Daehyun Kim was born in Seoul, in 1980. He studied fine arts at a university, specialized in Traditional East-Asian Art/Paintings and has making Moonassi drawing series since 2008. They mostly are small size and pained only in black by using pen and marker, sometimes brush. We talk about his creative process, favorite films, and more. Read below for the full interview…
As a creative do you work better without the stipulations of factors and elements? Do you find guidelines restricting?(whether you work better with complete freedom or if you work better when someone gives you instructions? For example if a gallery tells you you have to create artwork that deals with fantasy, rather then you doing whatever you want.)
Daehyun: I prefer working alone, but at the same time, I can’t do anything without an instruction. So I follow strict instruction which is developed by me. I’m trying to be open-minded in collaboration with others more than before to see how well I can cooperate with them keeping my guidelines.
Your illustrations usually depict two characters, each representing opposing situations, minds and ideas. Could you describe why you gravitate to the yin-yang theory, symmetry and balance?
Daehyun: It’s not easy to see things in between the two extremes, without boundaries, or to realize things relatively. It seems that I got a tendency toward Yin & Yang since I could see inner conflicts better, since I became an observer. Or it’s because I’ve always been interested in theories about dualism debated by philosophers from East and West. Although many of my drawings seem to have only two opposing situations, but I always want to have multiple meanings in my drawings, which can leave more space to the imagination. I always give two titles for one drawing, in Korean and in English, but they are not just a translated title.
What are some of the trends that so many people try to pass off in art that you view to be fradulent or unauthentic? (if there is anything in the art world in present day that you don’t agree with or wish you could change.)
Daehyun: I really do not know about contemporary art, and am not interested in. The only thing that I’m seeing in art world is that there are no boundaries between art and non-art and they have become rapidly blurred and mixed. So I don’t care about who is the real artist, or what artists are supposed to do. I know there must be someone who is trying to draw a line again and to re-define fine Art, but to me, it’s meaningless.
Ink on paper seem to be your primary medium. What advantages does this choice give you in articulating your work?
Daehyun: The advantage of using these tools is that I can have more time to concentrate only on my subject and the story. And most of all, it’s easy to get, and easy to control. I’ve been told that it’s better to use a premium Japanese paper, or luxury silk, to make them expensive. But I’m happy with ink on paper, and am not interested in testing a new medium for now.
How does graphic design play a part in the overall aesthetics in your illustrations?
Daehyun: I approach my drawing in the same way I approach graphic design job for clients. Only difference is that I become the client, the director, and the boss, when I design my drawing. I try my best to understand what this client is thinking of, and do my best to illustrate what this boss wants to tell, but without the aid of a text. Speaking of the aesthetic side, I’m developing my own characters and symbols as a graphic elements to describe more complex stories.
What are some of your favorite Asian films?
Daehyun: All films made by Sang-soo Hong. Hirokazu Koreeda’s film ‘Still Walking’.
Do you feel formal education can benefit the average everyday artist?
Daehyun: Yes, I did have benefits of the formal education. From that, I could learn what I mustn’t pursue and what I should keep away, and the fact that I graduated art school help me to do not waist my time pretending to be an artist. And needless to say, all the life drawing skill is useful at sketching without model(s).
When you search the internet for ‘29.5 x 42cm’ your work comes up. As one of the only artists that prefers this particular sized canvas, why do you choose this space?
Daehyun: Oh, I’ve never tried to search with that keyword before! It doesn’t need to be that particular size. It’s just A3 paper. I think the number ‘29.5 x 42 cm’ came from a photographer’s note in a photo studio, where I usually take photo of my drawing. The photographer used to mark the size of drawing on the color chart before he takes a photo. And it was always 29.5 x 42cm.
What is it about traditional East-Asian Art that is unique compared to art in similar regions?
Daehyun: Roughly speaking, East-Asian Art had always been sharing inspirations and views on aesthetics from ancient times until quite recently, like China, Korea, and Japan have been sharing and developing Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism with a little difference. It is quite different from the Middle East, which is influenced by the Western, and it’s also distinguishable from South East Asian countries where Buddhism and Hinduism were dominant.
Lastly, any advice for any creative out there?
Daehyun: I don’t have any advice for those who are working in [the] creative [field]. I always want to be a person who can inspire other people, like I was inspired a lot from others.
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Artist official website: www.moonassi.com