As an artist, Jeon Jung Kook is a marvel. He sings and the whole world stops to listen. He composes a song and it dominates charts. He dances and the world cannot look away. He paints on a canvas and everyone watches riveted. He even uses his own body as art — his tattooed arm sleeve, the changes of his hair colors, and wide array of costume/clothing in his personal and professional lives — all which reveal the myriad of Jung Kook’s art. Jung Kook not only embraces all sorts of artistry, he immerses himself to such a degree that he has become the art that he shares with the world through his siren vocals, alluring visuals, and mesmerizing performances. Everything around him becomes part of his art — woven together like a glorious tapestry; so much so that art surrounds Jung Kook to such a degree that his entire life feels like an infinite exploration and discovery of art.
Looking back over the past 10 years, which Jung Kook dedicated to training and performing with BTS, it is like watching a young artist explore all the incredible ways that he can experience art in his own life: singing, dancing, performing, photography, videography, painting, sketching — only to discover that his entire life has become an expression of art in all its magnificent forms.
Art Through Singing
Jung Kook likes to describe his singing as a search for colors because he sees his voice as an expression of musical art. Ask anyone who has listened to BTS’s 21 albums (comprised of over 230 songs) and Jung Kook’s individual songs (such as “Still With You” and “Decalcomania”), as well as his covers of songs like: “Falling”, “If You”, “Never Not”, “Paper Hearts”, “We Don’t Talk Anymore”, “Lost Stars”, and “Sofa”, can attest, Jung Kook’s voice captivates. You hear him sing once and fall under his spell.
Singers and vocal instructors have been just as awed. Entire Twitter threads, fan pages, and YouTube videos have been set up analyzing Jung Kook’s unique vocal abilities. His special gift in harmonizing and incorporating ad libs to layer the songs with a bit more vocal color is frequently cited with amazement. Jung Kook can blend, weave, and highlight using his voice in ways that truly elevates BTS’s music and songs.
Jung Kook described his singing process as (WeVerse, November 2020): “My general feeling was my voice should be woven into the song, rather than bringing out my individual voice. The lyrics say the world stopped, but I can’t keep on being sad, and life continues and flows on. I wanted to mix a little bit of my own colors into that complex, subtle sadness. I listened to how the other members recorded their parts for the song, and I sang while thinking about how I could do it in a way that it would all blend together well. I kept changing my voice exploring how to make it sound better, cleaner. I kept trying new things while I was recording, performing, and practicing.” He elaborated a bit more in his July 2021 WeVerse interview: “When I go to record, I have to keep all these characteristics in mind and mix them together with my own style properly in this subtle way.”
In the 8 years that Jung Kook has performed with BTS, his voice has transfixed audiences in songs such as: “Outro: Love Is Not Over”, “Outro: House of Cards”, “Run”, “Begin”, “Save Me”, “Magic Shop”, “Pied Piper”, “Euphoria”, “Answer: Love Myself”, “Your Eyes Tell”, “We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal”, “ON”, “My Time”, “Life Goes On”, “Stay”, “Blue & Grey”, “Film Out”, as well as songs from the BTS World album soundtrack “Dream Glow” and “Heartbeat”, and BTS’s newest song “Permission To Dance”.
Over the past 10 years, it is well-documented through videos posted by Big Hit Entertainment and BTS that Jung Kook’s singing abilities were something he worked tenaciously and continuously at improving from his first audition to the present. Having joined as a young teen, Jung Kook knew that he needed to work diligently on improving his vocal abilities and finding the right sound and singing voice for his performances. His own bandmates recalled that he was singing anywhere and everywhere. Jung Kook sang as much as possible to tune his vocal instrument and develop the ear and vocal sound that he thought he needed to attain in order to be the best he could be as a singer. Even today, he can be seen in the background of BTS’s Bangtan Bomb and Run BTS! videos singing and humming every chance he gets. Jung Kook has explained that he does this because: “Singing and humming constantly—regardless of a set time—has helped me improve in my singing and find my personal color.” Jung Kook further explained in his later WeVerse interview (July 2021): “The more I listen to music, the more my vocals change. It really changes a lot when we get a song and listen to it and practice it. I guess you could say my vocal cords are always readying themselves for improvement when I practice. (laughs) And improving while I record, and just improving any time I sing. But there’s also times when it suddenly doesn’t sound right when I try it the way I want, so I just give it a try, or I quickly look up other vocalists and listen to their songs or ask some of the older artists. Doing that helps me find a certain voice I’m looking for.”
