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Kyenan Kum

  • 20110228160730-1_love_after_death_-_s
  • 20110228163055-2_vnai_and_stas_-_s
  • 20110228163450-3_angst_-_s
  • 20110228163659-4_venus___swan_-_s
  • 20110228164229-5_self_portrait__6_-_s
  • 20110228165501-6_self_portrait__7_-_s
  • 20110228170501-m1_last_kiss_-_s
  • 20110228170823-m2_love_scene_-_s
  • 20110228171230-m3_love_is_opium_-_s


Daegu City, Korea

Birth year

Lives in
Oakland, CA

Works in
Oakland, CA


CCA (California College of the Arts)

realism, animal-art mixed-media, imaginary, surealism figurative, figurative, traditional



Expressing the existence and spirit of life in Realist form

As a child growing up in Korea, I made every effort to learn a great deal about western culture. At the time, Korean traditional art was very flat, but the western tradition was multi-dimensional. These forces of acculturation have thus become a definitive part of my life, beginning in childhood, continuing after my emigration to the west and developing during my education in American art schools. My exposure to western art was mostly through the great masters of pre-twentieth century Europe. It is in imitation of Great masters, from Bosch to Klimt to Rodin, who have had the strongest influence on my artistic development.

When I first encountered the contemporary art scene in the United States, my inclination toward the Great Masters seemed anachronistic. My attempts at various aspects of modern art never met up to my satisfaction, so I returned to my passion: Realism. More recently, I have used realist techniques to create scenes infused with my emotional philosophies. This approach has given a more surreal style to my work.

Contemporary scenes, lifestyles, environments and ambiances encompass the subject matter of my paintings. I explore questions of existence—in plant, animal and human life—using oil and other mixed media. The futility of life is what inspires me to search for meaning and artistic development.

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