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(Yonhap Interview) Yoon Da-in's awe-inspiring art blends reality with illusion

All News 09:58 July 27, 2016

By Woo Jae-yeon

SEOUL, July 27 (Yonhap) -- Most people who see Yoon Da-in's art can't take their eyes off it. She creates amazing optical illusions, so mind-blowing that one might easily suspect that the images are photoshopped.

But the 22-year-old artist is darn serious about her art, spending at least 10 hours to complete one piece of work and constantly thinking about her next project.

The young artist has recently become an online sensation as her works posted on her social media accounts grabbed global attention. Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher said on his Facebook on June 28, "I can't stop staring at her work," and shared a video clip about her artwork. The video was played more than 280,000 times.

In a recent interview with Yonhap News Agency, she said she hadn't been a big fan of such services, until, of course, digital self-promotional tools helped her illusion art go viral.

"I didn't understand why people are obsessed with it but I've learned how powerful it can be," Yoon said. "Once used wisely, it will do more good than harm."

Although the sudden, unexpected outpouring of attention has left her dazed, she isn't someone who just popped up out of nowhere. As a no-nonsense artist, she rejects instant popularity and wants her art to be recognized further down the road.

Watching her artist mother paint all the time while she was growing up, Yoon also showed a bent for art early on. Since her early teens, she's painted more than 10 hours a day to practice and hone her skills to be admitted to one of the country's best art schools. She was particularly good at realistic pictures.

Now a senior at Korea National University of Arts, majoring in stage art, she spent the first three years learning theatrical and cinematic art and doing makeup for actors. The school's high demand for hands-on experience encouraged her to get actively involved in practical works on a stage or film set.

While she always enjoyed her work, she couldn't help but feel something was incomplete, she said.

"There was always an unquenchable thirst for me becoming the main character of my work," Yoon said. "I was not supposed to make myself stand out when I do makeup for other actors."

She realized that she longed for the spotlight and that she wanted to use her body and face as the canvas of her own creation.

"Come to think of it, I'd never painted things I wanted. I thought it would be the most honest form of art if I express my art with my body," she said.

In her art, she perfectly blends into the background, arresting instant attention from viewers. Although every piece is equally hard, aligning and matching the patterns of the background with those of her face and body is particularly challenging, Yoon said. When she does performance art in public, there is additional restraint put in place on her movements as awe-struck passers-by can't stop staring at her or even touching her.

Unlike other arts where pieces of creation physically remain, she has no choice but to wash off the paintings from her body after a project finishes.

"Of course I feel bad about removing hours of work," she said. "But on the other hand, the fleeting nature is the beauty of it."

Now she's working on a collaboration with a local company, and it's expected to be made public within a few months. A young, eager artist, she is open to any future collaboration.

"As long as it needs the originality of my work and other people can sympathize with it, I am all for it," Yoon said.


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