Maria Kim

04MKIMgoneThere is no other language that can release the amount of thoughts and emotions bottled up. Once you start forming words, sentences, and phrases through the work, it’s hard to stop.

Being a Korean-Canadian, an immigrant child, a child of a single parent, moving to various cities and having to cope with new people and environments constantly, has made me stronger and more embracing of differences, but has also alienated me from being connected emotionally.  Through experiences and research I realized that I was apart of, what I call, the “in-between generation”. A generation that is unable to find roots in any culture; find an identity that is self-satisfying; find anyone who totally understands their emotions and their thought processes.  A generation that is lost and confused, and yet the one that can be found to be apart of any culture, community or network.

Themes of disconnect, isolation, new encounters, and separation, have always made their presence in my work. Therefore, experiences, encounters, and the community of artists I interact with daily are my deepest influencers.   Other than the now, for many years I have also been influenced by the Austrian painter Egon Schiele, for his raw lines and use of negative space; the German Expressionists who distort the use of colour, space, and scale; sculptors as Magdalena Abakanowicz with hollow figures and surface texture, and more recently Claudia Alvarez with her rooms of ceramic children and their piles of shoes. With my recent move to Edmonton, AB, I wish to further understand the rawness and depictions of both Julian Forrest and Kim Dorland.

01MKIMthebirthdaygirlWhat’s integral to the work of an artist?

Lack. For once you are satisfied you stop creating.

Struggle. For it is hard to constantly expand your mind and change your perspectives.

Inspiration. Any motivation that will start a thought or emotion, a need to do something.

Honesty. About what it is that you are saying.

Time. Investing in the work and earning the time to continue your practice.

And constant feedback and validation of the process or the work itself, as there is nothing more fearful than silence.

What role does the artist have in society?

This is a big question for me, as I have to define the difference between an artist and a non-artist in our generation before I can even ponder the impact on the society at large.

So far this is what I think..

An artist creates space for dialogue. It’s the language before and after words, and anyone who interacts with the artist or their work can participate in the conversation. The conversation can be directed, chaotic, short, and many sorts. By constantly initiating the conversation, an artist is vulnerable to the responses and to the extent of their own thoughts. Hence, it is necessary for artists to evolve, expand their knowledge, refine their skills- as one will not be able to say what they want without the ability to express exactly what they want- and always take responsibility of what is said.

What art do you most identify with?

That which is raw, honest, and causes me to stop and think.

I identify with works that have an imprint of the artist’s hands- paintings, drawings, ceramics, metals, and textiles, are examples of some methods I appreciate more than others.


Maria Kim will be at her first Queen West Art Crawl on September 12-13 at Trinity Bellwoods Park. You can find her at the front of the park, at booth J04. You can also follow her on Instagram at @singmariamaria.

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