Michael Roy, who also goes by the moniker “Birdcap” is an American street artist and illustrator that hails from the southern state of Mississippi (also home to yours truly.) Although he is no longer living in Korea, he quite literally left his mark on the streets of the East Asian nation while he was working here as an English teacher and an artist.
Roy, who sees the beauty in the “active ruins” of the city’s forgotten neighborhoods of the past, in a city of the future, has created a unique contrast with his whimsical murals and colorful graffiti, which often incorporates Korean imagery and language. He notes, “In an age of such eclectic materialism and with an ever-increasing variety of digital media and sources, I have found in the raw physicality of buildings, a sobering vestige of site and memory.”
Urban art, also known as street art, is becomming more common throughout university neighborhoods like Hongdae and Shinchon. Many of the murals that can be found in these areas are expressive and offer insight into Korean culture
. Still, few of these art spaces are as unique and aesthetic as those in Naksan Park in northern Seoul.
There's no question that Seoul is a city for art lovers. From internationally renowned museums to obscure independent galleries, there's a space dedicated to just about every genre and medium of visual art. But it's not only in galleries that masterpieces can be found in the Korean capital.
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A trip to the Gamcheon Culture Village was one of the stranger excursions we’ve undertaken during our time in South Korea. This neighborhood in the west of Busan has dedicated itself to art, with murals, sculptures and installations that occupy entire houses. Visitors are taken on a tour which snakes through narrow alleys and ends at an observation deck with an amazing view over the city.
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Golden dragons, Lady Gaga knockoffs and… Mike getting eaten by a shark?! A walk around Busan is nothing if not consistently entertaining. Besides bizarre city scenes, this photo set includes a lot of shots which highlight Busan’s connection with the sea.