Tag Archives: art


Soo Min Kim Transforms Starbucks Paper Cups Into Art


The Starbucks siren is one of the most recognizable logos in the world, but for the past few years, Korean artist Soo Min Kim has been reinventing the iconic green siren’s image with his incredibly detailed and creative illustrations.

A self-described “paper cup artist,” Kim creates his art by first painting the cup white except for the siren and then drawing a new scene with a green marker. Kim has transformed hundreds of sirens into both original characters and pop-culture figures such as Psy, the Avengers, Darth Vader, and more. Recently, his art has become even more elaborate with cups now displaying cutouts and tea lights, adding depth to the illustrations.

Here are some of his amazing cup artworks:

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“Career” depicts a scene from the movie Wanted. (Photo: Soo Min Kim/Fseo)


Starbucks siren turned saiyan. Kamehameha! (Photo: Soo Min Kim/Fseo)


“Kentucky Fried Coffee” (Photo: Soo Min Kim/Fseo)

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“The Fighting” combines the use of a paper cup and painted canvas. (Photo: Soo Min Kim/Fseo)

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“Grow Up” uses various sizes of Starbucks cups from short to venti. (Photo: Soo Min Kim/Fseo)


A Starbucks cup that features Facebook’s “like” icon with a pop of blue. (Photo: Soo Min Kim/Fseo)

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“View From an Open Window” (Photo: Soo Min Kim/Fseo)


“Black Moon” (Photo: Soo Min Kim/Fseo)


The Starbucks siren as an Avenger. (Photo: Soo Min Kim/Fseo)

Kim occasionally posts time-lapse videos of his cup art process. To check out more of his Starbucks artworks, visit Kim’s official blog, Facebook, or YouTube.

Giant Rubber Duck

Giant Rubber Duck To Visit Seoul Amid Construction Tensions


The world-famous, giant rubber duck will visit Seoul in what may be the highest-profile foreign visit to Korea since Pope Francis arrived via Kia Soul in August.

Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s 300-kg (~660 lbs), 54-foot tall giant rubber duck will be on display for one month, beginning Oct. 14, in Seokchon Lake, next to Lotte Group’s controversial construction project in Seoul.

The site hasn’t been all too popular with anyone lately. The city has demanded additional safety and transport measures before allowing it to open, and the general public wasn’t too happy about the sinkholes that appeared in the area as well as the drop in water level in the lake. Neither the holes or water decline have been linked to the construction of the complex, but they certainly haven’t helped its image.

The rubber duck has drawn millions of visitors since it began touring around the world in 2007. According to its official website, The Rubber Duck Project is intended to “heal wounds” and relieve tension.”

Image via Rubber Duck Project Seoul

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Korean Ceramics Documentary to Enter Sundance


A documentary on the craft of Korean ceramics will be competing in the documentary portion of the upcoming Sundance Film Festival, reports the Korea Times.

A Thousand Year Journey, directed by Michael Oblowitz, explores the history of the craft in Korea, from the Goryeo Porcelains to the Joseon White Porcelain. It will feature five Korean master ceramicists and their processes in creating their pieces.

The documentary also explores the legacy of Korean ceramics in contemporary culture. Despite its rudimentary beginnings, there are influences of the art in the production of their transistor boards, motherboards and microchips, which are the basis for South Korea’s tech giants, Samsung and LG.

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The traditional craft of Korean ceramics has experienced a recent resurgence in Icheon, Korea, but it has yet to enjoy the same widespread global popularity of Chinese and Japanese ceramics, according to Edward Ahn, president of the Cultural Foundation of America. The documentary, he hopes, will increase knowledge of the art.

Photo via Yonhap

Blank Canvas Image

Aspiring Artists, the ‘Blank Canvas’ is Yours

Are you an aspiring artist or designer? KoreAm U’s Blank Canvas is here for you to showcase your work, all for free!

In a similar light to our Student Spotlight feature, Blank Canvas is another opportunity for students in KoreAm U to showcase themselves to the Korean American student community. We invite you to utilize this as a online portfolio-lite!

Here’s the information you’ll need to submit to create your own Blank Canvas profile:

School & Major
3-5 pieces of the work you’re most proud of, along with a title and short description of each piece
A link to your official online portfolio
A profile picture of yourself
Answer this question: Where you do you find your inspiration?

Please submit your information to koream.u@iamkoream.comwith the subject line, “BLANK CANVAS.” We will begin drawing up your profile immediately and let you know once it’s up!

Be sure to check out Student Spotlight, Alumni Archive and, for our writers, First Draft! If those don’t fit you, there’s always I Am KoreAm.


Adorable Drawings Made With Everyday Items by Hyemi Jeong


Hyemi Jeong is a 21-year-old Toronto-based engineering student, whose hobby is creating adorable and clever illustrations that incorporate everyday objects.

Simple and whimsical, Jeong’s drawings look like they’re straight from a children’s picture book. While food seems to be a common prop in her work, she uses a wide range of household items including jewelry, safety pins, bottle caps, and more.

“I came to Canada to study English a few months ago,” Jeong told the Digital Journal. “When I was in Korea, I didn’t have enough time to enjoy something I like. However, I have much free time here in Toronto, more than before.”

Jeong shares her illustrations on Instagram with over 5,000 followers. Below are some of her charming artworks:

If you like Hyemi’s work, check out more of her illustrations on Instagram.


Seoul Transforms Urban Eyesores Into Creative, Artistic Spaces


An unused factory, a vacated government building, an abandoned commercial space—all are considered eyesores for a city. But, more and more, such sites in Seoul are being replaced by “creative spaces” that that may be ushering in an artistic renaissance for the city, while also fighting urban blight.

