Shay Kun, born in Israel in 1974, is known for his hyper-surrealist style. The oeuvre of Kun’s artwork is embodied in three series, Tear Drops, Lift Off (Hot Air Balloons), and Slums.
As an artist who is firmly averse to painting from the real-world, Shay’s central focus is to contrast the decay of the artificial with that of the natural to create an organic digital removal from the original image. The images that attract and inspire the artist have been deconstructed and reproduced thoroughly. When struck by an image that overwhelms Shay, it prompts him to explore and dissect it, with his interest in the mechanism of perception as opposed to the actual subject.
His inspiration comes from a variety of sources, from the hand-carved hot air balloon toys that his parents, both of whom are Holocaust survivors, brought with them to Israel, to urban war photography, and the perceptions and alterations of reality in computer games, simulation and other disaster spectacles, all of which he reconciles with the strong influence of 18th century European artwork and the Hudson River School.
Shay’s acute awareness of his specific place in today’s visual culture, somewhere between the historical concept of fine art and the contemporary deconstruction of digital and electronic imagery as a central concept to his generation, places his work in juxtaposition with that of his parents.
As an artist, who began painting at the age of just three years old, and with both parents as commercial artists, he has often wondered if becoming an artist was a part of his DNA. Both of his parents’ work is aimed at forging something new while creating artwork that is distinctly Israeli. His father’s work focuses on the decay and deterioration of landscape, while in contrast, his mother’s paintings look toward the celebratory aspect of landscape, growth, and nature in bloom.
For Shay Kun, a series is never complete. He revisits each subject as his interpretation of reality and our ability to comprehend the representational evolves.