The Quiet Before Art: Kyu

May 15, 2016

The Quiet Before Art Kyu Whale Tree

Korean visual artist Kyu has impressed us with his superb work and we’ve reached him out for a brief interview and the possibility of sharing on our blog some of this work.
We especially appreciated this video showing Kyu at work.

Can you tell us, in a few words, who you are and what you do?

My name is Kyu, and I am a visual artist. I mostly work with graphite and oil/acrylic paints, but lately I’ve been experimenting with sculpting as well. I was originally born in Korea, but my dad’s job moved us around a lot. I grew up in Seoul, London, Frankfurt, Budapest and finally Vancouver where I got my degree in Visual Fine Arts at Emily Carr University. I spent a few years working there as an artist and moved back to Korea about 3 years ago. As for my work, I don’t like to limit myself to a specific idea or message. What comes out seems to be a combination of my experiences, emotions and imagination.

The Quiet Before Art Kyu Shadow Eye

What lead you to visual art?

As far as I can remember I’ve always been drawing, and I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I guess it helped that I came from an art-oriented(?) family. My grandfather was a traditional painter, and I have a few cousins that were involved in art - two went to art school and two majored in dancing. Anyway, because I started getting involved in art at a very young age, I don’t think I had any specific goals in mind. Drawing was the best way for me to express myself and to process my thoughts and emotions.

The Quiet Before Art Kyu Whale Tree

Is your artistic work reflecting your personal style? Is fashion important from you?

I think it would be a lie if I said I wasn’t influenced by things around me, but I don’t think I’m too worried about trends. There are different elements in my work that reference different experiences I had growing up. Sometimes those elements are anchored to a certain location, and sometimes it’s more about the mood/sentiment I grew accustomed to from moving around so much. When it comes to fashion, I guess it is important to me but once again it’s not so much about trends; I’m into a more classical and simple look.

The Quiet Before Art Kyu Shadow Face

Is music important for you? Can you pick 5 songs that could be the right soundtrack for your portfolio?

Yes, I think most artists (if not all) will tell you that music is a very important part of their creative process. It may not be a direct influence, but I can’t imagine working with no sound. It’s hard to pick a few songs because my soundtrack keeps changing so much, so I’ll just pick 5 out of my most recent playlist :

“The Will-Wisher” by Esbjorn Svensson Trio.
“I can’t stand the Rain” by Ann Peebles.
“The National Anthem” by Radiohead. (and pretty much everything else by them)
“I’m into You” by Chet Faker.
“Sabotage” by Beastie Boys.

Are you a traveller?

Like I mentioned before I’ve always moved around and traveled a lot. I haven’t been able to as much recently but I try to get away whenever I can, even if it’s something as simple as a few hours drive to go watch the sea and listen to the waves. I don’t think the influence traveling has on my work is a direct one. It’s not like I paint landscapes... However the act of taking time to go to a new place and pulling yourself out of your everyday norm helps to approach your work from a different light. I guess in a way moving back to my hometown, Korea, has been like traveling for me. Seoul moves at a very different pace than Vancouver(where I lived right before moving back) which has changed not only the way I work but the kind of work I’m able to do.

The Quiet Before Art Kyu Colored Raind

Any big plan for the near future?

I’m going to be visiting Vancouver in May, then traveling to Berlin which I’m very excited about. My former studio-mate from Vancouver is based there now, so I’m hoping to meet a lot of new artists and maybe even collaborate on a mural while I’m there.

Very exciting, please keep us updated on any new exciting thing you’ll do.

The Quiet Before Art Kyu Tree Eyes

You can find more of Kyu's work on his website and Instagram page

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