Kim Young-Soo was born on 15 December 1954 in Seoul. He studied architecture and worked in a drawing office for a year. He was unable to continue his work because of a disease of the muscles (progressive muscular dystrophy), which had begun to manifest itself three years earlier, was becoming ever more severe. Having enjoyed painting since his childhood he now began to paint with his hands until he was forced to abandon this activity five years later because his muscles had become too weak. One day he saw a woman engaged in mouth painting in a television programme and a few days later he tried this out for himself, finding that it gave him the greatest pleasure. This discovery proved to be a remarkable experience, motivating him to engage in intensive training.