That tenacity has earned Jung Kook, not only the respect of his bandmates and those in his company, he is respected as a singer to emulate and learn from by his peers and the music industry. Upcoming K-pop idols and singers in the Western music world look to his singing and work ethic, using it to inspire themselves and push themselves to work even harder on their own singing and performance craft.
Jung Kook has said many times that he hopes to have a long career ahead singing, and it is easy to see that dream extending decades in the future. Ten years into his singing career and Jung Kook is at the top of his field. He is one of the most sought after singers as many in the industry would happily collaborate with or work with on any music or song that Jung Kook wanted to share. Jung Kook said about his singing/music career in his WeVerse (November 2020) interview: “I must never let it go. That’s what I always think. I have to keep it close to me, even if I get bored, or I don’t want to hear it, or it feels like a hassle. I want to keep on making music. It may be a long ways down the road, but I want to prove myself with my music.”
Singing is truly where Jung Kook’s heart lives and he is willing to give it everything he can to make it a success. As Jung Kook sagely noted: “I try to practice singing at least an hour every day, no matter what. Any singer who’s been at number one on Billboard for six weeks had better be really good at singing. That’s what I think.”
Art Through Dance
It is a gift to hear Jung Kook sing, yet when complemented with his dance skills, it becomes magical. It feels as if a spell has been cast over an entire stadium, theater, or arena every time Jung Kook is on stage. His ability to enthrall extends beyond just those venues and has easily been seen and felt through the screen for BTS’s performances streamed across the internet. It is true that Jung Kook is usually accompanied by his BTS bandmates for group songs and performances, but his position in the middle of those group performances still draws attention.
It was one of the specific reasons that Jung Kook was selected as the “center” position when he first joined BTS — he has that ability to draw attention just by the way he moves and interacts with the audience, and when there is no audience, he performs directly for the camera. In the entertainment world, that is known as the “It Factor” — you see and recognize it. It is what was likely seen when Jung Kook first auditioned for Big Hit Entertainment in 2011 and the reason that he received offers from 7 competing entertainment companies who wanted to sign him at the age of 13 (15 in Korean years).
Jung Kook did not yet have the trained voice and dance skills that he has today since those took years of training. Instead, what people see in an audition is a spark or force of personality, or something nearly intangible that one recognizes will make a natural entertainer. It is why dancers, singers, actors, and other performers are recruited through auditions — the search for the “It Factor.” Now, it should be noted that not every singer, dancer, performer has the “It Factor” as some may have the right visuals, voice, singing ability, dance moves, or physicality that is needed. So auditions are looking for a number of key factors that can lead to an offer to join a training program or group. Yet that search for the “It Factor” is definitely one factor that every recruiter is looking for as, when discovered, it is considered a priceless asset.
In Jung Kook’s case, he had the physical abilities necessary to be trained as a dancer (probably enhanced by his years as a skateboarder), the confidence needed to be a performer, and an abundance of the “It Factor.” In Jung Kook’s case, his quick smile, lively eyes, and general excitement for life are all components of his “It Factor”. Everyone around him just wants to be in his orbit and be a part of whatever he is doing. That ability to draw people in and make them feel special to be included in his world is what casts a spell and makes everyone fall in love with him. It is also what makes his stage performances and video performances addictive, and those who feel it crave more.
Even Jung Kook’s bandmates have felt that and laughingly call it the “Jung Kook Effect” which generates attention and headlines for the band. They also gravitate into Jung Kook’s orbit just to be a part of each project that he is working on. Those that are teamed up with him in the Run BTS! episodes seem to really appreciate having the chance to work with him, especially since Jung Kook is unusually gifted at physical games, intellect games, crafts, and other activities.
Jung Kook’s current dance abilities are extraordinary. He, himself, calls his dancing “textbook” yet was inordinately pleased when his bandmate J-hope complimented his dancing during the “Let’s BTS” video segment last March (6:25 mark). Jung Kook employs the same tenacity to his dance practice as he does to his singing and vocal training, and thus takes pride in hearing that his bandmates appreciate his extra effort to improve his skills and performances.
