An interview with Dan-ah Kim
“Dan-ah Kim’s new work for her solo show Waking In The Dark is beautifully rendered and so delicate. I love Dan-ah’s ability to cast a ghostly, spider web touch in all of her work. So haunting.” – My Love For You
Please talk a lil’ bit about the work that makes up your new series for “Waking In The Dark”?
This show came together for me during a few months when I had some troubles not letting me rest. I’ve always had issues with sleep and am a very lucid dreamer, so the theme for this show grew out of these residual feelings I was left with upon waking. From there I made notes about things like paralysis, rebirth, and chasing demons. I also worked on this show while traveling, wanted to capture the surreal, sometimes sinister, experience of waking somewhere unfamiliar in the middle of the night.
You recently completed an artist residency at Can Serrat International Art Centre in El Bruc, Spain. How did that come about and can you tell us a bit about your stay there?
After researching artist residencies for awhile, I applied to Can Serrat largely for its location in Spain. I was notified of receiving a support stipend last year, and chose April of this year to complete my one month residency. I have a hard time describing to people how brilliant the experience was and sound completely genuine at the same time. Simplified, being able to work and live in a lovely house and studio under Montserrat with weekend trips to Barcelona- amazing! But most of all were the people, meeting artists from around the world and having late night conversations taught me more in a few weeks than years of schooling did. Being away from my comforts and focusing all of my energy and attention on my work was the challenge and opportunity I needed as well.
Why did you choose to become an artist?
I’m not sure if I actually chose to become one, or if it just happened and I’ve been riding along ever since. I also ask myself how I got here everyday.
Tell us about your process and how you go about deciding on a theme for a piece of work or show. The way you incorporate sewing into your work is very inspiring, not to mention your vibrant color palette.
Sometimes it just begins with a story idea, or a few words that inspire a picture. Aesthetic choices tend to come second to the fiction and atmosphere a piece evolves around. I start with drawing and painting, then build layers with paper, sewing, and more drawing and painting. I enjoy making things with my hands and when I’m gluing paper and sewing thread, it feels like I get to interact with the piece in a more tactile way.
From your time at Pratt, what one thing you learned while there has stuck with you most to this day?
I felt they encouraged us to not stop learning, that it was important to always be looking at art, reading about it, researching art history, keeping abreast of current news. But to take it beyond just the art world and constantly look for inspiration in unlikely places, to be aware of the world past your own specific interests.
Tell us a bit about your work in film. Any upcoming projects you are excited about?
I work in the art department, and my position tends to vary depending on the size of the film. For example, the last two films I worked on were It’s Kind of a Funny Story, and Coming Up Roses. The former was a bigger, studio movie that I worked on as the assistant art director, and the latter was a small, independent film that I set decorated. On Funny Story I made all of the graphics used in the sets- fake record albums, school posters, hospital signage, logos, etc. I also did all of the drawings for Emma Roberts’ character. On Roses as a set decorator, I shopped with the production designer for all set dressing- from furniture to all of the details, tons of tchotchkes. Then we dress the sets, turning empty rooms and stages into characters’ homes, offices, and whatever the script calls for. Working on films is a ton of work and much less glamorous than you’d think, but completely rewarding at the end of the day. As for upcoming projects, films fall through so often that I refuse to believe I’m actually on a job until the first day of shoot!
What do you consider your biggest overall influence?
My family, they’re quirky, loving bunch. When it comes to my work, I suppose books have been the biggest general influence, since it was a love for stories that attracted me to any sort of creative realm to begin with. They kept me steady company while we were moving every other year.
What have you got coming up in terms of shows after your solo show with us?
Some group shows, and a two person show next year with Timothy Karpinski at Thinkspace.
Dan-ah Kim‘s ‘Waking In The Dark’ is currently on view through July 30th. Don’t miss it!
View the works from ‘Waking In The Dark’ here:
6009 Washington Blvd. in Culver City