By Lee Kyoung Mi and Yoon Sojung
Photos = Kim Sunjoo
Video = Kim Sunjoo and Lee Jun Young
A man places sugar and baking soda and melts both in a ladle over a stove. He waits a few seconds until the mixture boils, and after it gets brown and inflated, he places it on a big tray as his hands get busier.
He draws a sketch for a moment in the air, then touches the mixture to make a tiger shape out of dalgona (honeycomb candy). He starts another sketch that turns out to be Olaf, the snowman in the Disney animated blockbuster “Frozen,” dancing on the plate.
Calling himself a “dalgonist,” Yoon Cheol has created numerous works with the candy. He gave an interview on Jan. 19 at Korea.net’s open studio in Seoul’s Jongno-gu District.
He also coined the term “dalgonist,” referring to a person who creates art with dalgona.
This candy has enjoyed huge popularity after appearing in last year’s Netflix smash series “Squid Game.” The object of the dalgona game in the drama was to perfectly cut the shape out such as a triangle, square or heart from the treat.
Yoon’s dalgona, however, is unique in that it needs no mold. Able to create items like a personal portrait to a thatched-roof house, hamburger and Christmas tree, this artist can produce endless works with the candy.
Every Saturday, Yoon goes to Korean Folk Village in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do Province, to meet tourists and talk to a variety of people to get inspiration. One work he made was shaped like a luxury handbag that he gave to a middle-aged lady on her birthday, and another was tulip-shaped work for a Dutch tourist.
“I hope that COVID-19 ends quickly so that more foreign visitors can come to Korea,” Yoon said. “I don’t speak a foreign language and the people I’m around don’t speak Korean, but creating a dalgona artwork together is itself a form of communication.”
Korea.net asked the artist to design a dalgona version of Kocnoni. After more than 10 minutes, he completed his mission by presenting a cute miniature using the traditional candy.
On his plans, Yoon said he hopes to make with dalgona a diorama, or a small replica of a situation or background of a historic event, natural landscape or urban scenery.