Art Through Performance
To the viewing audience, Jung Kook’s dancing has been attracting headlines and attention for the past 8 years. He may not have started off with such precision and smooth dance moves, but the excitement he brought to BTS choreography added a layer of energy and worked well with his bandmates creating a strong, visual dance performance. Singing and dancing as a cohesive unit is difficult, yet BTS worked hard to make it look effortless. Every performance they have done since their debut in 2013 has been a visual and audio sensory experience that still draws in and captivates audiences. Fortunately, most of BTS’s past performances are still available for viewing either on YouTube via the HYBE or BangtanTV channels, or on DVD of past tours and concerts. It is worth the effort to watch as many as you can as each displays a new visual performance to appreciate.
Over the years, many different descriptions have been attributed to Jung Kook in order to try to explain why his dance sequences or performances stand out. The phrases “starting fairy” and “ending fairy” are typically used to describe how certain dancers have body movements or facial expressions that come across as eye-catching, endearing, or sexy at the beginning or end of a dance. Choreographers work with dancers and performers to create stage or video “personas” that hook the audience or leave the audience wanting more. The spectrum includes: hand gestures like finger-hearts, over head arm-hearts, hair flips, eye-winks, bright smiles, and what has been called “eye smiles”. Some artists, dancers, or singers naturally incorporate such techniques into their performances, and others work a bit harder to win over the hearts of their fans.
Jung Kook naturally smiles every chance he gets during a performance, which makes it feel special and inclusive, and makes you want to see more. In BTS, each member uses a wide array of techniques to interact with their audience and each other, and because the choreography is modified from performance to performance, it leaves room for improvisation using such engagement techniques. The end result is a performance that fans and audiences will keep coming back for to watch BTS perform it again –if only to see what new “persona” or interactions will be shown. For example, BTS choreographed and performed 30 different versions of their Grammy-nominated song “Dynamite” between August 2020 through March 2021. If you watch all 30 performances, none are alike. Each is distinct, different, and offers something equally delightful and amazing to watch.
Leaving the audience wanting more seems to be BTS’s specialty and many artists in their 8th professional year as an entertainer cannot sustain that kind of momentum, yet BTS always leaves the audience and fans wanting more. (Another fun example of BTS providing multiple taped performances, was recently done to promote BTS’s new song “Butter”. Currently, there are 17 versions of BTS’s “Butter” performances that can be watched on YouTube via the HYBE and BangtanTV channels. Each is spectacular.) Jung Kook explained that: “Starting with ‘Butter’ I think I managed to do things in a more thought-out way. I was more attentive to my facial expressions and movements and thought through what I should do in each situation in each performance to do it in my own style.” Jung Kook is constantly searching for ways to draw in and engage the audience for each performance.
Aiding in that goal, Jung Kook is dedicated to working out, which ensures his body is ready for long concert performances and gives him the strength and stamina necessary since he may be performing non-stop during a 3 hour concert. For example, at one concert, Jung Kook danced so much that he collapsed right after the concert ended. That is how much he is willing to devote and give to his craft. He will give everything. Jung Kook explained that: “When I watched our old performances, my facial expressions were awkward and my dance moves weren’t always perfect. I keep working to improve myself, so I hope when the fans see me, they think my performance is amazing and that my aura fills the stage.”
It should also be noted that Jung Kook does not just limit his extra effort to his singing and dancing, he brings that drive, perfectionism, and attention to detail to BTS’s advertising campaigns as well. Over the years, BTS has been brand ambassadors and representatives of a number of brands, including (but not limited to): Louis Vuitton, FILA, Samsung, Tokopedia, McDonald’s, Coway, Bodyfriend, Hyundai, Puma and Lotte Duty Free in print and poster advertisements, commercials, and online ads. All are extremely successful and generate traction (aka “stickiness”) for the brand as well as increase each company’s revenue substantially.
One recent promo for FILA is noteworthy due to Jung Kook’s strategic use of his hand movement by brushing his fingers lightly across the wall as he walked. That was interesting because such a hand movement catches attention and invokes emotion as you watch it — making the brand’s advertisement more successful at “sticking” in consumer’s minds. This is similar to watching a person walk through a field of grass and running their hands across the tall grass. This kind of movement is strategically used to create an emotional reaction so that the viewer remembers the commercial advertisement or product. It is a power-move and quite a flex by Jung Kook. If there is one thing Jung Kook is an expert at, it is the awareness of body language and body movement. He seems to know what will look good and will get the desired reaction. He typically uses it more on stage or in BTS’s video performances, though he does seem to strategically use it in advertising campaigns or promotional activities more and more frequently. It is a tool that he employs to great effect.
