by Che Sehyun
I accidentally got a CHID major—but it was a perfect fit. I have always looked at my life as a learning process. More than aiming for some grandiose goal, larger purpose, or emulation of greatness, I strive to get better at life, in a holistic sense, within all of its various aspects. By studying what I was drawn to, interested in, and found relevance and meaning in—I completed all of the CHID major requirements except their core courses and thesis.
I was honored to work with two CHID faculty, in particular, that really helped me grow in my own philosophy and value system: John Toews and Phillip Thurtle. They were like the unexpectedly awesome hippie nerd uncles I never imagined I needed in my life. And I mean that with a good dose of love and respect!
I was able to create a comic book in black ink and calligraphy for my final for CHID 444: Eye & Mind, which I still have. Thinking about it brings back good memories. I always loved art but got very few chances to express it growing up. I only started pursuing art after college—from break dancing and martial arts to film, music, and photography. Last year, I was honored to receive “The Neddy,” one of Washington State’s largest visual arts awards. Not to give CHID all the credit, but it’s people who value and understand true learning, development, and self-expression that cultivate the best in young people.
The various courses I took with John Toews and my thesis, “The Ethics of Nothingness” (an examination of the themes of nothingness, emptiness, and void in the philosophies of Nietzsche, Christ, Marx, and Buddha), felt like iron sharpening iron: Diving into his courses and broad intellectual basis and framework helped refine my own skills and thinking.
What I valued most about CHID was the freedom to explore with the support of relevant curriculum, open dialogue, and creative leadership.
Despite initial plans of becoming a doctor, and then a professor (who is taking a break before going back to school), I’m now a full-time artist and entrepreneur working in music, photography, and film. I do all sorts of creative activities, some that bring in money and others that don’t. I just try to make sure I have enough to get by with all my necessities and am heading in the right direction. This is also changing now with my second child coming in June and really growing as a family unit with my fiancée.
4/22/18, Earth Day—just had my first solo show featuring my original songs on the uke and piano; original beats and hip-hop songs; ancient stories from my Corean culture, and inspired visuals and stories from my journey going “Back to the Culture” (the name of my first show). I will be playing at the Upstream Festival coming up in June.
I’m currently working on an episodic web series called “Sadhu: The Art of Survival,” which tells the stories of some of the most influential and talented artists from Cambodia and its diaspora. I also am working on the G’ma Project that’s coming out this summer—a multi-media, multi-cultural and multi-generational community engagement event and music video/documentary that honors our elders, our culture and our ancestors.
Feel free to check it out, buy some quality custom merch, and follow the journey!