I was browsing on Naver the other day, and came across what I thought to be a digital artwork by a TVXQ/JYJ fan. The coloring is very vivid and eye-catching, similar to illustrations one can find on comic books. Upon checking, it turned out to be an oil on canvas painting (It’s a paintiiiing! I think I spazzed when I found out!). And not only that, it features not just TVXQ/JYJ, but also numerous other Korean Idol groups! I was so amazed at how well it was painted, I just had to find out more about it.
(Click to view the larger photo on the artist’s official website)
The piece is titled, “MARVELOUS UNIVERSE: Korean Idols” by artist Jung InSung (정인성).
It’s a 6.36ft x 4.27ft oil on canvas painting that took six months to complete and features over 550 Korean idol stars. Awesome, right? It’s not everyday that you stumble upon a massive painting featuring your favorite idols. I was also very pleased seeing how my favorite boys (TVXQ/JYJ & BigBang) were portrayed (JaeJoong right smack in the middle, baby!)
And as I am a curious kid, I asked the artist a couple of questions to give a better background of the inspiration behind the painting, as well as the process he went through to finish his work. I was very lucky because he was really nice and accommodating! Read on for the Q&A! ^^
CANDYSKY: Can you give us a short introduction about yourself?
Jung InSung: I’m living in Seoul, born at 1981, male, and I have no formal careers of exhibition. This is the very first external exhibition of mine.
CS: What was your inspiration in painting Marvelous Universe: Korean Idols?
JIS: It was an intensive experience that I’ve seen a picture which described all characters of ‘Marvel Universe’ and I naturally overlapped them with the society of Korean idol stars. I decided to start painting since the scene couldn’t be ignored as it was materialized in my brain.
CS: Please tell us about the painting process. (How long it took to paint, how many idols and groups are included and other details you would like to share~)
JIS: First, I set up a list of idol singers and searched proper images followed by the list. In order to find matching images of the painting, I had to secure at least 3 photos of one singer and for that, more than 10 proper photos had to be searched. You will not be able to imagine the number of image that I’ve searched. There are 550 people in the painting.
Design – I intended to parody the concept of ‘Marvel Universe’ but not tried to parody each characters. Even, Wonder woman and Superman at the front row is characters of D.C Comics, not Marvel Comics. I assumed that the most important thing was assigning appropriate costumes that can express each characters of the singers that I felt when I saw them. Fortunately, some characters could be modified slightly, on the while, I had to create new design from the scratch–like G-dragon.
(A part of the painting^^ Click to view the larger photo on the artist’s official website)
Sketch – The importance of sketch was pretty enormous since the process was realizing ‘complex but specific’ image that was already materialized in my imagination. The early stage of painting can be said ‘designing’ lather than ‘sketching’. In comparison with other paintings which is finished and shaped by coloring, it had to be almost perfectly finished work of art even at the sketch stage. Otherwise, there could be structural flaws like domino without a single chip during and consequently, it would be tedious painting without any impact like the work.
Coloring – Unlike the sketching, the selection of color was improvising. At first, I thought that assigning every colors before starting can heighten the degree of completion, but I wanted to coordinate colors while I am painting it actually. It could be so boring that I would hardly finished it without the pleasure.
It took total of 6 months to paint.
CS: Do you have an exhibition where Korean Idol fans can view your painting?
JIS: Not yet. It’s been 3 weeks that I finished the painting. I want to open it to the public but it takes too much time to exhibit it at the gallery through formal process besides, I can not be guaranteed if it can work well. On that reason, I decided to open exhibition ‘This is Also Public Art‘ by myself on June 9th, Saturday, on the street in front of Sejong Center which is showing the exhibition ‘This is Public Art’. The content of the first page of http://insungjung.me is invitation of the exhibition. Additionally I promoted it via SNS, I’m not sure many people would come.
After finding out about how long it took to make and the process it went through, I am even more speechless! (Okay part of this is because I don’t think I have as much patience to illustrate and paint 550 people in detail!) I love how two of my interests — art and kpop are combined in this glorious piece! I would really like to be able to see this painting in person one day ^^
While it won’t be part of any collective exhibitions, it’s great that the artist will be showcasing it this Saturday. It’s not an official exhibit, but an independent one! So far in my trips to Korea it’s normal to see artists displaying and showcasing their works of art along the streets or at plazas. This is what Jung InSung-ssi will be doing^^
For those of you currently in Seoul, please take time to view “Marvelous Universe: Korean Idols” by Jung InSung-ssi this coming Saturday , June 9, across the Sejong Center. Let’s support him and this wonderful piece!