Kim Jung Gi is a South Korean artist specializing in line-drawing and comic book illustration. Born in 1975, he studied fine arts at the Dong-Eui University of Busan. He served in the military for 2 years during which time he memorized a huge number of vehicles and weapons which he can now draw from memory. He has the innate ability to mentally visualize his pictures before making a single mark. It’s hard to believe he doesn’t use any photographic references during his process!
Below are excerpts from our conversation.
Tell me a bit about yourself- How did your life in art begin?
My passion for comic started when I was 6 years old, when I received a sketchbook as a gift. The sketchbook contained an image of a fish with a scuba gear and floating in air. I thought that image was cool and wanted to draw images like that.
How would you describe your art to the viewer?
I want to be an artist who draws not only what I want to draw, but also who can draw the viewer’s imagination in as well.
What narratives or stories do you like to convey through your work?
I want to show the fun side of the reality that we often miss. There are many fun things that surround us that can be a good subject matter for our works.
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You set up Ani Chang- Academy of Fine Arts which is an institute that teaches comic drawing and cartoons. Could you tell us a little about why you set-up this school and how an education there is different from a fine arts school?
I wanted to share my knowledge with the next generation of artists. Our academy is a college prep institute for comics and animation majors. We teach high school students (and younger!) to focus on the very basic foundation courses to help them prepare for the fine arts schools.
What would you cite as your inspirations behind your work? Which artists do you admire?
There are many artists that I draw inspiration from. Such artists include, Akira Toriyama, Katsuhiro Ootomo, Murata Yusuke, Mitsuru Adachi, Taiyou Matsumoto, Norman Rockwell, James Harren, Jean-Paul Leon, and Moebius. Some of the works that inspires me are Dr. Slump, Akira, Shinai Samurai, and Touch.
As a multi-medium artist, would you say there is a continuous relation between your works or are they independent of one another?
I draw what I have studied, observed, experienced and had an interest as subject matter throughout all my work, so I would say they are somewhat continuous.
What would you say is your favorite piece of your own work and why?
My Favorite work to date is Omphalos.
Note: Omphalos is a collection of erotic drawings, illustrations and sketches by Kim Jung Gi.
All picture credits to Kim Jung Gi.