As we eagerly await the arrival of The Gateway Korea, we invite you to join us on the journey to our flagship event going global. The Gateway will feature an audio-visual gallery where art, technology, and community unite. Attendees will also be able to engage in fireside chats with visionary creators worldwide, representing both Western and Eastern cultures.
As we are on the road to Korea, we’ve interviewed some of the biggest Korean creators in the Web3 space who will be exhibiting at the event, each pioneering their artistic journey in unique ways.
DeeKay Kwon, commonly called “DeeKay Motion,” is a renowned 2D animator from South Korea. While he calls himself “just an ordinary animator” in his social media— he is far from it. With over a decade of experience in animation, DeeKay ventured into the NFT space almost three years ago, pushing the boundaries of traditional art.
To this day, he continues to explore new horizons within the digital realm in an extraordinary way. One notable instance is his recent partnership with digital art patron Cozomo de’ Medici to release his first-ever open-edition artwork on Base with Coinbase L2 and Friends With Benefits (FWB). Following a successful mint, the reclusive artist chose to share more of his personal story publicly. DeeKay further engaged in a conversation with nft now, delving into his journey, a deeper exploration of his cultural identity, and his artistic creation for The Gateway: Korea.
During his formative years, DeeKay candidly recounts grappling with a lack of focus across various school subjects. Instead of following conventional academic pursuits, his days were immersed in daydreams and sketches that offered solace within his artwork.
He eventually decided to attend art school, where he discovered and honed his passion for drawing. The introduction to an animation class marked a turning point. Hours were spent meticulously crafting frame after frame, revealing an unforeseen capacity for concentration.
“I found myself immersed in drawing frame by frame for eight straight hours, amazed by my newfound ability to focus which I never thought I was capable of,” DeeKay shared. “I realized I am not dumb after all.”
Now, after a decade in animation and experiences in production, DeeKay had big companies such as Google and Apple under his belt. Though financial stability was achieved, a creative void persisted. Despite attaining financial stability, a creative void lingered. His post-work hours were devoted to meticulously crafting deeply passionate personal art, which he shared over a period of 7 years on Instagram.
Eventually, after support from a growing audience, DeeKay reached 400k followers, fueling his artistic motivation. After discovering NFTs, he hasn’t looked back since. Casting his gaze back at this remarkable journey, it’s clear that his path to success was not linear. The initial struggles with focus were not indicators of intellect, but rather the hunt for his true passion.
‘Am I Dreaming?’ at The Gateway: Korea
DeeKay will be presenting a recent one-of-one artwork titled ‘Am I Dreaming?’, which was successfully auctioned through AOTM. Describing the piece, he elaborates, ” It’s basically a self-portrait that visualizes how I spend most of my time. I’m usually, like alone in the dark, you know, constantly thinking about ideas and trying to bring them to life.”
DeeKay goes on to reveal the intricate layers within the artwork, explaining, “It’s a mixture of struggle, enjoyment, and sleepiness, and I usually work a lot during like very late hours. A lot of the time, I run into a wall and doubt myself sometimes, and then I take a short nap. ” The piece’s inception stemmed from his desire to showcase his work style realistically, as he concludes, “I wanted to visualize that and animate that somehow. So that’s how I came up with the piece.”
Identity: From stereotypes to acceptance
DeeKay says the recent global recognition of Korean culture has been unfolding for the past few years, citing K-pop, Korean cuisine, and Korean movies as main influences.
“Korea has consistently been at the forefront of technological trends,” he said. “It feels natural for Koreans to embrace new technological advancements.”
While Asian culture is increasingly being embraced in the U.S., DeeKay, as a Korean American, faced his fair share of racial stereotypes and prejudice. Reflecting upon his journey, he realized the deep-seated biases he encountered and how they shaped his experiences. It wasn’t until later in life that he fully grasped the magnitude of the challenges he faced due to these preconceptions.
“I had to try extra hard to make friends in general. When they look at Korean people or Asians in general, they would think of someone who is very nerdy and not very popular or athletic,” He recalled. “Now, while all this Korean influence is happening worldwide, I wonder, [what] would it be to experience high school life again?
Observing shifts in societal attitudes, he noted, “It seems American kids are more open and accepting of Asians in general now. I’s good to see the changes that are happening. It makes me proud.”
Yet, despite challenges, the prospect of returning to the corporate world in America did not evoke fear in DeeKay. His unwavering commitment to art remained steadfast, deriving fulfillment from the connections formed through his creative expressions.
“I spent half of my life in Korea and the other half in America,” DeeKay shared, providing insight into his artistic journey. “This dual background has profoundly shaped me as an artist. The charm, aesthetics, and nostalgia that people associate with my art are undeniably influenced by Korean culture. Conversely, the simplicity of design finds its roots in the American context.”
While hailing from Korea, DeeKay pursued education in San Diego and subsequently attended graphic design school, a factor he regarded as instrumental in shaping his artistic sensibilities.
A positive future
DeeKay’s narrative also echoes the broader shifts in cultural perception and acceptance. The journey from enduring stereotypes to being part of the catalyst for change showcases the transformative potential of art and culture. The emergence of NFTs further exemplifies his adaptability and willingness to embrace the cutting-edge, capturing the zeitgeist of a rapidly changing world.
In addition to exhibiting at The Gateway: Korea, DeeKay will also present his first-ever solo exhibition during Korea Blockchain Week.
In the end, DeeKay’s story is a reminder that our narratives are not merely etched by external circumstances but sculpted by our own choices and the passions that ignite our spirits. Through every twist and turn, he emerges as an artist, a storyteller, and a symbol of perseverance, reminding us that every journey has the power to shape and inspire, both in art and beyond.