Animamix virtuoso feeling 'Loveless'
Celebrated South Korean artist Eddie Kang recently turned up in Shanghai at WonderFestival 2018 launching his “Loveless” pop toy in collaboration with IPSTAR.
The new move indicates the artist’s intention to bring his signature colorful, caricature-laden taste into a wider audience and make art accessible.
He was also chosen as the latest creative force to lend his taste to South Korean leather goods brand MCM’s artist series, featuring a capsule collection of phone charms, cases, handbags and wristlets, released in March. By collaborating with well-known global brands or other organizations, Kang can better share his stories, philosophy and message with a much wider audience, and in so doing hopefully inspire a positive change in the world.
Everything came natural to Kang as he grew up under his artist mom’s influence.
“As my mom showed me so many American contemporary artworks, I had always dreamt about being part of that world,” he said.
After graduation from the Rhode Island School of Design, he started to develop his own distinct art style, which Taiwan curator Victoria Lu defines as “animamix.”
“She recognized me at an early stage of my career in Seoul and invited me to different shows. My first international show happened in Shanghai at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2007 as a participant along with artists such as Takashi Murakami and the group show was called ‘Animamix,’” Kang said. “Animamix” is the term invented by Lu, fusing animation and comics.
Kang creates fictional space drawn from his memories and imagination. Through symbolic icons, he reveals his perspective on urban society and expresses the lonesome emotions people feel amid busy crowds.
He draws personal objects, such as his puppy, toys he played with and characters based on his personal memories and emotions. The renowned dog motif that found his place in the MCM collection, also figure of the pop toy, is inspired by Kang’s puppy who was badly abused and about to be abandoned by his former master before Kang’s family adopted him. He was so mentally hurt at the time so Kang named him “loveless.”
“Past connects myself to the future. Time passes; technology develops; people become lonely and easily forget about valuable things. My works show my longing for purity. I want people to reconnect with their childhood, to look back on themselves, and I believe memories and purity from the past is not lost,” he said.
“Preoccupied by technology and racing to get ahead in the capitalist economy, people are prone to lose their identities in a systematized modern culture. I feel the phenomenon will only get worse as so many people get used to living alone and feel loneliness. And I want to talk about such unbearable loneliness with my dolls, drawings and paintings; I believe in the power of healing by caring and sharing love.”
Kang said he wants to create public installations so people can touch.
“I want people to feel and touch the works that apply to them directly. Sometimes when you do museum and gallery shows, it’s still limited to a certain crowd of people. To break the barrier, I want my artworks go public and access to a bigger audience, just like this ‘Loveless’ pop toy we are distributing now in the Chinese mainland,” Kang said.