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Contemporary Artist

TAEJIN, SEONG
Originally trained as a printmaker, the contemporary Korean artist Taejin Seong has transformed the traditional art of woodblock printing into something new. Rather than carving the wood to print multiples, Seong embosses and carves the surface with highly detailed narratives, and then paints his images with layers of acrylic. Each panel of wood is a self-contained feat of comic book art. Seong’s palette, a mix of creamy pastel colors and bright hues, brings to mind cartoon illustrations from around the world, as well as the colorful striped patterns of saekdong, the traditional Korean costume commonly worn by children. The whimsical, dreamlike worlds he creates certainly evoke childhood, yet his compositions and pictorial references are thoroughly sophisticated. Blurring the line between painting and wood carving, Seong embosses passages of the panel with Korean Hangul text, adding patterns that look printed, ironically. In a labor intensive, exacting process, he carves images into the wood using a knife, and paints them in using layers of acrylic. The effect is highly graphic yet richly textured.