Sky Kim was born in Seoul, Korea and received a Master’s Degree in Painting at Pratt Institute in New York. She is a recipient of the National Museum of Contemporary Art’s National Korean Art Competition Award and a Pratt Institute Art Grant. She has exhibited in galleries, museums and art fairs throughout the U.S. and Korea, including the DUMBO Arts Festival, Gwangju Biennale, MOCA DC and Governors Island Art Fair. Her work has been reviewed in The Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Korea Herald, Artlog and The Korea Daily and on WMBCTV.
And now for our exclusive interview with Sky Kim:
How would you describe your art?
My meticulous, labor-intensive watercolor paintings/drawings are at once abstract, anatomical, spiritual and sensual. There’s a constant tug of war embedded in the organic undulations in my work. The shapes are comforting, yet dizzying; fluid, yet stagnant; organic, yet abstract; delicate, yet obsessive. I seek to find a way of understanding myself and all living beings by digging through a big mass of abstract mine- a given LIFE.
How long have you been an artist and how did you become an artist?
I’ve never wanted to be anything but an artist since I was little so it would be hard to pinpoint when it was that I decided to be an artist. Growing up, a sketch book and crayons were my best friends.
What is your favorite medium and why?
I found water-based medium, especially watercolor, to resonate well with my energy. The most favorable advantage of the medium is the fact that it dries almost instantly which allows me to keep going with the flow of energy I am having at the moment of creation without having to stop. By calculating the exact amount of water, I can enthusiastically create both the transparency and layers that I want without the heaviness. For this reason, I rarely use acrylics because of the flatness and plastic-like texture which doesn’t provide room for paper to breathe.
Pick one work of art from your portfolio and tell us the story behind it. Why does this piece have meaning to you? What steps did you take to create the piece?
This small pencil drawing (9”x11”) is a turning point for me. Before this piece, I made large-scale oil paintings that had many robust brush strokes and drippings. I didn’t have a separate studio space in the loft apartment when I just moved back to NYC from Seoul. I set up my studio in the corner, not being able to work on a large canvas; I started making small pencil drawings. I added red watercolor to the dull-looking pencil drawing to give it life then I quickly realized how much I used to love watercolor. From that moment on I switched my medium to watercolor, a decision which entirely changed my painting style. It went from biomorphic images with big gestures to labor-intensive, detail-oriented images with the repetition of pattern.
Tell us about one medium, technique or style that you would like to try working with (that you have not tried before) and why you would like to try this.
I’d like to get my hands on the holography technique. With it, I’d like to create images that only exist in my head. I would shoot infinite numbers of colorful lights and geometrical patterns overlapping in layers into the air so that you feel as if you’re floating in a dimension where your conscious and subconscious minds have no barriers. With this medium, I wouldn’t know what limits are in creation.
How do you make time for art?
Time is the most precious thing to me. In order for me to be able to use the little time I have solely for my art, I sacrifice many things that many people enjoy, including spending time with loved ones, traveling, etc.
If you could imagine the “perfect art day” for yourself, what would it be like?
It would be a day that I work all day in my imaginary studio which is spacious, white-walled with a million-dollar view, then I sit by the window and watch the most magnificent work of art that God created-the bloody sunset while sipping fine wine. Then, one of my artist friends would swing by and we talk about art and life all night.
If you could spend 24 hours with one artist, living or historical, who would you want to spend the day with and why? What would the two of you do?
It would be Jean-Michel Basquiat whom I want to spend time with because I want to taste what a Bohemian life style is like with this free-spirit artist. Basquiat and I would walk around the city, leave our traces on every wall we pass, walk miles and miles without any specific destination, visit some cool friends, smoke some pot, crash on the park bench at the end of the day and then we would laugh about life.
Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring artists?
Being an artist takes a lot of discipline, patience, undivided focus and most of all believing in yourself because you will consistently experience frustration, disappointment, deflated self-esteem and even anger. Be original in your creation but be humble about it. And, do not complain about you not being a successful artist because your negative energy will only attract more of that kind that you don’t want in your career. When 100% is required, give 200%.
To learn more about Sky Kim or to see more of her amazing work, visit her website at www. skykim.net
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