“I believe the human body is an assembly of will and I try to express it with a bunch of twisted muscles,” says South Korean artist, Hongmin Lee. In his pencil drawings, paintings and digital artworks, characters are literally ripped apart, transformed into monsters or grotesque beings whose flesh, tendons and tissue are clearly visible.
Lee was born in Seoul in 1982. Pressured by a strict education system and traditional culture, the artist took refuge in comics, manga and animated film, finally going on to study animation at the Korea National University of Arts. Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dr. Slump and Dragonball, and Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo have both had a profound influence on Lee’s work, which often addresses themes of identity or coming of age.
After graduating, Lee set up the arts collective Goo For Brothers, together with Seungchul Oh and Jaejung Beck. Bringing together a shared love of kaiju and experimental imagery, the creative trio have been active since the early 2010s in illustration, fine art, graffiti, comics and animation.
In parallel, Lee has continued to develop his individual career, completing a residency in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2014, and participating in various groups shows in South Korea, including at the Seoul Museum of Art. His first solo presentation took place at the i-Space Gallery Seoul in 2015.