A young and talented artist: Lafic

111Rob Kim, also known as Lafic, is a young and talented artist based in Seoul, South Korea. The 22 year-old artist was born in South Korea, but he grew up in Toronto, Canada. His desire to come to Korea and compete in the music and art industry here led him and his producer friend, OV, to quit school in Toronto in order to chase that dream.

Rapping wise, Lafic is part a group called “PIRAPS”, which also includes a known rapper called Hash Swan. They started their group at high school age however, since then Lafic has also been a part of groups like Youngmoodmedia and an upcoming visual team ‘KOPNIK’, which the name stems from a Slavic subculture Gopnik.

I got introduced to Lafics artwork at the “Salon Consumption” exhibition at Fifty Fifty gallery. While at the exhibition, I became very interested in some of the art pieces and it turned out that most of them were his works. We met with the artist in Hongdae at a café called Café aA, which is a very cool and trendy space for a lot of the youngsters in Seoul. In this special interview, Lafic tells us about his beginnings, his artistry, his affiliation with the music industry in Korea and much more.

Hello! Please introduce yourself. How old are you? Where are you from?

Hey, I go by the name Lafic, but my real name is Rob, however, everyone (including my parents) call me Lafic. I am 22 by international age but I am 24 in Korean age. I was born in Korea, but I was raised in Toronto since elementary school.

Is there a meaning behind your name, LAFIC?

Actually, it doesn’t have any meaning. When I was younger, my Father got me a computer and my sister made me make a Hotmail account. She basically told me to create an ID for it, and at that time I didn’t know any English so I typed some random words and it turned out to be “Lafic”. However, recently I discovered that if you flip my name backwards it would turn out to be “Cifal”, which if you pronounce it the Korean way, it sounds like a swear word.

What kind of artist do you consider yourself as?

Since both of my parents are artists, they kind of expected me to follow the same path as them. However, I am a rapper; I started as a high-school student with my crew called Piraps, which also includes a well-known rapper that goes by the name Hash Swan. I am also a part of Youngmoodmedia, which includes R&B vocalist Cokebath and producer OV.

In my first year of university, I started off doing artworks for musicians who were my friends. After that, I just made my own work and people kind of recognized me for my art pieces. I also released my mixtape in a hip-hop website at the same time and it became a hit. From then on people began to recognize me even more and I got a chance to meet many different artists. Soon after many asked me to do their art covers, and after that I became serious about it, so I did a lot of graphic collage works as well as videos. From there on my works got recognition and that led to labels calling me. However, I don’t call myself a graphic designer, painter, or videographer. I don’t know what to call my job description since I do a lot of different work all related to music and art. I usually just call myself a kid who does artwork.

Could you tell me more about the event where you guys hosted/created and displayed your art, “Salon Consumption”?

For the exhibition, we were sponsored by COB (Cirque of Billionaires) and their plan was to make entertainment events so I suggested an exhibition. I wanted to have a different approach, not like a formal exhibition, where you act “fancy” and act like they understand art. So I said, “Let’s use that idea, where people come in to an exhibition and they don’t see art or buy art; they consume the fact that they are a fancy person going to galleries in the weekends, which is the reality for a lot of people”. We then made use of satire and used this idea of people consuming image. So that’s where the exhibition title “Consumption” came from. We wanted to make the exhibition hip, so we brought music into the mix, with dj’s, rappers, and we also displayed artworks that you can’t normally see in other galleries.

“In Korea, consumption is very big. People consume money for their image, and not only do they use a lot of money, they also consume a lot of time and energy for what they are most interested in”.

Could you tell me about the concept of your artworks?

We actually made art works that apparently aren’t so appropriate for formal galleries, like for example the Jesus piece with the Louis Vuitton print and the cocaine in the middle.

My specific role in the “Salon Consumption” exhibition was to satire some big companies like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, which is fun mix with a hip concept.

Could you tell me the difficulties of being an artist?

Well, if you had asked this to some other artist they would probably say the financial aspect. However, that wasn’t much of the case for me; the only thing might be that I lived in a small room that was around 100 dollars per month. I also used to go to music video companies and do some work on set. I didn’t get paid that much while doing that job, but I never thought of it as a harsh lifestyle. I thought of it as another step or process for me to get to the point I wanted to reach.

You also do cover art for artists, right, anyone we would know?

I have done art works for some big companies like of starship entertainment or Brand New music. Also I have done some art work for the likes of Exo, Junggigo, Mad clown, San E, Penomeco, Soyou as well as some other known artist.

Can you tell about your go-to clothes and your usual style?

I sometimes wear only street-style clothing. However, I also like both street styles as well as a little bit of a European dandy style; I kind of mix both of these styles. I didn’t know what to call my style, but I recently found the name for the way I dress. It is called the “gopnik” style. Gopnik is a Slavic subculture, which resembles the “Yakuza” or “Chicano”. Gopniks are known as like a skinhead gang or street brawlers, who wear Adidas tracksuits, which often is a counterfeit with like flat caps.

Who is your favorite music artist?

I actually listen to a lot of SoundCloud artists, like there is a guy named Indica and also a rapper called Dutchboy. They are basically “cloud rappers”, so they use autotune and have melodies to their sound. Basically they do very mainstream rap music.

Who are your role models?

Asap Rocky and Travis Scott, but mainly Asap Rocky because Asap Rocky is not only a rapper but also an art director at MTV. He is the guy who makes whatever he wants to make. Also back in the day even though he was from Harlem, which was a poor area, he still wore fancy jackets and was showing off his style. Even though he was poor and had to work at a pizza place, he still called himself the best guy from New York. And that’s what I think swag is; basically having confidence and believing in yourself. That’s why I feel like Asap Rocky is my role model. Sometimes he wears Dior jackets or he switches it up and wears Bape hoodies. He also has mentioned in his preview interviews that when you talk about styles he doesn’t call it a style he’ll just wear whatever is trendy or his inspirations. And that, in some ways, is like me because at the end of the day, I just wear whatever I want.

If you were not an artist what would you be doing?

I can’t even imagine what I would be doing since both of my parents are artists. I always thought of myself as an artist no matter what. I have not really thought about what I would be, but if I had to choose, I would probably be some sort of a business consultant.

What are your future goals?

I used to have goals, but now I just go with the flow. If you listen to the TED speech presenters, they preach about having life goals, and achieving them. However, what I realized was that you can’t make your life go through like a specific one “hole” like there will be always other “holes”. So what I realized is whenever I make a goal, I lose other opportunities at the same time, because I only focus on that goal. I don’t want to have a specific goal; I want to achieve a lot of goals, so basically I think every moment or every achievement that I have is my goal.

You can listen to Lafics music on his SoundCloud: www.soundcloud.com/lafic. The young artist is undeniably very talented and you should definitely follow and support his upcoming projects. You can follow him on instagram and twitter page with @lafic and down below you will see some of my favorite pieces from the artist and some pictures from the exhibition event “Salon Consumption”. More pictures of the exhibition event you can find on hiphopers website: http://www.hiphoper.com/maz/board.php?bo_table=magazine&wr_id=65682&sfl=wr_4&stx=KirCood&sop=and


Bad High by Lafic

Bad High by Lafic

Jesus Cocaine by Lafic

Jesus Cocaine by Lafic

Dictator by Lafic

Dictator by Lafic

Comme Des Garcons by Lafic

Comme Des Garcons by Lafic

Model: Collin Dean Harris

Model: Collin Dean Harris

Photo by Hiphoper

Photo by Hiphoper

Photo by Hiphoper

Photo by Hiphoper

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