Hwa Hyun Kim was born in Seoul, Korea, and graduated from Seoul National University with a BFA in Asian painting and a BA in art history. Her background in these two fields and the influence of Manhwa—a popular form of graphic novel circulated in Asia, equivalent to Japan's Manga—are incorporated in her paintings, which address the issues on gender, sexuality and Orientalism. She received Fulbright Graduate Study Awards in 2007 and studied at Maryland Institute College of Art, from which she graduated in 2009 with an MFA in painting. Since her first solo exhibition, Venus, hosted by Gallery Jinsun in Seoul, Korea in 2006, she has held a series of solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group shows. In 2016 she published an artist's monograph, "Phantastes's Room," which accounts her painting process and the inspirations behind her artmaking. She received her doctorate degree in painting from Seoul National University in 2019, and is now working as a practicing artist in Seoul.