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Yeni Kim

Yeni Kim

Meet paper artist from Seoul, Yeni Kim.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a paper artist and a creative director who works to warm the world by using paper.

It has been eight years since I started this unfamiliar form of art in Korea. Through this period I have worked on projects with many companies among which are several global companies such as Shake Shack, LG Electronics, Starbucks and Apple.

Recently new members have joined my team and this allowed us to work together on larger projects, which is much more fun than working alone! In my spare time, my daily life is all about developing my brand or reading books. You may find it not exciting, but sometimes I get a lot of interesting inspirations when I travel around the world! I am interested in continuously growing to be a better person. I want to contribute to making the world beautiful and warm with my artistic talent.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

Seoul the city where I was born and grew up. It is a dynamic and busy city where you find something new every day. It’s also a city which never sleeps because it’s a safe place. (Yet, I am busy sleeping at night.) Another attractive characteristic of Seoul is that it’s a place where high-tech science and traditional culture coexist in harmony. This together with the influence of K beauty and K-Pop contribute to a larger number of foreign tourists visiting it.

 

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

The best thing about Seoul for an artist like myself is that there are so many great big cafes where you can create. Many of my artwork ideas are born in cafes where I spend most of the time and prefer to work there more than in my workshop studio.

Fine dust is the most frustrating concern we have in the city. Nowadays, there aren’t many days in Seoul with a blue clean sky when you can breathe clean air.

 

Many of my artwork ideas are born in cafes where I spend most of the time and prefer to work there more than in my workshop studio.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Unique, Free, Dream

 

How did you start your career in art?

I was lucky to know from my childhood that art is what I want to do all my life. Fast forward to a few years, I went to art school, received job offers from several places before graduation, and got a job in a daze. However, soon after this, I felt a lot of skepticism in my job. Although my passion and dedication contributed to the growth and success of the company, it didn’t contribute to my self-development and achievement of my life goals. I thought to concentrate on creating my own brand and work on it.  Soon, I jumped into the jungle-like freelance market with my most confident skill at the time – painting. All creators will agree that, at first, it was a real series of hard times. After days and nights of searching and nailing unique style, I came to try the most familiar material- paper and I took a step into making paper illustration as my profession.

 

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

Yes, they were. It was my father who told me once to pursue a career in a field which makes you the happiest, the job you’re good at, the job you do not get tired of doing and can get you through hard times till the end. This phrase is in front of my desk for over a decade and was a reminder of what should I do in my life. When I started my freelance life as an artist, my parents worried, but they never showed it. Pressure from family members can bring great pain to those who struggle to live as creators, and I hope that families will extend their faith and support to those who need it.

 

Pressure from family members can bring great pain to those who struggle to live as creators, and I hope that families will extend their faith and support to those who need it.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

My first goal is to collaborate with world best brands and create a beautiful space to display project results. I want to have the first floor as a multicultural space with a café, work exhibition, and showroom, and the second floor as a place for paper workshops, where all the creation happens. I always visualize things before I accomplish them, and in my imagination, the building has an interior design already finished.

The second goal is to launch a successful brand to help many women around the globe (especially introverts) to have the chance for healing at home trough paper art. Pursuing a paper art career helped me gain peace of mind and become stronger through the time I spent immersing myself into it. Creating a good brand that can bring people healing and enjoyment at the same time is a way to share my experience with the world.

 

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

It is not a person but the company I want to collaborate with. It is Hermes.

I’ve been in the luxury goods business before, so Hermes, as one of the most luxurious fashion brands, has always been a focus and inspiration. In particular, their visual merchandising design is so great that makes me stand in front of the store windows for a while and collect VMD materials over the internet. Hermes’ founding story relating to craftsmanship is similar to what I am doing. I am still building up my skills and portfolio that I can use in creating wonderful works that will make Hermes stand out. So, if you see this… call me!

 

How would you describe the women around you?

My mother and sister are women who think it is a woman’s best virtue to support her husband and raise her children well. They live as housewives. Grown in the same family, I always thought differently from them. I think women should have goals they want to achieve in life and lead their own lives. Each of us came to this world with a special gift. It is our duty to live with that talent. I am frustrated to hear there are people around me who forget this and try to live in comfort by being complacent.

 

Each of us came to this world with a special gift. It is our duty to live with that talent.

 

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

There is a female instructor whom I admire. She also majored in art, but through constant self-development, she is now an active mentor to many women throughout the field. Listening to her lectures, I learned how to boost a career as a woman, and how to raise my self-esteem.

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?

Fortunately, I have never experienced discrimination at work. Paper art requires delicacy, a job where women can perform better. However, there are difficulties working on projects such as advertising shootings and displays which sometimes requires working through the nights. Such jobs also require physical strength which normally carried by men, so I feel challenged on that part.

 

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

I’d like to tell you to build up your physical strength. Without health support, enthusiasm does not arise and creative thinking is impossible. A creator is a person who embodies ‘an invisible creative idea’ to ‘a visible art piece’. I believe it is important to cultivate grit that can produce results without just stopping from thinking. Don’t get tired and try to achieve the best quality in your creative endeavors, don’t forget to invest in marketing your talent and bring your art to the world.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Yeni Kim.

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