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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Korean Graffiti Artist Chris Shim Paints the Ideal of Multiculturalism

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[Instagram @royaldog_]
[Instagram @royaldog_]

Graffiti writer Chris “Royal Dog” Chanyang Shim flew from Korea to visit four cities in the US. For 89 days Shim visited New York, Modesto, Los Angeles, and San Francisco and drew his own definition of multiculturalism.


Shim decided to travel across the US to quench his thirst for free space and atmosphere to paint. At his first stop in Bronx, NY, he painted the three favorite rappers of his – Jay-Z, T.I., and Big Pun. People reacted to the mural with enthusiasm, and Shim was soon invited to California to display his artwork further.

It was in front of an empty wall at LA’s Container Yard where he decided to embrace something new. He drew an African-American girl and dressed her up with the Korean traditional dress, hanbok. Shim explains that he was inspired by a simple thought that those two elements will go beautifully and uniquely with each other.

The outcome proves that he was right. Whether it’s colorful or monotonous, hanboks Shim painted go perfectly well with beautiful girls in the portraits. Calligraphy and flowers frequently appear in traditional Korean paintings are additional elements that accentuate the harmony.

Through his graffiti art, Shim realizes the ideal portrait of multiculturalism. It is not the unusual combination of a black woman wearing Korean traditional outfit, but how the two get along with each other effortlessly. The harmony in his murals suggests the direction our multicultural society should progress toward.


By Heewon Kim