Seoul born artist Jieun Kim completed a Masters in Graphic Design in 2011 at the Chelsea College of Arts in University of the Arts London. After graduating, she started working under the name The Drawing Hand in London and has developed her visual style with various media. She has been able to engage her audience in many different ways such as giving talks, participating in art markets and guiding several art workshops in Seoul and London (source Mokspace Gallery).
“It’s so beautiful it makes me happy” one of Mokspace Gallery’s visitors commented, on Jieun’s recent work. Jieun’s Talk to me Darling illustrations are full of colours and positive energy. In her interviews she says that she is very much influenced by her own personal experiences, she also tries to reconstruct scenes from her life and transfer it into her latest work. Her most recent illustration exhibition took place at Mokspace Gallery in London, It was her second solo display at the gallery. We got a chance to chat with the artist while she was in London showing the art of The Drawing Hand.
Photos courtesy of Maksim Kalanep
It was a beautiful and, unusually, sunny day in London when we headed to Mokspace Gallery to conduct the interview – it is described as “an exciting new gallery within the international art scene that is focused here in London, where East meets West. Principally it spotlights work from today’s most exciting, and booming, creative sources – Korea, China and Japan”. We were greeted by Jieun Kim who showed us around the gallery and introduced us to her new illustrations, which we found engaging and inspiring. We started off the interview by asking how it all began. Jieun, with a big smile on her face, said
“I have been drawing since I was a child and I did my sketches wherever I go. I always keep a notebook with me in which I draw whatever I feel is worth drawing. I try to capture every moment of my life”.
She also added that her journey as an artist truly started when she came to London to study Graphic Design. It was a long process but she received a vast amount of support from the people around her and those who were interested in her work. We were also curious to know about the process Jieun goes through when working on illustration, she told us that:
“It all depends on a design or illustration. If I do commissioned work it all depends on a deadline. For commissioned work I always wait for my client’s request. After that I do extensive research and draw sketches, which are later shown to the client. If the person is satisfied with my design I then go through my work. With my own work the creative process looks slightly different. There is no deadline. I can research for as long as I need to. There is no fixed schedule, everything is up to me.”
It was interesting to hear that the artist likes to keep her work fresh and she likes it when her work progresses naturally:
“I try to be versatile in my work. I want projects to be different from each other. Sometimes I paint, sometimes I work on graphic designs and from time to time ceramics. Nevertheless, I am still learning and trying new things. Generally I like to tell stories through my work.”
It seems like Post-Impressionism, and in particular its bold colours and emotional honesty, had an impact on Jieun’s illustration work. She admitted to herself that she was always fascinated by the Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh and his incredible paintings:
“I like to look at his work and search for what’s behind his work. I really admire the fact that he was a self taught artist and that he pushed himself for years before he became a great painter. It is amazing to know that Van Gogh did not begin painting until his late twenties, completing many of his best-known works during the last two years of his life. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks.”
Jieun Kim always says that her work is positive and honest. When asked about her second solo illustration exhibition at Mokspace Gallery, she happily admitted that having a second display of her work at the gallery was very exciting. She is also grateful to everyone who helped her to achieve her dream. Jieun also gave great advice to those who want to become illustrators:
“Just keep drawing, painting and practice whenever you can. You need to find your own style, when you do that you can become an artist.”
Photo courtesy of Maksim Kalanep
We were very excited to talk about Jieun’s inspirations, work and the creative process that’s behind her art. She has currently nothing in the pipeline. She admitted she has done a lot recently: two solo exhibitions in London and one in Korea. In a very humble way she said that she still feels like a beginner so she can’t figure it out what to do next. Jieun believes she will get another opportunity to show her work again:
“As long as I paint and draw there will always be something to do.”
We do hope to see another one of Jieun Kim’s solo exhibitions soon. We wish her all the best on her return to Korea.
Interviewed by Maggie Gogler
Thank you Jackie Tatham for arranging the interview.