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Meet Herok Kim

Today we’d like to introduce you to Herok Kim.

Hi Herok, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
In South Korea, where I’m from when I was around 10, I got into an argument with my mom. I went to my room and drew all over the walls in a rage. Instead of being angry with me, my mom recommended I do art. This was how I began doing art.

I studied in arts high school and one year of college; however, it was after my military experience that I really decided I wanted to be an artist. In the military expressing myself through art became like therapy to me. I did some tattooing after that but decided it wasn’t for me and went on to get a degree in branding and advertisement. For my final project at that time, I did some fine artwork.

It was then recommended that I continue my studies in art overseas.

Eventually, this brought me to SCAD in Atlanta, where I recently graduated with a BFA in Illustration. During my time at SCAD, I gained many valuable experiences, met wonderful friends, and learned a lot about art which I’m so grateful for.

I’m currently still in Atlanta searching for a job with an OPT and working on my personal paintings.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Being an artist, it’s always a struggle to market yourself and find where you belong. I feel like there are no clear answers, and it’s up to me to find the right path for myself, which isn’t easy.

It’s important as an artist to share your work with as many people as possible yet this is always one of the most challenging parts of being an artist. The most difficult part of my journey was coming to a foreign country, learning a language, and adapting to an entirely new and different culture.

This has been hard, but I’ve grown a lot from this experience. For me as a foreigner, it’s a struggle to live here with uncertainty about my future and of course, missing my family and friends who are in Korea.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m a visual artist and my work is like a diary that reflects my inner emotions, thoughts, and experience. I use metaphorical imagery which allows the audience to see their own interpretations. I enjoy this process and relationship with the viewer as it adds something more to the work beyond my intentions.

My work is often based on a story or something that’s hard to express with words like secrets or feelings. Although my work is personal to me, I aim to express shared human experiences. Sometimes I make art with no message or meaning and just focus on emotion. When I begin an artwork I don’t limit myself to one material I think about which material suits the concept best.

I suppose I’m known for my surrealism style. People can recognize my work for the painterly quality my digital work has. People often say they didn’t know my painting is made digitally. This quality sets me apart from other more illustration-based digital artists.

I’m proud when people say “I like your work!” and when they find it valuable and want my work in their home. I also feel proud when my work resonates with musicians or filmmakers and they want to collaborate with me. I feel the proudest that I keep following my dream and continue to always make work.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
The best part about Atlanta is definitely my friends and girlfriend. I also love how there is a big appreciation for art here and I can get inspiration from all the art and culture.

Atlanta feels like my second hometown. I also like the weather and nature. Atlanta also has a tough vibe but I like it., What I like the least is the lack of a big art community here compared to other big cities.

The Atlanta art scene is growing but I wish there was more here for visual arts. Also, sometimes it’s dangerous here with the crime. I’ve had some bad experiences, so please be careful out there.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Lucas Tam @lucatamphoto and Herok @herok

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