Art In Costuming & Clothing
Another area Jung Kook excels in his use of wardrobe, costuming and specially selected clothing for performances, practices, promotion activities, and it extends even to what he chooses to wear in his personal life. Perhaps because of his artistic interests, Jung Kook tends to choose artistically-pleasing attire. He has said that he would prefer just to wear black and comfortable clothing all the time, but he is also savvy enough to know that as a member of BTS, that he should take a little more effort in choosing his costuming for videos, performances, concerts, interviews, dance practices and anywhere that he may be seen on camera, such as: going to and from the HYBE building or remote locations for filming, to and from airports, or just going about his every day life because — when you are literally one of the most famous people on the planet — there is nowhere outside your home that you will not be filmed, watched, or assessed on what you are wearing.
Jung Kook has the power to influence fashion and clothing sales instantaneously, without having to utter one word since the multitude of BTS fans will research every shirt, jacket, pant and shoe style that he is wearing within minutes.
Over the past 8 years, Jung Kook’s fashion choices on stage and off, have been varied and intriguing. He has clearly worked with a number of BTS’s stylists to find unique looks that work well with his rigorous dances while keeping it stylistically and theatrically pleasing. Examples include his choice of a policeman’s uniform in the BTS video “Dope”, his jeans with ripped knees and a leg-strap in the BTS video for “Fire”, his red sequined jacket in the BTS idea for “Fake Love”, his skin tight outfit for his solo “Save Me” water-dance performance at MAMA 2019 (5:22 mark), his choice of yellow boots for BTS’s performance of “Idol” at The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, his black leather and red animal print outfits from his solo “My Time” performances for the Map Of The Soul:7 ON:E concert, his choice of a black leather corset in the BTS video “Black Swan”, his see-through shirts worn for BTS’s performances of “Black Swan” on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and for the Map of the Soul: 7 ON:E streaming concert.
Recently, Jung Kook’s costuming in the 17 BTS “Butter” performances has been a kaleidoscope of artistry: official “Butter” video, “Butter (Hotter Remix)” video, “Butter (Cooler Remix)” video, “Butter Special Performance” video, “Butter” SiriusXM video, “Butter” Billboard Music Awards video, “Butter” dance practice video (version 1), “Butter” at Music Blood video, “Butter” (karaoke version) video, “Butter” at Music Day video, “Butter” at FNS Music Festival video, “Butter” CDTV Live video, “Butter” on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon video, “Butter” on Good Morning America video, “Butter” on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert video, “A Butter-ful Getaway” video, and “Butter” Dance Practice (“cute and lovely” version 2).
Jung Kook’s most recent exhibition of brilliant costume artistry was on display in BTS’s “Permission To Dance” official video, where he wore a black leather ensemble and a blue-jean outfit, both showcasing him in stylized cowboy costumes. These outfits were well-suited for his dance performances and yet still accentuated his individuality and unique dance choreography amidst the rest of the BTS members.
Also quite fun were Jung Kook’s concept photos and videos used to promote “Butter” and “Permission To Dance”, which ranged from sleek black or grey suits to sexy black leather to custom designer wear to striking promo wear to special dance ensembles to flirty beach attire to a casual car-wash outfit; all perfectly suited to emphasize Jung Kook’s charm and appeal in every day situations. As seen, there is nothing “every day” about how Jung Kook wears these clothing styles as he makes the ordinary look extraordinary.
Stylists generally talk with an artist about which designers and styles that they are interested in wearing for a dance or performance, and then an array of clothing choices are provided so the artist can look at the different pieces and decide which they like and think works for them. So credit is also due to the stylists who know which designers to recommend and which clothing styles work well for a performance. But the final decision is usually up to the performer/artist who selects which shirt, jacket, pant, shoes or boots will work with their vision and dance choreography for a promotion, appearance, or stage/video performance. This usually means that there are racks of clothing choices to choose from or just a few outfit variations. As stylists typically work with an artist for long periods, they have a keen instinct on what each artist will gravitate towards and appreciate — and depending on the performance, if the artist needs something with more arm or leg flexibility, or the jacket or shirt needs to “breathe” so that the artist does not become overheated — thus, the popularity of sleeveless shirts under a jacket or jackets which have cut-outs for airflow. So, while Jung Kook may not always select the designer that will be providing clothes for a magazine shoot or promotional activities or performance, he will have an array of clothing choices to decide which he feels works best for the dance which allows him the flexibility to craft his personal style for his performance. This explains why when BTS performs there are such varied styles that each member wears. Each is wearing an outfit curated to make them standout and work with their personal sense of style, as well as match what they need for the performance. Jung Kook recently confirmed in his Rolling Stone (May 2021) interview how much he and his bandmates have a say in about BTS costumes and clothing choices: “We devote a lot of time and we hold a lot of meetings to choose the outfits and the style that would go well with the songs and the album. So I think the visual aspect is really important. The song, the dance — every individual aspect is really important.”
