Common but Tough Actions of an Artist

“I explore the value of light-but-strong, thin-but-tough material - vinyl.”
- Youngkyung Bang

What can art do for our planet? It is indeed difficult for art to solely solve the planet's problem. Yet small questions and continuous steps found by artistic eyes can help us get closer to the planet.

Youngkyung Bang's work starts from a daily act and a material - recycling and plastic bags. Let's take a look at Youngkyung's artistic steps casting a fundamental question of environmental sustainability through commonly used and easily thrown away material - vinyl.

BulyBuly project team, Pixel art: citizens participation program, 2018

Photo/ ⓒBokyung Jung

Q. Please introduce yourself.

Hello, I'm Youngkyung Bang and I collect vinyl for environmental and arts works. When I take a walk along the street, sometimes I come across vinyl. I collect them.

Vinyl-s-run project team, Project participant’s Vinyl collection archiving, 2021

Photo/ ⓒVinyl-s run project team

Q. What is your reason for choosing vinyl as your main material?

Vinyl is light-but-strong and thin-but-tough material. It is common and convenient but is also overused. I explore vinyl as an art material in search of new value and meaning.

Q. What are your recent projects?

I was shocked to see piles of garbage illegally dumped in front of my house and became interested in waste problems as working on BulyBuly project. In particular, the colorful plastic bottle caps seemed appropriate for educational purposes. I collected them and created pixel art in nearby elementary schools and Sanbon 1-dong festival.

Youngkyung Bang, Vinyl fabric, 2020

Stillcut/ ⓒYoungkyoung Bang

Q. What kind of works do you make with vinyl?

I wanted to make something with plastic bags when I came across a video of making a bag by ironing vinyl, from Precious Plastic. I started experimenting: I designed vinyl fabric with the vinyl of different thicknesses and colors, which was fun. Cutting the way the scissors go gave me a sense of freedom, and the coincidental shapes they made were extraordinary. Different hues created by the overlapping of thin vinyl felt like watercolor. The overall effects were impressive, like artworks, which let me continue it.

I had a workshop on upcycling by making personal items such as purses with used vinyl. Each participant’s unique results were inspiring. In the hope to ponder upon our consumption and vinyl usage through daily conscious collection and recording, I launched the Vinyl-s-run project with Seon Uhm and Hyunjin Shin.

Bomb Dismantling Team’s Feedback after the 1st bomb dismantling trial

Photo/ ⓒYoungkyoung Bang

Q. The Bomb Dismantling Team was impressive. What was it about?

A garbageman's story of likening a black plastic bag to a bomb inspired the village people and me. The village people and I decided to become bomb dismantling agents. We collected and dismantled bombs that were thrown away in illegal sites. Three of the identified 'bombs' were returned to the owners. We hoped this would introduce information about the proper way to throw garbage and that the illegal garbage dumping would decrease.

Q. What are the projects that you wish to do?

I'd like to continue making various patterns with used vinyl. This year, in particular, I'd like to focus on producing products and making picture books using vinyl fabrics. In addition, I want to check if the high-density polyethylene I use emits harmful substances when ironed. The recycle bin of the BulyBuly project had some problems due to the absence of the supervisor, which I also hope to solve, encouraging recycling again.

Youngkyung Bang

She continues her community jobs and creative works, thinking about daily steps to solve waste problems such as the BulyBuly project, which she started to solve the waste problems in front of the house.


Instagram: @vinylbebag

According to above KOGL, user can use public works freely and without fee when user complies with the terms provided as follows. However, it is prohibited to use public works for commercial purpose, or to create secondary works by changing or modifying it.