Kim-Hyunji-Artist

Meet Kim Hyunji, the Melbourne-based artist exploring selfie culture through oil painting

Kim Hyunji is the young Melbourne-based artist to know

August 13, 2018

Kim Hyunji is a 20-something artist from South Korea based in Melbourne whose expressive and hyperrealistic oil-paintings are some of the best we’ve ever seen. Through the lens of oil paint, Kim explores the relationship between millennials and social media, in particular how Instagram lends itself to identity creation. Her culturally-diverse subjects range from her close friends to her Melbourne-based peers. She references social media photography through her expert use of high contrast, and the inclusion of reflective and transparent materials. We got to know the young talent including what inspires her, her move into makeup artistry and what’s next on the cards for her here.

Kim-Hyunji-Artist

Photography: Lekk Porter @lekklekklekk
Fashion: Julia Sarteschi @juliasarteschi
MUA: Hyunji Kim @kimkimkimoo
Hair: Banan Mahmoud @bananawithoutthea

Hey Kim, how did you first get into art?

My mom and my grandparents on my mother’s side are all artists themselves, they influenced me to draw and paint since I was young. I grew up surrounded by their artworks and art books they owned. It certainly affected my ability to look at art, especially paintings.

“My mom and my grandparents on my mother’s side are all artists… I grew up surrounded by their artworks and art books.”

As well as being an artist, you're also studying makeup art. What inspired this transition?

Since I moved to Melbourne, I did a couple of editorial photo shoots as a makeup artist by extending my painting practice, and it was a very intriguing experience. I see makeup as a medium to extend my creativity further from my main medium, painting.  

My painting’s subject is mostly portraiture and I believe there is a strong correlation between these two mediums. I have also been hired as a model by Melbourne designers who value diversity. This experience made me interested in the industry because of its collaborative nature.

“I see makeup as a medium to extend my creativity further from my main medium, painting.”

What artists or make up artists inspire you?

Alex Box is my favourite makeup artist and Jenny Saville is my favourite painter.

“I’ve modeled for Melbourne designers who value diversity. This experience made me interested in the industry because of its collaborative nature.”

What are some of your favourite makeup products to use?

An eyeliner pen. I'm still hunting for the best one. I don’t really have a favorite brand, if it’s affordable and it works, it’s for me.

What song or album have you got on repeat right now?

Horace Silver - Song for my Father. I’ve also been listening to Jorja Smith's Lost & Found album quite regularly the last few months. I’m obsessed with FKA Twigs forever and I love Kali Uchis, Kari Faux and Yaeji.

What fashion item would you buy if money were no object?

Gucci’s (lol) new pink jersey jacket and the latest footwear from Prada - they are so good but I can only dream!

What's your most prized fashion or art possession?

I collect my friend’s artwork whenever I get a chance. My favorite artworks from my collection are by Patrick Doherty, Ryan Boserio, Iain Dean and Jessica Tan. Fashion wise, I've been obsessed with Adidas and Yohji Yamamoto for a pretty long time. I love all my trackie babies!

“I collect my friend’s artwork whenever I get a chance. My favorite artworks from my collection are by Patrick Doherty, Ryan Boserio, Iain Dean and Jessica Tan.”

What's next on the cards for you?

I’m currently working on a group show ‘ANON’ which I’m curating. It opened on the 6th of September at the SOMA gallery in Brunswick, Melbourne. In a couple of months I have a Black Swan Prize finalist group show at the Art Gallery of Western Australia and then I have a solo exhibition ‘Ephemera’ at Bein Art Gallery in Brunswick in December. Yes I’m shamelessly promoting - please come if you are in Melbourne! :)

Where can we see more of your amazing art and make up creations?

My art Instagram account is kimkimkimxx and my makeup one is kimkimkimoo. You can check out more of my work on my website and in real life at my exhibitions <3

Clothing Credits

1 & 2: Top & pants- Verner
3 & 4: Hat & coat- Alex McQuire, shoes - stylist's own
5 & 6: Suit- Abhaya, earrings - Ada Hodgson
7/8/9: Suit & glove- Helena Dong, earrings - Ada Hodgson
10 & 11: Coat- Arnsdorf, earrings - Ada Hodgson
12 & 13: Top- Verner, gloves - Madeleine Jost, earrings - Ada Hodgson