This was also seen in Jung Kook’s photoshoot and promo videos for DICON last December, which showcased his duality with a soft white sweater ensemble versus a sleek black leather outfit. The reactions to those photos and the released video teasers to promote DICON’s BTS photobook was volcanic. Quoting one of my tweets at the time, it left everyone feeling a bit “shaken and stirred”, which was my way of complimenting Jung Kook on his suave James Bond-worthy style mingled with a drop-dead sexy look.
How Jung Kook chooses to wear the costuming is also another key element. For example, from last March’s “Let’s BTS” video, Jimin wanted Jung Kook to acknowledge that he copies Jimin, and Jung Kook happily admitted that he did and then laughingly pointed out that Jimin was the one who started unbuttoning his shirt buttons for performances first — and what a difference just a few buttons can make providing a tantalizing glimpse of skin during performances — as evident by fan reactions to Jung Kook’s unbuttoned shirt arriving before at the 2020 KBS Gayo Daechukje event.
Jung Kook similarly added a sensual feel to his costuming during the January 2021 Golden Disc Awards, where he revealed his new golden blonde hairstyle with an untucked poet-style shirt adorned with an unbuckled harness (0:28 mark) conveying a bit of a “wind-swept romantic hero” look to his stage persona for BTS’s “Black Swan” intro. The stylist who worked with Jung Kook on that look deserves an award. It was impressive and jaw-dropping, and the fans lit up the social media realms with the #BlondeJung Kook hashtag, which trended for 3 days.
Another perfect costuming example was during BTS’s 8th Muster when Jung Kook wore a black jacket with pattern cut-outs that flowed along with his dance moves in such a way that it looked like he had designed it himself to frame his dance choreography perfectly. It caught attention and left you admiring the image of eloquence with sensuality as his moved. Jung Kook may have told the stylist about a designer that he was interested in, or the stylist provided a jacket that was black with lots of movement and breathing capability which would enhance Jung Kook’s performances at Muster. Either way, it was stunning and everyone was talking about it, which is the end-goal for any performance. It should look good, enhance the performance, and generate positive buzz — and everyone was definitely talking about Jung Kook’s jacket after that performance. So it was inspired and a fashion “win” on the side of pure artistry.
Also, in a few of his recent Vlive appearances in March and July 2021, Jung Kook has displayed savvy choices in his personal attire. In March, to compliment his newly-colored mint-choco hair, Jung Kook wore a green-tinted colored oversize shirt. Then for his July 29, 2021 Vlive, he chose a stunning green-gold casual wear outfit that was visually stimulating and still comfortable for him. In his every day wear, Jung Kook has tried to change up from his normally solid black comfortable clothes to adding clothing with color in recent months, from purple to multi-colored. The addition of color, as well as a chance to promote clothing designers and suppliers that Jung Kook likes, has emboldened him to wear their clothing in hope of triggering headlines and commercial sales for those designers.
One fascinating twist of using his personal attire to promote a designer that he supports, Jung Kook reverted to his all-black, comfortable attire for a day at the practice studio, and then took a mirror-selca to reveal the logo on his black t-shirt with a rainbow-color heart on it. Thus, serving the dual purpose of promoting yet another designer that he liked and wanted to support, as well as delighting his fans in the process.
Another area of art is how Jung Kook uses accessories, such as an ear cuff or earrings and his recent eyebrow piercing to display his personal artistry using himself as “canvas”. Jewelry, accessories and adornments can be purely for performances or promotional activities to accentuate Jung Kook’s stage, video or photo “personas”. But unlike sunglasses, hand jewelry, necklaces, bracelets, or earrings, an eyebrow piercing is a bit more permanent and is a bold statement of personal choice and style of body art. To match the “persona” that he had in mind for the BTS official “Butter” video, Jung Kook decided to try out an eyebrow piercing look with stick-ons and ended up liking it so much that he decided to actually get the eyebrow piercing. Jung Kook expressing himself with a piercing on his face is quite a statement of artistry.
