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Prolonged Adolescence and sustained imagination

Ojamajo Doremi, 1999

Motivation: The sustained affection of Magical girl anime and Japanese culture

My painting practice could include the idea of Kidult. It is an emerging term that describes an adult who participates in childlike activities or youth culture such as collecting anime figures, doing costume play. The magical girl genre was not intriguing to me until I began MA. However, when I stopped make-up and dress-up for the feminism movement a few years ago, the colours I used to put on my face- pink, coral, red- have been gradually and slowly appealing to me. I have enjoyed making those colours on canvas Since I started MA. I guess this inner desire to make up my appearance has moved to feel fascinated by prettiness and girliness. I assume that is the reason for feeling happy and exciting when I see the 90's magical girls. Because they look so adorable but also strong and cool. Or my hidden attachment of Japanese culture might have been disclosed by the movement.

The cultural background of romanticisation the Japanese culture

Since the Korean government opened Japanese culture from late '90s, a large number of Korean teenagers grew up watching Japanese animations, and the children naturally became familiar with Japanese culture. I was one of them. For those in their twenties and thirties, the animations they watched as a child has become a fantasy that lingers in their mind. I sometimes watch Japanese anime and J-dramas, which is my hobby that I have continued since I was a secondary school student. I can actually meet the imagined world which is romanticised, so I went to Japan several times. However, I don't want to go back to my childhood, nor do I miss my childhood. I simply like the fancy feel of the female characters' clothing, accessories, and weapons. In fact, I was more interested in Shōnen(boy) manga- alchemy, powerful magician, agile Ninja, or something that I saw in anime and RPG games. In other words, I am interested in decorative elements-sparkly and simply pretty things- this is not because I miss my childhood. Regardless of the fact that I draw similar things to my drawing which was made 10 to 15 years ago, it's interesting that I am just obssessed with the visual elements of the girl characters. Therefore, I feel like I am not that 'mature', still thinking that I am not a quite adult.

What does Prolonged Adolescence mean to me?

Generally speaking, adolescence is a time when secondary sex characteristic appears and enters a period of rebellion, which is understood regarding mental and physical aspects. For me, the concept of prolonged adolescence is similar to emerging adulthood. So, I see this period can be explained by 'semi-dependency' and 'Instability' that we have less independency than normal adulthood and more freedom than puberty. So basically it is an in-between time that we can achieve and organise our pathway. It is a meaningful time to enrich life experiences and to get more stimulation and challenges as well. Also, I consider people in this stage can discover who they are more deeply and widely. This is a time when I try whatever and would be less restricted because of semi-dependency. Since its bridging character between adulthood and teenagehood, it can be characterized by multiple transformations. People who experience this stage can produce various imaginations as well.

I believe the innocence, genuineness, possibility, and rising energy of inside as the one who goes through Prolonged adolescence.

Connection to Baroque style

Fluid form, which was constantly found in my painting practice, was also seen in the Baroque style. The similar figures also appeared in the wands used by the main character in <Nurse Angel Ririka>. In terms of releasing energy and showing dynamic, referring to Baroque style decor and architecture would be great. I assume the author of Japanese manga <Wedding Peach> was motivated by antique armour style when designing warrior armour at a certain degree. The glitzy spirals with finishing in gold leaf, the importance of the decoration, the vigorous plant forms make this console a furnishing component of charm and personality. Ecstasy of saint Teresa is also a good reference. The sophisticated description of clothing is great evidence of baroque art, which shows tension, richness, and exuberance.


In this post, I have shortly seen the concept, character of prolonged adolescence, why it is appealing to me. Also the cultural background of romanticising the Japanese culture and how it is linked to the Baroque style. I see prolonged adolescence is a great time to explore self-identity by challenging, shifting, being stimulated, being excited about the opportunities. Because I guess I am going through it right now and I am. Also in terms of the in-between time period, childlike innocence and sustained affection are kind of related to emerging adulthood. Since my romanticised cultural world has been built while developing my identity. Also, these things have been lingering in my mind and it still influences me in many aspects of my life as well as when making artwork. In next post I will look into related artist and will judge.


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