I first stalked Miran Kim at Comic-Con way back in 1997 and justified it by writing an article about her in Giant Robot 8. It was awesome to have met Miran in that early stage of her career, when she was best known for painting doom-and-gloom covers of The X Files and The Crow. Among the topics we covered were being uprooted from Manhattan to the Kidnapping Capital of Asia (a.k.a. Seoul), working for The Man (a.k.a. Fox), and having fans that range from paranormal believers to death metallers. Too bad the pages of GR were still on newsprint in B&W because no one could paint bruises, stitches, or organs as well as Miran.
Somehow, I made the transition from Miran’s fan to friend and we’ve kept in touch. So I was stoked to find out she has a solo show of personal work that will open at Galerie Petits Papiers in Paris, France, on February 2. Her latest work is shockingly colorful yet as dark as ever, treating the human body as not only a bag of guts but a vessel for cosmic energy that takes form in the most surprising of colors. Here’s what Miran has to say.
MW: Wow. How did a show in Paris happen?
MK : Through a series of divine introductions: Jim Salicrup (Chief Editor at papercutz a.k.a. Topps Editor on X-Files comics) introduces me to David Mack (Kabuki comics creator) introduces Carl Wyckaert (influential art collector and curator in Europe) introduces Alian Huberty (Galerie Petits Papiers). People work in mysterious ways. I am very thankful for this wonderful event.
MW: Your newer work is so much more colorful than it was when I met you. Can you talk about how you’re using color?
MK: I always loved colorful things as a child and it has captured my interest again as a grown-up. There are so many ways to arrange colors to affect our optic experience and I enjoy the powerful creative communication it provides when I make art. The beauty of each hue is indefinable.
MW: Yet the themes are still quite dark. Are you Goth for life?
MK: The connection I feel to the darkness is like being granted special access to the underworld. Colorful things can glow better in the dark, and illumination of life in the dark can be a powerful image. It fascinates me to discover and bring to the surface beauty from dark spaces. Dark space still awakens savage feelings in my heart but in more colorful ways now. Yes, I am Goth for life!
MW: Where do the faces come from? Friends? Photos? Imagination?
MK: Faces come from thousand of ghosts hidden within my cells, flowers that live in my neighborhood, and feelings that I receive from the reward of love. They come from outside and personal spaces, and all characters enhance my story-telling world.
MW: Does every piece have a story in it?
MK: Some pieces begin with specific thought and intention. Other paintings surprise me with their stories. Unconscious and unexpected thoughts and feelings show up at my door daily and I try to capture them without editing too much.
MW: Can you tell me about the old days doing work on The X Files and The Crow? How did those jobs affect your development as a fine artist?
MK: The X-Files comic book project was a very cool gig. I am forever affected by the paranormal stories I read, and I loved every moment of it. What can I say about The Crow? It is still hatching with powerful love stories and it was an honor to partake in the epic drama. It pushed open the doors of my imagination as an artist to entertain some of the weirdest and emotional thoughts available in comic book stories. The experience taught me to patiently describe whole life without prejudice.
MW: Besides me, are there many fanboys that still bring up your old work these days?
MK: You are the one and only remaining fanboy living in the ’90s! Although from time to time I run into some X-Files fan who reminds me that the “the truth is still out there”…