It’s amazing how over the years my perspective of Tucson has drastically changed. What I thought was once a college town that thrived off of all things “U of A,” my horizons have expanded to see and appreciate all of the culture and creativity within that small town.
There is nothing more inspiring to me than people doing something wildly cool and unique. And in this case, it’s two individuals that need to be uncovered within the Tucson community. Couture in the Suburb’s founder, Lindsay Viker told me some time ago that she had an awesome story opportunity for me—a story that would be well-worth telling that had my name all over it, and she was right. In late April, we arrived in Tucson to spend the day adventuring around town and ended up at this beautiful gem of a home on the far side of town.
We were initially greeted by a petite Korean woman named Yun and she excitingly ushered us into her humble abode. We entered a beautifully colored courtyard that was adorned with a variety of native cacti, a simple yet, therapeutic water fixture and an open door to an in-home gallery. Immediately, Yun introduced us to her husband, Scott, a man that had a mustache that even Salvador Dali would appreciate (it couldn’t have been more appropriate, really) and the both of them welcomed us into their gallery. Initially, it’s a lot to take in with the jewelry cases, pottery on the walls and abstract paintings but Scott and Yun broke it down for us into digestible pieces so we could appreciate and comprehend every aspect of the gallery.
Scott and Yun (especially talkative Yun) were enthused to have us there and show us their most prized possessions and graciously served us green tea, rice cookies and other treats to stimulate the senses. When guests come to visit, they find it to be very important that the guest experiences the gallery immersively and holistically, with taste, sight, sound, smell and touch. Once we got to know each other a bit better, I was excited to jump into the tour, as I knew this was going to be a phenomenal journey that I was fortunate to take. First off, the merchandising was incredible. Yun hand-selects all the jewelry that she sells and is a curator for her gallery. Her eye for visual merchandising is on point and she makes the jewelry much more beautiful than it naturally is. With use of dried out cactus, crystal clear cases and interestingly enough, fake doughnuts, Yun decorates with the jewelry she is selling rather than the other way around.
In regards to the many paintings on the walls and small geometric figurines, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that Yun and Scott’s kids were responsible for creating the artwork. Having raised the kids with much artistic exposure and personal encouragement to “create,” their children have every type of artistically talented bone in their bodies and one of the sons in particular, designed some of the most abstract fantasy-driven art I have ever seen. With unusual body parts, eyeballs, intricate geometric details and bursting colors, you couldn’t help but stare and try to figure out exactly what you were looking at—it wasn’t even worth trying but it was wonderful all the same.
Once we received the full tour of the gallery—from the pottery to the jewelry (primarily sourced from different parts of the world like Germany and Korea) we were guided into the music room—a room full of every type of wazoo there ever was (Scott is a bass player) and a library/ jewelry studio. Along with being an interior designer, painter, curator and feng-sui specialist, Yun designs jewelry as well so it was neat to see her creative work studio. Every aspect of the gallery had some sort of artistic component to it—even the bathroom resembled my ideal design for my home with concrete on all four sides, a beautiful chandelier, industrial-chic fixtures and appliances and of course, more crazy cool art. I was pleased to find out that Scott is quite the interior designer/ metalworker and was responsible for designing the bathroom—what do these people not do?
One of the couple’s favorite things to do is travel to different parts of the world to source items that they know their clientele will love. Everywhere they go, they bring back a little piece of that culture—that story—to their gallery at home in Tucson. The chemistry between the both of them is apparent and it was so much fun to spend a few hours with these inspiring people and envision what it would be like to have their “job.” It’s so refreshing to see individuals like Scott and Yun who have an undying passion for what they do and get so excited to tell their tale—its infectious.
I walked away from the whole experience enlightened and even more in love with where I live. I asked Scott after experiencing so many places in the world—why Tucson? And after they considered places to live like New Hampshire and Albuquerque, Scott simply responded to my question with, “I think we both like energy where many different cultures come together—between the Hispanic culture, the Korean culture and American culture—we all live in the city together and trade each other’s ideas and its beautiful.” If you can find beauty in where you live and the capability to reach beyond yourself and explore what else is out there—then that really does sing the meaning of a beautiful life, and Yun and Scott found it.
Next time you’re in Tucson, be sure to pay a visit to Scott and Yun, you surely won’t be disappointed, only inspired. Call ahead and let them know that you will be visiting as their gallery runs by “appointment only.” They are currently traveling the world and sourcing more beautiful pieces of art from one-of-a-kind designers and artists like Valerie Mitchell, Biba Schutz, Aimee Baker and their sons Mack, Baek and Han Duerstock. For more information about Yun Gee Park Studio and Gallery, please visit, www.yungeepark.com.
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