Grant Riven Yun: Uncovering Charm in the Everyday

Grant Yun

Grant Yun is becoming one of the most recognizable artists in web3.

His work has been featured in Sotheby's, PROOF Collective's Grails Collection, Avant Arte, The Memes by 6529, and more.

Whether you know him for his distinctive shades of soft greens (which vary slightly in each work of art), his Midwest landscapes, or his iconic digital cow, it is clear that Yun has forged a distinct path with his singular style.

He's best known for discovering beauty in things that others might find commonplace, such as gas stations, farms, and suburban neighborhoods. His most notable works often feature life in Wisconsin, where he currently resides, as he believes that there is "always a story to be told just by observing [our] surroundings."

ONE37pm spoke with Yun to go further in depth on his background, artistic influences, foray into web3, and more.

Grant Riven Yun

Discovering His Talent

Although he is currently pursuing a career in medicine, art has been a constant presence in Grant Yun's life. He grew up drawing on physical mediums, taking photographs, and breakdancing.

He got into gymnastics in middle school after watching a few YouTube videos and decided to pursue breakdancing. He became more serious about it in college, found a community and scene, and traveled often to compete.

Most successful dancers start at a young age, around three years old, but Grant started much later and mostly on his own. Despite the challenges, his dance accomplishments exceeded his expectations.

His artist journey follows a similar path.

Yun's introduction into digital art began in college during his freshman year. He played around with Microsoft PowerPoint/Apple’s Keynote, using the shapes tool to overlay shapes onto one another. Despite only using Powerpoint, Yun says he managed to create convincing images. He then moved on to Adobe Illustrator, where he would teach himself much of the techniques he still uses today.

He first became aware of his artistic talent when, as a non-art major, he entered a college contest and outmatched numerous other competitors who were studying art.

"I didn't know how that was gonna happen at the time, but I just knew my art was good enough," Yun said. "I just needed to find an avenue which I could be able to share my heart."

When asked if he is just naturally gifted at everything he does, he laughed.

"I am not as bright as some people think I am," Yun said. "I just work hard."

His humility is something that is rare in web3. In a space where egos and personalities far supersede a person's work, Yun lets his art do the talking.

I try to be as humble as possible. But at the same time, like, I'm really confident in my art, and I know it's actually something pretty special. I don't like to downplay my own art. Maybe I'll downplay my achievements, but the art itself, I believe in very much.

- Grant Yun

Finding Beauty Everywhere

Grant currently lives in Milwaukee for medical school but lived in Madison for four years for his undergraduate studies. His life in the midwest is a strong influence for his work.

His Midwest collection is arguably his most successful and popular collection.

"I don't know if I have a favorite piece, but the one that like, really connects with me is the one called "Midwest," Yun said. "That series is the first series in the style that I have now, so if it wasn't for that piece, I might not even have the career I have today."

Grant Riven Yun

When asked about his emotions upon viewing "Midwest" and the rest of the series, Yun stated that he still experiences some of the feelings from when he initially moved from California to Wisconsin. The solitude and isolation depicted in his work reflect his experiences as an ethnically distinct student who was not from the same cultural background. Despite this, he finds positivity and beauty in his experiences and his depiction of the landscapes.

"The landscape itself is also like reminiscent of how I really view the entire landscape. When I first came to the Midwest, I would travel a lot, actually, because of dance, like, I would drive, like four hours from Minneapolis, or like three hours to Chicago, sometimes, several hours to Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, all these different states."

I know a lot of people think it's really boring or take it for granted. They think these states are just a bunch of farmland. But, I genuinely found that really beautiful, and I still do today. I still love looking out and just seeing the green and the different shades of green, the farms and the houses, how everything structured, and how it's dramatically different than it is from California.

- Grant Yun

His Specific Style

In his works, Yun pays tribute to 1920s Precisionism, a distinctly American art movement characterized by the simplification of subjects into geometric shapes. This style represents Yun's reinterpretation of 20th century art movements, resulting in minimalist yet impactful imagery. Yun previously named his style "Neoprecisionism," but now says he is moving away from calling it that.

In a tweet, he joked that it's called "Grantism." Regardless of what it's called, Yun's style is likely to persist for a long time and inspire future artistic movements.

Things you might have wondered

Do you ever feel pressure to make something that is good now that you have a considerable amount of success?

I have pressure to not make something that's considerably bad.

I think the pressure really is just never become complacent and to not drop the ball and create something horrendous, is essentially like the pressure that's put on me.

How do you continue to sharpen and change your art?

I go to museums on a weekly basis, and try to look at art physically. I try to read as many books on art as possible. I just try to google and look into different artists and movements. I think, over the years, as I continue to study art, like, it has slowly shaped the way my illustrations are created. And you can definitely notice I have, like, slightly fine tuned or adjusted the way I like my compositions over the past couple of years. As I continue to illustrate, it all still looks like my own art, but it also looks like you can definitely see like a progression.

Do you have a vision or dream of what your future would look like? Any goals for yourself?

I don't necessarily have any. I think I learned early on, like, I don't really like to have specific very, very specific goals. I have soft goals, but I think some of the goals that I have would just be to move somewhere quiet and to continue to progress as an artist. I think it'd be cool to get into physicals. I dabbled in physicals this year, and I will in 2023 a little bit more. I would like to see where my [medical] practice goes. And I think I'd like to have a little studio space for myself. I don't know if it'd be like a public or private studio. But, yeah, just be a doctor, progress in my craft, help other artists, and then maybe somewhere down the line, also help artists curate shows.

So do you see yourself using the same type of style for a long time or switching it up?

I think a lot of artists feel the need to want to do a different style, because they feel like their pigeon hole to illustrate a certain way, because that's what they're popular or like, that's what they've been known to do. But I actually generally like the way I illustrate. Don't really see myself wanting to create art in any different way. So I think I would stick with how I draw today. Of course, that could change.

I'm totally open to experimenting with, sculptures and things, but it would all still be within the same visual aesthetic. Hopefully, as I get older and life, those things will change, where it's more internally focused. Like I am, a better person, a more thoughtful person, or, like, I'm a good husband, good father, or grandfather, et cetera.

For more of Grant Yun's art check out his official website, Twitter, and SuperRare.

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Thumbs Down