Namdoo Kim


I want to investigate contemporary Korean society and its effect on people, particularly children as they represent the future of the Korean culture and society. Today, humans have entered into a contemporary society that values a marked individuality, but the parent's generation, which controls the society, is still conservative. Parents want to get satisfaction from their children by infusing their values. The children meanwhile are in chaos, confused between a rapidly changing society and the conservative values of their parents.

Toys represent the purity and innocence of childhood and it is through this purity and innocence of toys that people have some of their most profound experiences in life. However, I feel that this purity and innocence that has inspired the freedom for children to learn and play has decayed and been corrupted by the need of big business to make a profit. There is a saying in Korea, "It is easiest to take money away from dripping nose boys". I believe that children today have become a target of big business and are seen as consumers who are easy targets. These businesses are not concerned with the best interest of the children, or even producing toys that are of good quality. Thus we are left with a generation of children whose childhood is literally of poorer quality than that of their parents.

If we use children as an analog for toys, then society can be thought of as a factory that produces inferior toys (children) with only the goal of gaining the highest profits (producing adults that will be good earners). Through my artwork, I want to express that children in Korea today are like mass produced toys. They are meant to be all exactly alike, lacking individuality and quality of character, a whole society of people who are easily replaceable and hold little value as individuals, just like mass produced plastic toys or paper dolls.

I will use a mixture of different media to create this body of work but glass will be the material that I will focus on. I want to use this material because its characteristics of transparency and fragility or brittleness will allow me to best convey aspects of Korean culture like those I have described above. The material will allow me to show things which are not visible but exist such as the pressure of society on children today.

Through the use of the imagery of toys in my work I hope to elicit feelings of irony and shock in the viewer. I want the audience to experience a feeling of joy and innocence and then gradually realize that things are not really as ideal they seem. I will deliver a serious and sobering theme through lightness and innocence like a fairytale with a dark ending.

I will research aspects of pressures and conflicts between parents and children in Korean society today. I will also explore Korean history and investigate reasons for conflict between the previous generation and today's generation. Moreover, I will research great contemporary artists such as Mauricio Catran, Damian Hirst, Jeff Koons, Murakami Takashi and learn how they connect their themes with the audience.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Glass sculpture--Themes, motives; Glass sculpture--Technique; Toys in art; Parent and child--Korea (South)--Pictorial works; Korea (South)--Social life and customs--Pictorial works

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Department, Program, or Center

School for American Crafts (CIAS)


Michael Rogers

Advisor/Committee Member

Robin Cass

Advisor/Committee Member

Jane Shellenbarger


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at NB1270.G4 K46 2013


RIT – Main Campus

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