Kyung Me

While most millennials are absorbed in the fast-paced digital landscape, Yale MFA grad Kyung Me instead finds respite in a much slower, methodical pace. Using a medley of hatching and stippling with black pen on paper, the Korean-American artist conjures intricate surrealist dreamworlds that find inspiration in everything from Japanese woodcuts to William Blake. She is currently working on a series of seven drawings based on the Tale of Genji, the seductive 11th-century Japanese literary masterwork by Murasaki Shikibu.

Inspiration: “Ancient Japanese art frequently appears in my work, but I get a lot out of music too. I’m also drawn to creatives who are very meticulous, such as the 19th-century French printmaker Gustave Doré.”

Kyung Me, half mourning, 2018. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Her Process: Each drawing can take up to seven weeks, and the artist will go through 30 specialty pens from Japan.

Motivation: “Drawing allows me to understand myself and the world we exist in better. I used to be more anxiety ridden and had difficulty handling emotions. When I started drawing, I had a concentrated place to focus those energies.”

Up Next: A two-person exhibition at Bureau on New York’s Lower East Side. She’s also illustrating a children’s book inspired by The Velveteen Rabbit.

“I love her very detailed, fantastical imagery. The juxtaposition of the figures with either opulent or minimal interiors is very compelling.” —Beth Rudin DeWoody

Kyung Me, Copy Kitty series, 2016-2017. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2019 Late Fall Issue under the headline “Galerie Emerging Artist Award.” Subscribe to the magazine.


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