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Artists around the world remember Kim Jung Gi’s genius following the art legend’s passing at 47

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The art world finds itself grieving as the news of Kim Jung Gi’s passing shakes creatives everywhere. His passing at age 47 was announced by the Daniel Maghen art gallery where he had been doing live drawing shows and signing sessions this past month.

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Kim Jung Gi is a South Korean illustrator that has been deemed an art god by many. Famous for the intricate scenes that he accomplished at an unbelievable speed and seemingly effortless strokes, usually in front of a live audience as he narrated his process, he definitely was a one-of-a-kind genius that the creatives around the world are happy to have known, learned from, and been inspired by.

It’s not often that you can see a blank canvas turn into a complex, highly detailed, and provoking illustration before your eyes with no sketches or references and in such a limited time. So the way he left artists — from rookies and casual enthusiasts to seasoned professionals and big names — mesmerized was never a surprise.

Jung Gi has done so much for modern art. His astonishing ability to bring such sophisticated works of art straight from brain to ink has enriched the world of cartoonists, animators, designers, comic book artists, and visual novelists everywhere. From his first publication — Funny Funny in Young Jump magazine — and countless contributions to manhwa art, to illustrating for iconic Marvel and DC titles, his talent never ceased to bring life to stories and ideas that people love.

He also never shied away from sharing his knowledge and passion for what he does. Throughout his career, he’s been invited to hold lectures and live sessions around the world that always fill seats with artists who aspire to create masterpieces like his and see his creative process up close. In fact, just before the pandemic, Jung Gi graced the Philippines with his presence at Graphika 2020.

“The personal enjoyment [and] the fun that comes with drawing and in expressing these forms of art are what I believe to be the most important things for me,” he told adobo Magazine during a quick chat backstage.

As the world is still coming to terms with the loss of an art legend, people everywhere — from fans to peers — have been voicing out in tribute posts what the late artist meant to them and how he shaped the creative spaces they exist in.

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