Have you ever been to a gallery or museum, and seen a painting of a red square and a yellow dot and thought, damn, someone paid hundreds of thousands for that boring-ass art that feels like it may be slowly robbing me of all my senses? That’s not what looking at MIKI KIM‘s art feels like. Her paintings have tangible energy to them. It’s like you use all of your senses beholding her work. There’s a texture that leaps from the canvas, stunning your flesh like an icy wave. There’s a scent emanating from these images, warm and enticing, and you can taste their sweetness. And you can hear the vibrations coming from them, swirling into your eardrums and filling your head with percussion and melody. “Music is the most important part of my paintings,” she says.
As a tattooist, Kim exists in an artistic grey area in Seoul, where it’s illegal to give and get tattoos, but having them on your body is not illegal. Kind of like abortion in the south—you can get one, as long as it’s a secret. Tattooists have to hide their operations so they don’t face criminal charges. That’s something I definitely take for granted living in North America. In an interview with Tattoodo, Kim explains:
Tattooing in Seoul is very uncomfortable. I had to go to the police station several times, and every time I had doubts about what I was doing and I really wanted to quit. But I love my work. This job is to make me breathe. I do not want to quit. People’s perceptions will change, but it will take some time.
Check out a few of her paintings below…