Sindang Creative Arcade, for example, today is home to artists who do work in pottery, textiles, photography and other crafts, and have access to 41 workstations. But before this transformation, the place was described as a “dungeon” located in the underground shopping center of the Joongang Traditional Market in Sindang-dong, which had teemed with small businesses a decade ago but had long been empty.

The Sindang Creative Arcade is one of nine “creative spaces” created by the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, an arm of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Each creative space boasts a central theme that inspires the project. The Yeonhui Writer’s Village hosts writers’ rooms and a literary media lab, while the Seongbuk Art Creativity Center, built at an old community health center, focuses on healing-by-art programs.

Artist Ann Hyun-suk led the Folding Zip House project last year at the Seongbuk Center. It was a campaign with both artistic, as well as economic and humanistic value, as participants worked to transform old, donated clothes into sleeping bags for the homeless, according to the Korea Herald. The project promoted healing for everyone involved, from the citizens who donated their clothes for a good cause to the homeless who came “to realize that they are not neglected,” said the article.

Such projects represent an effort “rooted in a ‘culturenomics’ goal,” according to a statement from the Seoul foundation. The strategy is to recycle “underutilized urban facilities and resources,” while also supporting artists and benefiting Seoul citizens at large. The overarching goal: to transform Seoul into a “creative cultural city.”


Before and after photos of the underground section of the Joongang Traditional Market (via Korea Herald).

Artists can access these creative spaces by submitting an application and paying a minimal fee, while also committing to certain obligations, such as helping set up public programs, according to the Korea Herald article.

“Artists are foremost in need of a space where they can engage in artistic endeavors,” Ahn Kyung-hee, one of the artists in residence at the Sindang Creative Arcade, told the Korea Herald. And once these artists can realize their artistic aspirations in these spaces, they can foster a creative relationship with the public.



As part of the Folding Zip House Project, led by the Seongbuk Art Creativity Center, donated clothes were made into sleeping bags

for the homeless. The sleeping bags were displayed at the center’s gallery prior to their distribution. (Via Korea Herald)

Top photo via HansHostel.net


LACMA Exhibition Showcases Treasures from Korea


In one room, an immense painting of the disturbing yet almost beautiful torture of sinners by the Three Kings of Hell is prominently displayed. Expressions of despair, agony and cruel satisfaction are clearly detailed by the varying shades of green, brown and red ink on the masterfully woven silk. In another room, an engraving of a roaring dragon over tidal waves and mountains on a majestic brass jar sat along other ritual vessels.

Starting from June 29 until September 28, the Los Angeles County Museum or Art will be presenting “Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392–1910,” the first-ever, comprehensive exhibition of nearly 150 beautiful objects from Korea’s longest ruling dynasty. Viewers will get a chance to explore and experience the 500 years of traditions, custom and history of these artifacts, some of them considered national treasures.

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Colorful traditional dresses, elegantly painted porcelain jars, enormous scrolls containing messages from kings and commoners and stunning painted screens used for royal ceremonies are aesthetically set up in five different rooms. Michael Govan, the director of LACMA, described the exhibition an international collaboration that symbolizes the “culmination of the relationship between our two nations.”

Virginia Moon, assistant curator of Korean art at LACMA, viewed this exhibition to be important specifically for Los Angeles because the region boasts such a sizable Korean American population. However, Moon said this exhibition should also draw non-Koreans due to the growing awareness of Korea in the States. “Especially since more people know about Korean food, K-pop and K-drama so I think it’s a little easier to express interest in Korean art now,” she said.

For more information on the exhibit, visit lacma.org.

Top photo by Tony Kim.

Video Roundup: Crazy Korean Drivers, Spiral Art, Rappers Unite

Here’s a look at some of the videos we are watching this week at KoreAm.

Korean Tow Truck Breaking Traffic Laws

In South Korea, a camera mounted on a Korean tow truck captures the truck’s journey to an accident scene. The truck, however, didn’t just travel to the scene, it raced at least two other trucks to the accident scene. Along the way, the truck broke an outrageous amount of traffic laws by violently racing through the streets, crossing over into the opposing lanes, running red lights, nearly hitting other automobiles among other laws.

Spiral Artwork

Chan Hwee Chong, a Singaporean artist, uses a single black line to reproduce famous artwork from all over the world. His illustrations consist of a single black line spiraled into the likeness of a particular artwork.

Coast to Coast Collaboration

Asian American rappers from across the United States come together to collaborate on a new hip hop track. The black and white music video features the rappers rhyming about everything from music, women, life and other topics. New York’s Rekstizzy (a.k.a. KoreAm contributor David “Rek” Lee), Decipher from Philadelphia and Los Angeles’ very own Dumbfoundead put their own verses and experience into the song “No Apologies.”

India’s Toughest Warriors

The Warriors of Goja prove that they are some of toughest and most resilient men in India and, probably, the world. For an Indian talent show set up similarly to “America’s Got Talent,” this group of men showcase their talent of trying to destroy themselves. The Warriors violently attack themselves and each other with bricks, florescent bulbs, sledgehammers, spikes and even cars causing the judges to gasp in horror. In the end, all the men walked away battered, bruised and bleeding but that didn’t stop their smiles. This video is not for the weak-hearted.

South Korean Lawmaker Tear-Gases Parliament

Earlier this month, a South Korean lawmaker, Kim Sun-dong, tried to prevent a vote on a trade pact with the United States by releasing tear gas into the National Assembly chamber. This video captures the moment and chaos that ensued.

Chinese Pig Walks on Front Legs

In July of the year in Mengcheng County, Anhui Province, China, this piglet was born without its two hind legs. The piglet, called “Piggy the Strong” by the local villagers ways over 30kg. and mostly travels on his two front legs.

Have a video to share? Email linda@iamkoream.com!