GR2 Interview: Merging Views – Dan-ah Kim

1) Explain about your work area / studio. What about it makes you enjoy working there?

I recently moved into a small art studio in Gowanus, close to where I live. I like having a space outside of my apartment where I can go to focus on work, put drawings up on the walls, make and leave a mess. It’s basically a white box that reminds me of art school studios, but it’s the first private space I’ve had and it feels like my secret hideout.

2) How does it differ from your last working area?

Right before this space I spent a year in large studio shared with a florist. That one was really inspiring to work out of but after moving apartments it became too long of a commute. Before that I worked out of a small bedroom crammed with supplies and paintings tucked away in every corner, my cat’s paw prints making their way into paintings.

3) You have other endeavors along with your fine art. Can you talk about what you do there, and how that intertwines with your work?

For the past few years I’ve been working as a graphic artist or assistant art director in film and television. My job consists of creating any graphic needs for the shoot, from signage to props and set dressing. It doesn’t crossover with my art work much, unless a decorator borrows some prints to put up in a set. I paint during the weekends, and usually spend a few months on a film or show then take a few weeks off to work on personal projects. I’m also about to self-publish my first children’s picture book!  It’s called “If I Lived in the Sky” and I hope it’s the first of several.

4) In your art journey, are there any physical objects that have inspired you?

Books! I love finding old books with worn pages to paint on, or ones with faded illustrations and handwritten notes. I always have a stack of reference books near me when I work. About gardening, weaponry, maps, or inspiring artists (Kiki Smith, Louise Bourgeois, Joseph Cornell, Yayoi Kusama, Henry Darger are some favorites). Trees and weapons are some of my favorite things to draw.

5) What have been the biggest obstacles in your art career development and how did you get through them? 

Figuring out which direction I want to go in long-term, and finding balance. Actually completing things I start. The consistent feeling of uncertainty. So far I’ve tried to get through it by just keeping as busy as possible, though now I’d like to be slower and more thoughtful with each project.

To see Dan-ah Kim’s Art for Merging Views, take a look at her set.