REPUBLIC X

Chaotic beauty: interview with Kim Byungkwan

This style of painting you would recognize always. It’s different, messy, emotional, dark and bold. Kim Byungkwan, was born and lives now in Seoul, Korea. After graduating Hnasung University he forgot about his passion for a while. Finally, Kim started painting again and become the finalist of planned exhibition on a gallery in Seoul. “That was the first solo exhibition of my life in 2011.” – told to me Kim. With several other awards, Kim is also popular on artsy and social websites. I believe that some of you are familiar with his project already. However, this time my goal was not to show you his famous works again but to get more insights about the author and his perception. Enjoy!

When and how you started painting? 
I’m sure cartoon is most of little kids fantasy world. But as a young boy, I was into it beyond your imagination. I spent most of my days to draw favorite cartoon characters or entire cartoon. I think from the beginning, pop-culture become an important code of my work.  However to become a cartoonist was never my dream. I always have a sense of delight when I draw something, and I keep drawing like crazy. 

I could say you have a very strong and clear style of painting. How did you find it, and why did you choose this one? 
While in college, I was enthusiastic in Willem De Kooning and Francis Bacon.  I couldn’t sleep at all for being fascinated by their e-pression mode and technique.  Their strokes are energy itself and I feel like they done it as there’s no second chance and any excuse.  I was influenced on them by nature, and they were a good teacher of mine. That lies at the foundation of my work. My style has been formed with being mixed pop-culture code surrounding me by nature through developing my work. 

What kind of emotions are you trying to express through your painted portraits? What message you are sending to others with your artworks? 
I draw famous person like a politician or an actor/actress.  Doing so, I try to extract unfamiliarity from the person who is familiar to everybody.  You can feel the unfamiliarity not from alien which you have never seen before, but from the things which you know well. The unfamiliar image I draw affects to break the way we see the things usually. I think that one of the important functions of art is to show the new-vision to the world. 

You seem as the person who is bored of the repetition in the world and the same things that we see, feel and experience. Why do you think we need that factor which brings something totally different and new to us? 
I despise the regular phenomenon rather then hate. Because these regular phenomenon implant the same vision of the world to everybody.  Uniformity could be the worst thing. 
For example, the image of ‘James Dean’ and ‘Marilyn Monroe’ is gradually fixed.  That is from having permanent repeatability.  I think we have few methodology to be refreshed, which we escape from permanent paradigm by breaking off or rupturing the repeatability. 

Would it be right to say, that a true artist always desires and feels a need of something new and different? 
Something new doesn’t always face to the future but you can extract it from the image of past.
New things which the artist is requested are discovery of new rather then creativity. 
It is important that the artist must be trained to interpret the world in different way.
If we trained well, then everything must be new or refreshed by nature. 

In many poetic writings, we always discover that the routine is killing the creativity and passion. Do you agree? Why? 
I agree with that some but not all in this decade. We already have system for creativity in our routine.  For example, network is one of these.  Now I can gather the data or communicate with others without huge energy. If you have enough passion for creativity, you can add another life in your routine. 

Some of artists can create art at night, or in early morning. Does the time period matters to you somehow? Why? 
It’s not that important to me. Because I do my work whenever I want to, and it happens anytime random. 

What is the biggest challenge for you in the process of creating art? 
I want to make some piece that people get the new visual experience and never forget. And that kind of impression which shows to the people the way of new methodology of vision, I hope, affects the vision of world of people’s. That’s one of my objective. I don’t know if it’s possible but still It’s my dream. 

Edward Hopper once said: “More of me comes out when I improvise.” Can you relate this quote to yourself?  
I completely agree with you. In fact, my work process is just like that.  As soon as I get a subject, I draw the image without any sketch. I want to extract the shape never designed by doing so. 
The planing prevents you from some mistake, but blocks some accidental happenings at the same time. It produces a piece trapping people inside of controlled world by artiest. Of course there are lot of great pieces with elaborated plan.  It’s all about style, I think.

Text Edited by Melissa Searle


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