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Illusion painting artist Dain Yoon at LA Art Show 2024 reveals her artworks

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Dain Yoon, an internationally acclaimed Korean illusion painting artist, held her first solo exhibition at the LA Art Show.

Yoon’s unique genre of “illusion art” creates visual illusions through body painting.

Her body paintings, which create an optical illusion that is more realistic than computer graphics, have garnered worldwide attention and have been featured on CNN, BBC, ABC, and other media outlets. In 2020, she appeared on the U.S. talk show “The Ellen Show” to showcase her face paintings.

Yoon has also collaborated with Apple, Adidas, Tate Modern, Van Gogh Museum, Netflix, and more.

In her solo exhibition at the LA Art Show (Booth No. 1013/1112), which runs through Sunday, February 18, Yoon will present 16 oil paintings on canvas (153cm x 105cm each) titled ‘I’ of the Beholder.

The Korea Daily spoke with Yoon at the LA Art Show on February 15.

Illusion painting artist Dain Yoon poses in front of a work inspired by her own eyes at the 2024 LA Art Show. [Sangjin Kim, The Korea Daily]

The following is an edited excerpt from the interview

-You’re exhibiting canvas paintings, not body paintings.
“Yes, I did painting on canvas instead of body painting. I’m known for painting on my face, but it has the disadvantage that I have to erase it. So I tried various things to make it a permanent work. Then, during the pandemic, I tried oil on canvas, and it worked well for me. I worked on it for about a year and finished it.”

-Why did you choose to paint eyes?
“I’ve always worked a lot with eyes, but this time I wanted to express the emotion of anxiety through eyes. I don’t usually have anxiety, but in 2019, I faced anxiety for the first time, and it was unfamiliar because it was not easily controlled. I captured 16 different eye shapes with anxiety in time-lapse, which is how I relieve and release my emotions while making art. I wanted to express my emotions in a raw way, so I exhibited them with the canvas fabric exposed. This is the first time I’m showing all 16 pieces together.”

-What were the viewers’ reactions?
“In particular, there were many people who asked me very detailed questions that I didn’t expect, such as ‘why the right eye’ and ‘why broken blood vessels in this painting’. Usually in Korea, some people say ‘it’s weird’ when they see it for the first time, but in the U.S., the reaction was generally positive, so I thought that my work is definitely on the unique side of works in the U.S. (laughs).”

-You are getting a lot of attention around the world.
“I’m grateful for that. I was going through a difficult time in college, and I was lucky that I started my personal work and posted it on social media, so I got attention from the beginning. Foreign media was interested in my work because it was a bit unusual, so it became a topic of interest in Korean media. I thought it shouldn’t be temporary interests, so I worked almost like a photographer and produced several works.”

-What are your thoughts on participating in the LA Art Show?
“Of course, painting is art, but I think showcasing your work is also an art form. In that sense, I participated for the first time last year with other artists, and this year I participated for the second time and had my first solo exhibition, which is very special. Also, there were so many Korean artists at the LA Art Show that I realized the popularity of K-art, and I was proud. In particular, on Saturday, the 17th, at 6 p.m., I plan to present a performance about the funny incident that happened when I went to get my passport renewed two years ago. I hope many people will come and join us.”

Meanwhile, the 2024 LA Art Show, which runs through the 18th, features more than 100 global galleries, museums, and nonprofit arts organizations.

This year, nine Korean galleries are participating, leading the way for Korean art figures to showcase the best of K-Art in Los Angeles.

The LA Art Show is held at the LA Convention Center West Hall (1201 S Figueroa St. LA), and admission is $35. Tickets can be purchased at laartshow.com.

BY SUAH JANG, JUNHAN PARK    [jang.suah@koreadaily.com]