Born in South Korea in 1980, Minseok Kang, who goes by the artist moniker KangCar, has been passionate about cars since childhood. Pursuing Fine Arts at Dong-A University, he earned a Bachelor's degree in 2007 and a Master's degree in 2010. Of his artistic style, he writes, “Over time, my artwork shifted from emphasizing external car beauty to portraying my unique style, incorporating elements of time, space, relationships, and culture.”
Currently, KangCar depicts distorted car shapes “symbolizing the modern generation's pursuit of happiness and self-made paths amid fierce competition.” Using acrylics, he employs a technique of scraping paint with a squeegee and incorporates embroidery for artificial straight lines, speed, and temporal shapes.
KangCar has exhibited and collaborated on numerous exhibitions, including the 2017 Jeonnam Moto Festival, MINI Motors, Hyundai Motors.
OpenSea: We’d love to start with a macro question about your art. Who or what are your biggest inspirations and influences when creating?
KangCar: I primarily draw upon the visual beauty of automobiles, but I capture the narrative of my inner self in my artwork. Amidst the uncertainties of the future and the conflicts within, I employ various techniques and painting styles to depict the relentless force of a car hurtling forward with unresolved power. By adopting the distorted form of a car at intense speeds, I aim to represent the vehicle as the shadow of my identity, inner desires, and anger—a beast within.
I have a memory of meeting Tadakazu Kojima, the professional Japanese racer who won the Ferrari Challenge Europe Finali Mondiali Mugello around 2015. When with him I felt his intense inner energy, and through the experience of riding an old classic Porsche 356a Speedster, I have been attempting to explore the meaning of the connection between humans and cars. Racing against competitive cars has led me to experiment with various expressions of speed and power through art.
OpenSea: Can you tell us about your artistic background and how you first entered the world of web3 and NFTs?
KangCar: I became acquainted with web3 in January 2022, and I [created my first collection on] OpenSea through OrangeHare.io in Korea. In the NFT space, I aim to approach my work with a fresh perspective that is different from traditional paintings, resulting in the creation of my current series titled “Scoops of Nostalgia.”
In the process of creating art, a surplus of residual materials tends to accumulate—paint chips, paper clippings, drippings, and more. Over an extended period, I collect these remnants and meticulously shape them into diverse forms, documenting the transformation through stop-motion photography. This becomes a tangible representation of the interconnected essence of time and memory. For me, this takes the form of an everlasting ice cream cone that will exist forever on-chain: perpetually spinning, never melting.
Ice cream symbolizes sweetness and freshness. Through this representation, I sought to express the beauty of time, memories, and eternal happiness. Additionally, I wanted to showcase new possibilities within the NFT space. Starting from there, I have been actively engaged on art platforms such as OpenSea, Foundation, and MakersPlace.
OpenSea: What is the inspiration behind your new collection, Scoops of Nostalgia? Would you say this collection represents a departure or evolution from your previous work?
KangCar: At first, I captured the frontal view of the ice cream through photographs. However, the beauty of its rear and side profile was so captivating that I decided to suspend it in the air and shoot a 360-degree rotation. As a result, the expressive range of the ice cream expanded.In the early days of NFTs, there were often instances where [art] was destroyed to increase the scarcity of [its digital counterpart]. However, I believe that by preserving both the physical and the digital work of my ice cream artwork, the boundaries between reality and the virtual realm could coexist. Therefore, I create both physical art and NFT art.
Ice cream is a universally beloved sweet dessert. However, it is not merely a sweet treat. It embodies a presence that resonates with our memories and nostalgia. With my ice cream creations, my objective is to enchant people's imagination and evoke their cherished recollections. To bring this vision to life, I added vibrant colors to the background to express beauty, composed music to allow the taste to be imagined through sound and collaborated with various musicians to present artworks that uniquely express the personality of each ice cream cone. Numerous endeavors were undertaken to continually refine and elevate the overall quality of my work.
“Scoops of Nostalgia” is not just a simple photo or painting; it is a complex composition of various elements. Therefore, I spent a considerable amount of time harmonizing all these elements, including the form of the ice cream, background, music, and more. While ice cream is my representative subject, I also work on various themes such as flowers, supermarkets, and moving cars in original paintings. If an object holds special meaning for me, I do not impose any limitations on expressing it.
“Scoops of Nostalgia” is a collection that encapsulates memories from my childhood. I believe that as time passes, memories of happiness, sorrow, and love undergo transformations and distortions, becoming simpler. My own childhood memories have also become simplified, and I chose to express them through the unique flavors and imaginative forms of ice cream.
Likewise, I have been conducting experimental endeavors that can be showcased to the public offline. I've previously attempted to integrate holographic technology and spatial cards to incorporate augmented reality (AR) in both virtual and physical spaces in my work and may continue to do that in the future.
Through NFTs, I hope to enable the experience of artworks created in virtual spaces to transcend into the physical realm. Additionally, I aspire to facilitate the sharing of artworks created in physical spaces into virtual spaces. I believe that by connecting the spaces of web3 and reality, we can provide people with more experiences and opportunities worldwide.
OpenSea: Who or what else excites you in the web3 and NFT space right now?
KangCar: As I continue to venture into web3, I am struck with amazement. Especially this year, amidst the influx of countless open-source creations, including images and videos utilizing AI.
Take, for example, Damien Hirst's “spin generated” works, which freely navigate the realms of the original and the digital, employing a strategy of mass production and sales. Additionally, his experimental move to destroy thousands of physically produced pieces suggests that NFTs were born with values closer to conceptual art. However, it seems that such endeavors, while generating attention, have not managed to alter the current course of the NFT space. This might be attributed to the strong emphasis on the artistic centrality of individual creators. However, I believe that if artists explore and create through more diverse methods and solidify their artistic concepts, it could give rise to new trends in art.
OpenSea: As the NFT and web3 ecosystem continues to evolve, what developments or trends are you most excited about, and how do you see them shaping the future of web3 art?
KangCar: I continue to monitor the ever-evolving ecosystem of web3. Each time advanced technologies such as various AI techniques and AR/VR emerge, I feel a sense of novelty and excitement. Furthermore, I anticipate that NFT art, incorporating a fusion of diverse technologies, will become even more varied. However, despite the significant attention NFTs garnered in early 2022, with numerous artists participating, the current situation reveals the disappearance of many artists. I attribute this to the rapid pace of market trends, resulting in a shortened lifespan and attention to new works. Therefore, while I am eager to see how the atmosphere will develop in 2024, I acknowledge that it's an aspect beyond our control.
In the end, I believe that for artists who have been expressing art for a long time, showcasing satisfying works and continuously experimenting with mediums is crucial for growth. Reflecting on 2023, many events unfolded in the blink of an eye. NFTs represent a new attempt for artists, providing an opportunity to expand the realm of expression and foster growth. Therefore, I think it is essential to fortify this field and progress towards digital art.
I had a delightful time being able to introduce my artistic world and “Scoops of Nostalgia” to OpenSea. Thank you very much.
You can find KangCar in the following places: