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Renowned in the comic art world for his realistic sketches and live drawing sessions, artist Kim Jung Gi collaborated with us in reproducing one of his popular Korean flag drawings. We also had a private interview with him to ask about his personal and art life. Check it out below -
  1. We know a lot of people are already fans of your work, but for those who might not be familiar, can you give us a brief introduction of your background? 
I first became involved with art through comics. That’s how I began drawing and was majoring in Westernized art. But I stopped attending college to pursue comics. Now, I do a combination of work involving movies, advertisement, webtoon, illustration, teaching, and more. In 2011, I recorded the process of my drawing and posted it on YouTube. Through that, my work was seen around the world, and I am now most-recognized as live-drawing artist Kim Jung Gi. At the core, I’m still a comic artist.
  1. When and how did you begin art? Was art something you always wanted to pursue? 
From what I remember, I dreamed of being a comic artist since I was 6 years old. But I began drawing when I was younger than that. I want to say that I am a very happy artist who is living out his childhood dream.
  1. Do you have any artists/art styles you particularly like? 
I like a lot of artists and receive influence from all of them. From Korean artists, I like painter Yong-Hwan Kim, who is famous for his work in 코주부 삼국지 (Kojubu Samgukji / Kojubu Three Kingdoms). Outside of Korea, there are too many artists I like to list them all, but just to name some: Katsuhiro Otomo, Katsuya Terada, Akira Toriyama, Jean Giraud, Milo Manara, Guarnido, Jim Lee. Norman Rockwell, who uses realistic drawings to build a world, is especially the best. In my own way, I also like to use realism when drawing daily activities in my work.
  1. Among your work, there are occasional pieces that represent parts of Korean history and culture. Is there a special message you hope to deliver through those pieces? 
I don’t always try to incorporate a message into my work. I put Korean subject matters - like legends, fables, and history - into my work simply because I like to draw those things. Those are the matters closest to my heart. After having done so much work (with Korean culture), I think non-Koreans gradually got to taste a bit of Korean culture through my drawings. I plan to continue drawing these subject matters, so my hope is that they have a positive impact for others.
  1. Can you elaborate on the meaning behind the 8.15 collaboration piece? 
Actually, this isn’t the flag representing 8.15 but is a piece dedicated to the March 1st Movement. I drew so that we could remember our forefathers who proudly fought against Japanese imperialism and sacrificed their blood so that Korea could be where it is today.
  1. What is your personal favorite piece related to Korean culture?
When I finish my work and put down my brush, I don’t have a particular attachment to that piece. This is because I have to move on to approach the next project. There is, however, one piece that was very difficult and remains in my mind to this day. It was the 꼬인 매듭 (Kkoin Maedeup / Twisted Knot) piece that I did for the Japan Comfort Women Victim exhibition during the 2014 Angoulême International Comics Festival in France. Japan’s national broadcasting station NHK came, and I remember being very nervous while drawing the piece. It felt like my homework was being examined. Prior to this project, what I knew about Japan’s comfort women victims were similar to that of the general public. But through the process of drawing this piece, I learned and realized much more. I even felt a mix of nervousness and concern at the thought that my drawing could be depicting any of the grandmas who suffered as comfort women victims.
  1. Our brand KORE stands for Keepin Our Roots Eternal, which is the motto of the brand. What are your personal thoughts about this meaning, and do you have any personal alignments with it?
Looking into one’s roots is something in which anyone can be interested. From time to time, I also reflect on who I am and from where I’ve come. South Korea’s power, history, culture, etc. are components that are ingrained in my body and are the source and energy for my drawings. They are also the means through which my individuality as an artist became known worldwide. In that sense, I’m very connected with the motto also.
  1. Is there a particular reason you decided to collaborate with KORE?
While writing “Keepin Our Roots Eternal” [on the canvas piece], I plan to keep it has a reminder for myself. It was a motto with which I agree and admire, so that was one of the major reasons in collaborating with KORELIMITED.
  1. Do you have any specific goals or visions you wish to fulfill through your art?
When I’m working on a piece, I don’t necessarily try to integrate a specific vision. But the work is something that secretly shows the artist’s feelings, values, and thoughts. Normally, I take whatever is on my mind and use my imagination to create the next artwork. But more important to me than anything is ‘fun’. The project has to be fun in order for me to draw and continue drawing. Evaluation is something that can be given by the viewers, but my focus is to never lose the ‘fun’ until the day I put down my brush. My ultimate goal is to continuously be immersed in having fun while creating my artwork. The assessment of the work is not up to me.
  1. What is your one biggest advice for upcoming artists (or anyone wanting to pursue his/her dream)?
I want to say watch, read, listen, and experience a lot of things so that you can save those as your own collection in your mind. That collection will eventually be the source of your own work.
Watch the live session of our 8.15 canvas drawing - 


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