Yoon Hyup

Composing with paint

Yoon Hyup was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1982. He now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.


Yoon Hyup studied violin for most of his childhood, before going to college to study industrial design. He had ambitions to design skateboards, but once he discovered painting it became his new focus.

Did you know?

Yoon got his start doing live painting to DJ sets in a public venue. The music was a mix of hip hop, funk, soul and disco. Letting music guide his compositions remains at the heart of his work.

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Collaborations with this artist

Practice overview

Yoon Hyup translates the world around him into a medley of lines and dots. They’re painted in a variety of scenes, from raindrops on a window to entire cityscapes of New York. Working with acrylic on canvas, he creates flat orbs of colour that resemble light flares. The rhythmic quality of these marks reflects music's influence on his work. Sounds guide his compositions – he compares painting to jazz improvisation. He also uses colour to, quite literally, create harmony. Each is carefully selected to represent a different note, so that together they build a chord.

Yoon explores the city on a skateboard, making his experience of it uniquely tactile. He says, “When I skate, I feel rhythm. I feel like I become a flowing water that never stops.” On a similar wavelength, his own experiences of the city and the streets often become inspiration. He uses lines and dots freely to create his minimalistic and abstract paintings. Improvisation and flexibility are vital to his art, and each painting is like a score of a dance of the places he’s been.