

All these memories will be gone when I am gone. What is comforting is that my soul will move around. I like thinking about these revisits and this is why I like traveling. Because souls can go across the ocean, I will try to go to my childhood home and the rooftop first of all. Sadly it was demolished and changed into a high rise building like many other houses in Korea. Now, I’ll go to other places.

I’m sure I will drop-in from time to time at Solitude. Since I will become free-formed (like Barbapapa), I’ll be able to snuggle around the dome of the Solitude castle and look down at all the things in the wind and darkness.

There’s a big tree in front that I believe many ghosts already live in. I will spend a brief time there. I’ll go down, further into the forest and fly over the ABC trees and the lock trees.

The time I spent in Solitude remains like a childhood memory somehow. Big stages of dramatic shadows when the 92 bus comes and 92 bus goes; complex walks to Gerlingen to get fresh butter pretzels; schnitzel paradise. Day and night in the forest, kind souls and funny hearts passing through with me. I hope I meet them again.