Stickymonger paints snippets from her own internal cinema that capture the quiet beauty of everyday life.

Korean artist Stickymonger is known for her manga-esque portraits of young women with subtle elements of surrealism. Spread across installation, sculpture, and painting, the figures have a nostalgic sense of loneliness — contemplative, but also content in their own company.

Select Achievements
  • Solo show, Lonesome Planet at Four You Gallery, Dubai, 2020
  • Solo show, Parallel Universe with Unveiled Limited at Space27, Hong Kong, 2019
  • Solo show, On a Clear Day at Hidari Zingaro Gallery, Tokyo, 2019
  • Solo show, Searching For Something That Isn't There at AFA Gallery, New York, 2018
  • Group show, Frieze Art Fair with Kaikai Kiki Gallery, New York, 2019
  • Group show, Art Basel Hong Kong with Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Hong Kong, 2019
© James Chororos_Stickymonger_Avant Arte_Mendo_21

The works are created with spray paint and acrylic, along with fibreglass sculptures, and vinyl sticker installations. Japanese anime from the late 70s and 80s informs Stickymonger’s practice, namely Galaxy Express 999 and Toward Terra. She is also inspired by the combination of surrealism and figuration in the work of Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico, as well as daily life in her hometown New York. The works often feature gaping holes though the girls’ faces, otherworldly creatures and moody cigarette breaks, creating a subtle yet strange tableaux with a broody Noir feel.

Bad Habit, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.
“I just want to capture these never-ending moments and feelings that inspire me.”

Stickymonger’s work straddles reality and fantasy. Cosmic Tower (2016), for example, is a series of black vinyl sticker installations pasted across the panoramic windows of the World Trade Centre’s 69th floor. In one window of the installation, two of Stickymonger’s trademark figures lay on their fronts, facing each other. In the middle of them, is a dark abyss which the two girls look down into with casual fascination. Behind them, the city appears small and insignificant, as if they were gods in a transcendent world purer than our own.

Cosmic Tower
Cosmic Tower, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.

The human condition is at the root of Stickymonger’s practice, with strength and vulnerability side by side. In her earlier works, motifs like bandages and plasters are a metaphor for emotional pain and resilience. This, paired with the youthful essence of her subjects, feels uncomfortable, as their nonchalant expressions appear far too familiar with the suggested acts of violence marked on their bodies. In her later works, the subdued monochromatic colour palettes create a grainy form of contrast, pairing the bold shades of light and dark, with the uncertainty of grey. In a celebration of the small things that make us who we are and life what it is, Stickymonger invites the viewer, just like a cinematic cliff-hanger, to complete the narrative for themselves.

Unqualified Asian Suck at Chopsticks
Unqualified Asian Suck at Chopsticks, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.
When Tobacco Meets Milk
When Tobacco Meets Milk, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.
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