The world lost a talented cartoonist and activist on October 3 when Kim Jung Gi, 47, passed away. A heart attack was cited as the official cause of his death.
Hyun Jin Kim, who frequently worked with him, said Jung Gi passed away in Paris. As he continued, he mentioned that Gi had chest problems at the airport and was rushed to a neighbouring hospital for surgery, but unfortunately, he passed away.
Kim Jung Gi was a native of the city of Goyang-Si in the South Korean province of Kyongki-Do. He was born there in 1975. When he was 19, he enrolled in a school for the arts and studied art and design.
After serving for two years in the South Korean army's Special Forces Unit, Jung Gi attended Dong-Eui University. During this time, he committed many types of weapons and automobiles to his memory. Throughout his career, he was lauded for his memory and ability to recall intricate sequences without prompting.
His debut work, Funny Funny, appeared in Young Jump, a weekly Japanese seinen manga magazine. He also wrote many short stories and worked closely with Tiger the Long Tail author Seung-Jin Park to put on exhibitions. In addition, Jung collaborated with French writer Bernard Werber, illustrating two of Werber's novels (Paradise and Third Humanity).
Jung received invitations to perform across Europe, the United States, and Asia. During the past 12 years, he filled six sketchbooks with 4,500 pages of sketches. Together with well-known Japanese artist Katsuya Terada, he also produced a notebook full of original artwork in 2017.
What was he like in person?
The artist himself is a mystery to those who have never seen him in action. The calmness of his personality stands in sharp contrast to the flashiness of his folio. He comes off as humble yet assured in front of the camera, speaking clearly and letting his work do the talking.
His process was just as fascinating as his finished products. Kim Sokol, an illustrator, retweeted a video of one of his live paintings and commented, "I'm not sure if non-artists grasp what a wizard he was; this just... this isn't how you draw. Even if this isn't how he usually works, the quality of his work was divine."
However, to create something like this in pen with no underdrawing is beyond belief. Kim Jung Gi, while doing his live paintings, would use a single black pen and a blank sheet of paper!
Discussions with the artist himself provide insight into his creative methodology. Toward the end of one video, he can be heard saying, "Basically, my hand is following my brain." Here was a performer who relied solely on his mind and body for inspiration. He was a true master of his craft.
We at Endless thank a truly generational artist who paved his path through art. His work ethic was genuinely inspiring, just like his talent, and his life and work deserve to be celebrated for many decades and centuries!