Another bold move was when Jung Kook decided to begin his personal body artistry through the tattoos on his right hand and arm. The first glimpse of his hand tattoos was in September 2019, but it is possible Jung Kook’s tattoo arm sleeve preexisted his hand tattoos. From his various video performances, fans have put together a series of photos from the glimpses of Jung Kook’s tattoo arm-sleeve. Each new tattoo seems to be a puzzle-piece that fans have tried to decipher. Jung Kook has never fully explained all the meanings or explained why he chose each image in creating his tattoo arm-sleeve and that air of mystery makes it even more tantalizing to fans. It clearly is deeply personal and pertains to beliefs and values that Jung Kook holds — and each is precious to him. Jung Kook’s tattoos are in and itself incredible art. Tattoo artists have expressed their admiration for the beauty and artistic-style for all of his tattoos.
For each of the BTS members, hair color and colored eye contacts are fairly routine. Jung Kook has experimented with nearly every color of hair, which in 2021 has gone from jet-black to bombshell-blonde to subdued-grey to vivid-blue to mint-choco to steel blonde-grey to rich-purple to jet-black. He has also gone from just blue-tinted or light colored tints for colored eye contacts to mix-and-matching or wearing a solo blue contact. All of these eye color choices are well-planned to match the costuming choices that Jung Kook wears for performances and press appearances. Each seems designed to convey a tailored-image Jung Kook wants his fans and the media to see for that specific occasion. It is always stunning, impressive, and generates headlines and a frenzy of social media postings. (NOTE: All seven of the BTS members are good at employing costuming, hair color, colored eye contacts to strategic advantage, which successfully secures media attention as well as fan adoration from their respective fanbases.)
Art Through Painting & Sketching
As if Jung Kook were not already inordinately blessed with artistry, it goes beyond his abilities in singing, dancing, performing and incredible instincts as to visual aesthetics for costumes and accoutrements, he is also a skilled painter and sketch artist. Throughout the years, Jung Kook has demonstrated his uncanny painting and sketching artistry through the BangtanTV/Bangtan Bomb YouTube videos, including an “In the Soop” episode where he painted a lush landscape, which surprised even his bandmates, and most recently demonstrated in his February 2021 “BE”-Log as Jung Kook painted a tree in the shape of a purple-heart. Another recent art endeavor was using spray paint to create a BTS-logo mural that was the backdrop for his July 2021 WeVerse interview, during which Jung Kook said: “I learn how to paint by watching videos on YouTube. I think I’m good at picking up skills by emulating others.”
Another casual art demonstration was when Jung Kook presented “Hitman” Bang with a drawing he made representing the likeness of “Hitman” Bang, which now years later is being used to promote the egg tarts that Hybe sells to visitors; though now that his art is being used for commercial purposes, Jung Kook observed in the BTS “Butter” release Vlive that maybe he should get the copyright to it (11:45 mark).
Jung Kook also did an beautiful sketch of his bandmate J-hope for his birthday this year that got the fans buzzing on how easy Jung Kook makes it look, as a person’s skill level has to be fairly advanced to create such a good likeness through a freehand sketch.
Over the years, there have been numerous examples of Jung Kook’s ease with pen, pencil, markers, paints of all forms, and because it is always better to see how an artists creates such incredible artworks, that process is wonderfully highlighted in this FMV video compilation.
Art Through Photography & Videography
In his WeVerse interview (November 2020), Jung Kook had described his personality type as MBTI / ISFP, meaning “curious artist”, which is defined as: “An Adventurer (ISFP) is a person with the Introverted, Observant, Feeling, and Prospecting personality traits. They tend to have open minds, approaching life, new experiences, and people with grounded warmth. Their ability to stay in the moment helps them uncover exciting potentials. Adventurer personalities are true artists, but not necessarily in the typical sense where they’re out painting happy little trees. Often enough though, they are perfectly capable of this. Rather, it’s that they use aesthetics, design and even their choices and actions to push the limits of social convention. Adventurers enjoy upsetting traditional expectations with experiments in beauty and behavior.” This explains Jung Kook’s desire to explore all the various forms of artistic expression available. He is not content to try just one or two or even three, he wants to try them all. So it should come as no surprise that he also experiments and dabbles in photography and videography.
