Korean Folk Art and Laughing Tigers

Living in Seoul, South Korea, during the early 70s, Jean was introduced to Korean folk art. This style of naïve artwork was very graphic in design. Compositions could be simple or intricately decorated with bright colours and patterns, often portraying humour and satire. Korean folk art was based on Shamanism, a religion that believes that…

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Crane and Wizard Story Design

This is the design story of one of Jean’s paintings for our “The Wizards and the Whale” children’s book. Jean has always been inspired by the Asian designed cranes, especially those found in Japanese woodblock prints and paintings, in Korean folk art, and the cranes in many Chinese screens. Here is a decorative Japanese crane…

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Rabbit On The Moon

Rabbit on the Moon pendant designed by Jean Tori

There is a folktale in South Korea that a rabbit lives on the moon. Legend has it that the rabbit pounds the ingredients for rice cakes with a mortar and pestle. It’s a special story and Jean loves rabbits! But this pendant story goes back even further. While we were living in Seoul in the…

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Cranes and Ex Libris Designs

I paint cranes often. Right now I have a few on a beach with surfboards in the background – more on the children’s book when I finish the painting! Cranes are an important symbol in  Korean Folk Art, as they are part of the ten symbols of long life. Here below is a painting from…

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Dressed Up Rat

After living in Asia for so long, when I paint clothes on my animals they are usually wearing Chinese, Japanese or Korean robes, kimonos, dresses and jackets. I found a great catalogue about Korean national costumes – hanbok– and it helps give an idea where I was coming from when I painted this rat. I don’t…

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Korean Folk Art – The Tiger

While living in Seoul in the 70s, I was greatly influenced by Korean Folk Art. It was a traditional style of painting that included brilliant colours and simple subjects portrayed with humour and satire. The paintings illustrated folk legends, mythology and Shamanist spiritual symbols. The Tiger was considered a divine being and messenger of the…

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