“Collage is a visual interpretation based on some of the same founding philosophies of Hip-Hop and jazz” – Geoff Kim
Geoff Kim: The Artistic Dutch Master
Bay Area born graphic artist Geoff Kim has found a rare and tactile medium between the digital indulgences of online media and the old school physicality of collage, recycling visual culture by combining the analog with the virtual. Currently living in Amsterdam, Kim has been pushing the graphic artist title to its literal limit with a new project taking his collages, which often depict an amalgamation of clippings from old text books and vintage National Geographic issues and translating them into the 2D realm of animated GIFs. We caught up with Kim to learn a little more about the art scene in Amsterdam, his inspirations, the materials used in his work and the trends of art in a digital world.
How did you start collaging? Where do you find your materials?
Curiosity got me collaging. It was mainly seeing and learning about other collage artists that made me think I could just as well do the same. My materials mostly come from old bookshops or used book dealers. Though recently I’ve been less discriminative. Anything and everything from images out of books to the whole of the internet.
What was the first artwork you created?
I was too young to remember, but when I was two I drew a crude image of Leonardo and Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which my mom still has somewhere- that was probably the first.
Has your style changed since you started making art?
Most definitely. Within my lifetime it’s changed immensely. Within the time span of doing collage, it’s changed a bit.
Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from all of my sensory experiences. For collage work specifically, I find inspiration mainly in the fact that my practice is a part of something larger than me or my work. It’s understanding that collage isn’t just about making pretty pictures out of other pretty pictures. You can compare it to Hip-Hop or sampling culture where an amusing sound is taken and manipulated then pieced together with another amusing sound to make something completely different and new. Collage is a visual interpretation based on the same founding philosophies of Hip-Hop and jazz. Sampling and improvisation.
What is a collage GIF and what got you making them?
These collage GIFs are ways to make my collages move. I was inspired by another collage artist, Anthony Zinonos who made a simple spinning head collage. I just took the idea of making them move and ran with it. It’s recycling visual culture, that’s what all collage artists do at the end of the day. In terms of digital art and art in general, I think the whole playing field is being blown open. I think traditional art such as painting and illustration will always exist forever and onwards. However now it’s just now a matter of people using software or the internet as their canvas that is evolving practices and traditional notions of art. It’s changing the dynamics of the gallery, the curator and the audience. Everyone is trying to figure out how to fit into this new dynamic, including myself, and it’s all up in the air at the moment. I prefer to work with my hands- the most intimate and enjoyable part about making collages is removing and adding pieces of paper on top of one another. That said, in order to make these GIFs, I’m working with the computer almost entirely. Both have their satisfactions, but only digital comes with straining your eyes from staring at a screen.
Do you see any new trends in art? Do you think trends matter?
I see a lot of trends in art. These days a lot of it is pushed through the interaction of blogs and online magazines which gives a certain contemporary twist to trends these days. Do they matter? I think they’re nice to be aware of but at the end of the day you have to stick with what you know because trends are flimsy, you can’t rely on them.
What’s the art scene in Amsterdam like?
It’s great. There are a lot of young people because of the universities and foreign companies that are based here. People come from all over the place so it’s fairly culturally diverse. From my experience there are different groups and pockets of creative people in this city. You might have the hip art school kids from Rietveld, the more established, older generation of Dutch artists, the squatter, more underground artists, to young locals running their own club nights. It’s a vibrant scene.
Anything new you’re working on?
Lots of new things coming up. A studio is in the making and a few more GIFs.
See Samples of Geoff’s collages and dynamic GIFs in the slideshow above.