Kim Byungkwan’s Monsterized Versions of Hollywood Starlets

Kim Byungkwan Art 1

Kim Byungkwan is a South Korean artist who takes images of Hollywood stars, namely beloved and iconic starlets, and breaks their image with scribbles and smears of paint. He creates them with acrylic on paper, giving you what you need to “get” who the person is—and then he rips it apart. They remind of monsterized and zombified depictions of celebrities but done in a frightening and manic way—but they retail a fascinating beauty. They’re like caricatures made by a crazy person.

Each painting balances the literal with Byungkwan’s deadly aesthetic. He plays into cultural consciousness, exhuming the image of Linda Carter as Wonder Woman, slashing her up with smears of paints and dug out eyes. The work could easily be mistaken for an artist stealing forms and avoiding doing the detailing of faces but, as you can see in a collection of paintings, he can do facial features more or less depending on how far he wants to push his grime.

Kim Byungkwan Art 2

There is an easy appeal to them thanks to the familiarity of images—and his take on them is wild. It would be unsurprising if his work blew up very fast, becoming a counter cultural and “Anti-Hollywood” (but very Hollywood) statement against over produced people. Aesthetically, they will remind you quite a bit of Anthony Lister‘s work but a bit less cartoon inspired: Byungkwan can certainly go for realism. But why would you when you could have fun tearing an image apart?

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April 11, 2014