A LIFELONG LOVE OF ANIMALS AND A DETERMINATION TO RAISE AWARENESS OF THE AFFECTS OF OUR MODERN CIVILISATIONS ON THE EARTH INHABITANTS HAS SEEN PAINTER YOUNG-SUNG KIM DEVOTE 10 YEARS TO SERIES, NOTHING. LIFE. OBJECT.

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[Nothing.Life.Object] - Oil on canvas,130x89cm, 2016

 

So there is hyperrealism and then there are your paintings, they are phenomenal - the minute detail is truly incredible. Tell us about your method and how you’ve honed your craft to be able to paint in this way?

I believe that it isn’t just the technique in the painting, I take endless photos until I get exactly the image I am looking for. Then I work on it until it is perfect, I don’t think its any special methods as such just dedication. I work everyday from 9am till midnight. 


[Nothing.Life.Object] - Oil on canvas,126x126cm, 2016

 

You spend your childhood in Korea, is this where your desire to paint such intricate portraits of animals was born?

I have always loved animals. I have many memories about precious wild animals, such as hawks and poisonous snakes and I had always dreamed of becoming an artist and having the ability to paint and create these works. In my early days I found it difficult to produce the detail on such tiny animals, so I was determined to practise and learn and then one day be able to create them correctly as my skills improved. 


(Young painting)

 

Well you certainly did that, they are incredible pieces. Who would you say have been the biggest influences on your practise and which one would you most like to discuss art with?

There are many artists I like but I would say Picasso and Gottfried Helnwein, they are who I’d like to speak with. 


[Nothing.Life.Object] - Oil on canvas,126x126cm, 2016

 

You have been working on your current series ‘Nothing. Life. Object” since 2006! Thats over 10 years work of work - what drives you to still explore it, what are the key concepts behind this series of your practise?

I am interested in how species and objects co-exist, like a snail and a metal spoon. I want to analyse the desolation of modern society and thus reveal humanities negligence of life towards other living things.  Animals exist in the same environment as us humans but they are viewed to be subservient, to exist in a lower hierarchy. We perceive them as food, sport or for fashion and decoration. The most recent works in this series were born because I wanted to express the way our modern society threatens lives due to the advanced development of material civilisations.

 

Despite working over 14 hours a day it still takes me a year to finish some of my works. I want them to be as realistic as humanly possible, it just takes me a very long time to be completely satisfied with a piece. If you enlarge a photo to observe it, you will realize it is not very realistic,  modern technology advances at a such a rate that it can be hard to keep up but my goal is to outperform high-definition television or computer monitors. It’s a real challenge, but i’m hoping to be able to paint in greater detail than photos or QHD monitors. To create an image that is real in every single detail.


[Nothing.Life.Object] - Oil on canvas,138x138cm, 2016

 

With 10 years of work I would imagine you’ve created a serious amount of paintings, do you know roughly how many you’ve made? And if you could pick just one, which one would be your favourite and why?

Over the period I have finished 62 pieces, all in this series. If I had to choose just one, I think it would have to be the piece with the frog on the bolts. It’s the work I spent the most time on, it took me about five years. I think when you spend that long on a piece there is a special connection made to it. 


(Young painting)
 

TO SEE MORE OF YOUNG-SUNG KIM’S INCREDIBLE PAINTINGS CHECK OUT HIS SOCIAL MEDIA SITES www.facebook.com/10vun/ & www.instagram.com/_y_kim/

INTERVIEW by HANNAH SMITH

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