The renowned South Korean artist crafted sprawling, elaborately detailed sceneries at breakneck speed, frequently in front of a live audience. He spoke as he painted, explaining his technique to his adoring followers as he transformed a blank canvas into a fully realized work of art in front of their eyes.
Kim, a well-known comic artist, died unexpectedly, according to his US agency. He was 47.
He was in Paris for an exhibition of his art when he began experiencing chest problems, just before flying to New York to participate in Comic-Con. Based on a statement released on his authorized social networking sites, he was taken to a hospital and died.
Kim, a lifetime artist, began sketching in the South Korean comics newspaper Young Jump before creating his own manhwa, or South Korean comic style, called “Tiger the Long Tail,” or “TLT.”
Kim was well-known for his live painting workshops, during which he filled blank canvases with astonishingly intricate sceneries that he sketched sometimes without source images. He’d make scenes out of visual fragments he’d memorized and then transfer to paper. He informed the arts newspaper Visual Atelier that he had “60% of the picture in (his) brain” for the most sweeping works and recreated the rest.
He also lectured in formal academic settings, speaking on manhwa at colleges. He stressed the capacity of his learners to “visualize the present,” combining facts from their everyday lives with pictures from their imaginations.
In a June conversation, he remarked, “It’s horrible when you can’t sketch what’s in your thoughts.”
A line of admirers extended around the block at the Daniel Maghen Editions gallery, where he was displaying work in Paris until his passing, for an opportunity to sit on the floor and see his work.
While in Paris, he finished a Batman-themed artwork portraying the Dark Knight, Catwoman, and many of the superhero’s most famous villains, as well as a soccer-inspired piece for the Paris Saint-Germain F.C.