NK INK: North Korea Graffiti, Stencils & Street Art

“They call me MR KIM..”. at least, Flickr user Randall Cottrell did when he posted the above image of a smiling Kim Jong-il on January 25th of 2012. No doubt the then-deceased Dear Leader would have been amused to know his stenciled visage is gazing out upon the quintessentially American town of Duluth, Minnesota – a place he could never visit due (in part) to an innate fear of flying shared with (or possibly inherited from) his father.

Fly United?

If you thought North Korean imagery in Duluth was a stretch, how does Tempe, Arizona strike you? The curious invitation to visit a country that really doesn’t want visitors is a passive-aggressive street art tour de force. Flickr user Quinn Dombrowski (quinn.anya) snapped the above sun-baked stencil on a Tempe sidewalk on June 28th of 2012.

There Can Only Be Un

The year 2012 dawned with Kim Jong-un, second son of Kim Jong-il, assuming the mantle of North Korean leadership. Dubbed the “Supreme Leader”, North Korea’s new er, supreme leader was born in 1984… or 1983 (according to Dennis Rodman) or 1981, no one’s really sure. One thing’s for certain, however: Kim The Three is setting a style standard centered on his “interesting” haircuts. The Warhol-esque street art screenings above take things to a whole ‘nother level. Both can be found in London’s Shoreditch district, captured in 2015 by Flickr users William Fallows (new folder) and Tim Constable, respectively.

Take Me To Your SmearLeader

According to blogger Linda Ikeji, “An anonymous graffiti artist has sexed up North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un by putting his head on a woman’s body – that famous Nicki Minaj Anaconda cover art.” Ikeji adds that the artist is selling the image on stickers and it’s turned up in locations as diverse as Washington DC, Tokyo, Brazil and Kazakhstan. Very nice! A similar “SmearLeader” guerrilla artwork using the same shot of Kim’s head but pasted onto George Costanza from Seinfeld has also been spied – what has been seen, cannot be unseen. A word of advice to the anonymous artist: for your own sake, dude, STAY anonymous.

Just Be Cos

Now here’s some maximum-grade trolling: On October 19th, 2015, urban graphics guerrilla SmearLeader plastered a jumbo smiling Kim Jong-un sticker over the head of Bill Cosby on the outer wall of Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington D.C.

Un Done

Kim Jong-un is unimpressed by these shenanigans and boy, does it show in this work of graffiti art hailing from Toronto, Canada. Flickr user Bella snapped the above shot captioned “Kim Jong Un(Done)” on January 3rd of 2016.

Midas In Reverse

Bella seems to have a knack for uncovering Kim Jong-un graffiti. Leaving the frosty confines of Toronto, she snapped the above sticker somewhere in New York City on December 31st of 2016. Well, someone spent a productive New Years Eve at least. Speaking of which, time will tell if 2017 will be remembered as the Year of Kim or the Year of Trump. I think we can all agree it’ll be the Year of Living Dangerously.