The Wall Street Journal interviews Kim Chang-Il, South Korea’s retail magnate turned art collector and painter. Kim made a fortune at a young age, to hear him tell it, he was saved by art:
Mr. Kim coped badly at first with the sudden wealth and he says he spent a reckless amount at bars. But in 1977, when he was 26 years old, he had an epiphany as he walked around Insadong, a culture and art district in downtown Seoul near his old high school.
“The art made me feel safe. Like it would save me from my recklessness.” He was taken, he says, with what he likes to call a “dream virus” that pushed him into the realm of art, and he started to collect with a passion.
Today, Mr. Kim displays many of the works he’s accumulated in Cheonan, an hour’s drive from Seoul. There, outside his Arario Gallery, sculptures by great contemporary artists such as Keith Haring, Damien Hirst and Armand Fernandez are free for the public to enjoy anytime. He also owns galleries in Seoul, Beijing and New York.
The Collector: Kim Chang-Il (Wall Street Journal)