Artist Dain Yoon is quickly becoming a master of illusion. Last year, the then-art student wowed us with her mind-bending body art that’s mesmerizing in both its technical skills as well as its ability to make you do a double take. Using a combination of makeup and watercolors, she creates surreal paintings over her hands, face, and surrounding environment. They work together to produce portraits that look so lifelike, you’d assume they were the result of Photoshop. But, as Yoon is quick to point out, her optical illusion makeup is all real.
The “complexity of human beings” influences Yoon’s body art. Within ourselves, we contain multitudes—including conflicting emotions, personality traits, and viewpoints. Though not a glamorous subject, it’s amazing how Yoon conceptualizes it into something spectacular. “Anything, even in a very ordinary life, could be great inspirations with different perspectives,” she says, but she doesn’t deny the sources that help foster her unique visual language. “If I were to choose something out of my routine that draws inspiration, I would say that movies often help me twist my perspectives.”
Aside from the underlying concepts of her work, Yoon is also guided by formal aspects of Western art. Particularly, the visual pleasure we get from illusion art itself, which makes 2D drawings come alive and look as though they’re jumping off the page. Or in this case, skin.