The Value of Suffering
Daehyun Kim aka Moonassi (b.1980, South Korea)
Korean artist Daehyun Kim, better known as Moonassi, is the author of a series of beautiful and intriguing black and white drawings. By mixing surreal and figurative imagery, Daehyun creates a voyage exploring human conditions and situation with a simple yet very unique way. Two year after his fist feature on Artchipel, we catch up with Artist to chat with us about his story, creative process and future projects.
Artchipel: Hi Daehyun, tell us about your education background and your practice.
Daehyun Kim: I was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1980. I majored in Oriental Painting. The word “Oriental” could make you confused. It’s actually a study of the old East Asian painting where I learned about related skills such as Ink wash painting, but also ancient East Asian philosophies and aesthetics.
A: You have been working on Moonassi drawing series since 2008. What does Moonassi mean?
DK: Moonassi is my artist name that I’ve been using since long ago. It was “무나 moonaa” at the beginning and has become “무나씨 moona-ssi” as people get used to the name. (“-씨 -ssi” is the most commonly used honorific forms of address in Korean, used amongst people of approximately equal speech level. It is attached at the end of the full name or simply after the first name if the speaker is more familiar with someone.)
“무나 moonaa” can be roughly translated as “There is no such thing as me”, or “Emptiness / Void in me”. When people call me “Moonassi”, it’s like if they are calling someone who has no identity. Isn’t it interesting?
A: You have a very distinctive identity. Could you share with us your creative process and how did you come to develop your aesthetic?
DK: At the beginning, I’ve never thought that my drawing is unique. But the more I draw, the more it became something special naturally. I just focused on what I really can draw, what I really want to draw, and what I prefer to use. The process is always changing. Usually I start with just a simple image that flashes across my mind, but sometimes I just concentrate on the subject or a word that I want to express. It’s almost like translating words into images.
A: You often put on stage one or several human figures with a very similar look, we can hardly identify their gender or age! Yet each of them seems to have a strong spirit and imparts a universal message to human hearts. Tell us a bit about these intriguing characters.
DK: The face with no expression actually is borrowed from old buddies painting which has always fascinated me since University. I thought that the face is perfect to conceal their feelings, because I don’t want to show directly if this guy is good or bad through their faces. The black simple suit that looks like underwear has been chosen to make you only focus on their gesture. I purposely don’t show the time, region or gender.
A: Do you have special rituals to get into creating mood?
DK: Yeah I used to believe that there must be some special rituals to be able to create. For example, pushing myself into extremely bad or sad mood, sitting on the desk all night doing nothing like a zombie until something comes up in my mind, and so on. But now I’m trying to ignore these bad rituals. Somehow, now I can draw when I want to do. And I’m so happy that I can draw even during the daytime.
A: Which artists have inspired you the most?
DK: Interestingly, I’ve never got inspired by any contemporary artist. I’m more inspired by writings, songs and videos. I collect lots of images, songs and videos from Internet, but unfortunately, I forget easily artist’s names or artwork titles.
A: What has been your strongest memory to date as an artist?
DK: Sometimes, people send me a photo of his/her having my drawing tattooed on their skin. It’s really strange and beautiful to see my drawing on someone else’s body.
A: What is your project for the upcoming year?
DK: Making a new picture book, selling prints, hiking mountains and partying with friends more often, working less in the office and drawing more in my studio!
Thanks Daehyun for taking the time to answer the questions. Daehyun Kim can be found with updated posts on his Website and Facebook. His book Anonymous Drawing is available for purchase on Studiofnt.
[more of his work]
Part of universe (밤에)
A Stammerer (말더듬이)
The rain comes whenever I wish (비와)
it's interesting how different some of his drawings' titles are in English and Korean. What are some of your favorite Korean artists, Omona?