Kim Joon’s Body Art (NSFW)

(Slightly updated, August 2013)

Hat tip to the (sadly now defunct) Startdrawing.org. But you can still go directly to Kim Joon’s own website for hundreds more examples of his work. Here’s a small selection:

(Party-red Hole, 2007. Photo directly from Kim Joon’s website)

With apologies, I rejected posting examples with male subjects back in 2008, primarily because I didn’t particularly like Kim Joon’s choice of only stocky men or those lacking any muscle definition (as opposed to his choice of universally tall and skinny or athletic* women, a body type I admit I find both aesthetically pleasing and sexually attractive). I’ve since come to appreciate them though, and fortunately there’s still many 2005 examples available here. Also, he did start using more muscular male subjects a few years later.

(We-adidas, 2005. Source: 普若 安 )

Unfortunately, despite the plethora of websites that feature his work, very few give any specific details about how he actually makes his images, and him being described a “tattooist” left me rather confused: are they primarily tattoos, computer graphics, or both? From what I can make out from the “text” section of his site, different images required different techniques, but most of them were substantially changed on a computer after the original photos were taken.

(Photo directly from Kim Joon’s website)

Looking at his profile, he does live in Korea and has exhibited here often, and so I’ll try to keep tabs on when his next exhibition is coming up, although if any readers hear before me I’d be very grateful if they could pass it on. Also, have any readers already seen his work in person? What did you think? Did seeing the photos at a large scale make you like the art any more or less?

*I’ve also since come to realize that “athletic” is a misleading and inappropriate term for this body type, as athletes of both sexes actually come in all shapes and sizes. Can any readers suggest a better alternative?

(Update, November 2008: Here’s a follow-up post on later exhibitions of his work)

15 thoughts on “Kim Joon’s Body Art (NSFW)

  1. i like this kind of art it looks to me like a little weird but it has a tecnique like cool leaving parts without painting and filling spaces with forms i like this post

  2. The works are simply gorgeous. I don’t know how these workpieces are being made but I imagine it must be quite agonizing for the models to wait for the paint to dry!

  3. I think most of it’s done on computer, but sure, there must be some paint involved! I wish I could find a site with more detailed information on how they were made exactly.

  4. On Kim Joon’s web site, the description of his process is as follows, but I’m still confused as to how exactly he does this, does he lay the fabric over the bodies?:

    In Mr. Kim’s current works, which the artist likes to describe as “paintings”, he uses water based markers to create the designs. His process involves taking a piece of sponge and covering it in a layer of traditional cloth that is used as fabric liner in Korean sewing. The lining is then covered with very transparent fabric, and painted two coats of a skin colored hue. He also layers on mediums and finally varnishes the surface to create a more firm appearance.

  5. It’s my opinion that his work is entirely digital. The figures have a “poser” characteristic to them. Many of the Duet Series images appear to be the same figures rendered from a different angle with a different skin image applied. Also, many of the figures in the Bird Land scenes appear to be the same, just repeated with a slightly altered skin image, reflected view or opposed angle. Having said this, I find his images extraordinarily beautiful and technically fascinating. He has mastered the digital art form and infused it with an amazing artistic sense. A stunning fusion of art, sensuality and technology.

    • Thanks, you do make a compelling argument. I did eventually notice the fundamental similarities in the Duet series especially, but I confess that back when I wrote this I was both a bit entrapped in his work and in deciphering all the various explanations of it to notice, as I’m sure you can understand!

  6. To all Kim Joon lovers;

    There will be a solo exhibition of Kim Joon with his recent works at Sundaram Tagore gallery in New York City from May 14-30, 2009. This is his debut show in New York so please come and join the artist at the artist welcome reception on May 14, thursday from 6-8pm. The show is an official program of Asian Contemporary Art Week 2009 and is curated by Inhee Iris Moon. Thanks, Iris

  7. Pingback: El arte corporal de Kim Joon - Cuerpo y Arte

  8. Pingback: Starbucks body paint (NSFW) « Defy The Narrative

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