Jung Kook talked about his passion and personal exploration of photography and videography that he creates for his Golden Closet Film brand in his WeVerse November 2020 interview: “Once we were on location, we had directions for everything we needed to shoot prepared in advance, so I took candid shots of the members here and there with a camera during the shoot. We were filming in a beautiful place so when they asked me to take pictures of them as they wanted to be presented, I did.” He also explained: “I’m not in the shot for the Golden Closet Films either. I kind of take a back seat. The director had to shoot my parts for the music video, since I couldn’t film myself, so I relaxed a bit. I tried to make the other members look really good when I recorded them. Since this was a BTS music video and not my own, I wanted to show what was happening with every member and the team, not just one individual’s thoughts. Each person who watches the video might feel different, but I wanted to show that we feel what other people feel, that we’re in the same situation.”
Jung Kook further elaborated about his video style in WeVerse interview (November 2020): “I was really eager to direct the music video from the outset. My plan was to organize the synopsis, discuss it with the music video director I was working with, shoot and edit them, but we were short on time. So I worked on it while sharing ideas with the director. Originally there were a lot of scenes with lip synching in them, but we took some of them out and put in more scenes that conveyed the members’ emotions better. It wasn’t easy to combine scenes, but I think now I know more about how much of everything is needed when shooting a music video.”
Jung Kook’s contributions to the four videos made for BTS’s song “Life Goes On” show how Jung Kook’s vision and creative instinct has grown and developed. It also shows a lot of trust and deference to that artistic ability by Jung Kook’s bandmates. They recognize that his artistry is truly art-worthy, and they value and appreciate it.
Inspiring Philanthropy and Celebration
Jung Kook’s life is the equivalent of an immersive art experience — and a highly addictive one. So it is easy to see why his fans have created over 250 charitable donations and art exhibitions to honor Jung Kook’s birthday this year from Seoul to Tokyo to Mumbai to Paris to New York and countless other cities across the globe. Many of the birthday projects celebrating his birthday this year are truly inspiring philanthropic endeavors and reflect so many wonderful artistic expressions.
The charitable causes and businesses that Jung Kook champion receive more attention and donation than would normally be available, if not but for the fact that Jung Kook bestows the gift of his ardent fans’ financial support. As Jung Kook wisely observed in his WeVerse (July 2021) interview, anyone with a prominent platform and position of power should live according to the superhero credo of: “With great power comes great responsibility.” He explained: “Restaurants aren’t doing well and there’s a lot of closed-up shops in the markets now, as you know. So if I’ve had an effect on even one person, it’s been worthwhile. And sometimes the people I’ve had an influence on go on to make donations, too. There could always be someone who takes advantage of the things I say or do, but I’m confident a lot of people will use them for good.” Just by doing his part to advocate and promote businesses and charitable organizations in need of assistance demonstrates his awareness of his own unique position and power, and how he is actively choosing to use those to help others.
Memorialized for Future Generations
Big Hit Music, at the newly-opened HYBE building, has created a museum dedicated to the music and performance artistry of BTS, which includes: Jung Kook’s “MIC Drop” costume, a wall where you can smell “Euphoria” (a spray scent developed in honor of Jung Kook’s solo song of the same name), an exclusive painting by the artist James Jean titled “Seven Phases” depicting Jung Kook as Cottontail Jung Kook — a creature that spreads happiness and euphoria, and a video message from Jung Kook that says: “You know, anyone can have a dream . . . no matter how many dreams you’ve achieved . . . it doesn’t mean your dream just disappears . . . each time, I want to show everything that I can.”
These things are meant to provide inspiration to the next generation of artists, whether singers or dancers, to encourage them to explore any expression of artistry that they choose to pursue. Dreams are attainable with enough passion and determination.
Jung Kook As “Living Art”
All of these expressions of art are facets of Jung Kook, the person and the artist. His entire existence seems to thrive on art and he takes pleasure in sharing his love of art and how it fulfills his life and gives him such an palette of expression to use and share. He is the equivalent of “living art” — and deserves to be celebrated as such. He is a gift bestowed upon the world for all he is and does and creates. So, for his birthday this year, celebrate, with him. Join in his world of transcendent art, celebrate, and let it inspire you to create art in your own life. Life is richer by the art that surrounds us. Make art and let it infuse your life with joy.