Enchanting Compositions with Christine Kim
Written by: Kwesi Adjin All Images courtesy of Christine Kim

Christine Kim does it all and she does it with subdued elegance.  Her art is subtle but indelible.  Whether we are examining her cutouts, her fine drawing skills, or her installations, this Toronto based mixed media artist has a very unique touch that is beautiful, ethereal and original. It is easy to see why Christine has received such acclaim in her young career – we believe her humility and her creative versatility will catapult her even further. 

We are thrilled to have been able to secure an interview with Christine Kim and hope you enjoy her words as much as we do.  See the interview below …

“Luckily, I haven’t received harsh criticism, but it may still be early …”

Please tell us a little about yourself – your childhood, siblings, where you grew up, what you liked as a child, strange thoughts as a child/now, unique attributes, where you live now, etc.?

I grew up in a small town outside of Toronto with two brothers – one younger and one older. I definitely have middle child syndrome, and being a girl, I was fairly invisible, which gave me some freedom to do what I wanted. I remember being pretty bored as a child, spending summers fishing, making bonfires, and catching flies and minnows. Now, I live and work in Toronto. 

What does your art mean to you?

I wouldn’t know what I would do without art in my life; there would be too many hours in the day. But with my studio practice, I often wish I could clone myself. 

How do you describe your form of art?

I work with paper mostly – drawing, painting, cutting, and pasting. 

What tools do you use for the creation of your work and how did you create your personal art style?

My style has evolved pretty naturally. I have always loved drawing. With a background in stone lithography, I saw the possibilities of commercialization and its connection to bookbinding. Since childhood, I had a special affinity to paper and I would create my own miniature sketchbooks, get into some origami, and collect rice paper from Korea. A few years ago, I started cutting paper by hand in the beginning, but now I invested in a Silhouette Cameo, which is a craft machine that does the work for me. So it has really transformed my studio process significantly. I spend more time on the computer designing these pieces and when those are being cut, I have more time to draw and paint. So I find that my drawings have become more layered in themselves. 

What is the worst critique you have ever received about your work? What is the best compliment that you have received about your work?

Luckily, I haven’t received harsh criticism, but it may still be early in my career..?  So far, the best compliment would be a request for a tattoo design based on some of my cut paper collages. 

All your work is beautiful, but your installation works in particular are gorgeous, what is the most unique way that you have been commissioned and/or exhibited?

I have been developing various ways of creating immersive paper installations for the past few years. I collaborated with Marcin Kedzior for Nuit Blanche Toronto 2013. And we were invited to remount Paper Orbs for Ottawa’s Nuit Blanche this year. I think the most recent installation was by far the best in terms of the design of the paper helmets, the streamlined design and construction of the pavilion, and the interaction and flow with the audience. 

Which artist/s do you look up to the most?

I have a longer list, but these days… Swoon, the Makerie Studio, Cy Twombly, Pieter Saenredam, and Vermeer. 

Since Style.No.Chaser is a men’s lifestyle magazine, what attributes/items/clothing /etc. do you think define a man?

I don’t know much about fashion, but I like quiet confidence and a sense of humor that is often self-deprecating.  

What is your personal life philosophy?

For the past few years, I’ve been taking Tina Fey’s advice: “say yes and figure it out afterwards”.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I have so many, but two that stick out are The Great Beauty and Birdman. Both films are based on older characters, a writer and an actor, respectively, at pivotal moments in their lives where they are grappling with the gap between past accomplishments and future ambitions. 

How can people learn more about your current and upcoming works?

They can sign up for my newsletter on my website or follow me on Facebook.

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