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.
Kim Jung Gi was so phenomenal it was hard to believe anyone could do the things he did. Completely unreal he died so suddenly. He was only slightly older than me. pic.twitter.com/eI8vcxlfSE
— Josh Sawyer (@jesawyer) October 5, 2022
Rest in peace Kim Jung Gi 🙏 thanks for everything you've done for the community and for years of inspiration pic.twitter.com/eQGqljR1CU
— RossDraws ✦ animeNYC 2331 (@Rossdraws) October 5, 2022
Thank you for taking us on a journey with your amazing artwork and illustrations. Rest in peace Kim Jung Gi – Your contributions to the gaming community will be remembered. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/8SLy3REsbE
— Riot Games (@riotgames) October 5, 2022
Kim Jung Gi was a human powerhouse with a seemingly endless drawing ability. I will miss watching him draw live every San Diego.
— Jimmy Palmiotti (@jpalmiotti) October 5, 2022
Was invited to a collab with the prodigal Kim Jung Gi. His sincere humility, endless talent and human grace was monumental. And he was really funny! We are all so lucky he lived in our lifetime. The real great ones make it look easy.
Adios Maestro KJG. https://t.co/Ywd4Dlc4oh
— Jorge R. Gutierrez (@mexopolis) October 5, 2022
We’re so sad to hear of Kim Jung Gi’s passing. He was a pioneering visual artist. You couldn’t watch him draw without being in complete wonderment. More inspiring was his appreciation & kindness towards his fans & his peers. Our hearts are with his friends & family ❤️ https://t.co/28jYiUo318
— New York Comic Con (@NY_Comic_Con) October 5, 2022