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Today on the blog we got to hang in Atwater, with a local favorite, Rami Kim. We had such a good time getting to see her process, look at some of her first works, and learn a bit more about how she blends and fuses together the lines between expressive beauty and everyday function. We're grateful and excited to have her on the blog, meet Rami!
Tell us a bit about who you are, and what you do
RK: My name is Rami Kim. I am a ceramicist and an artist living in Los Angeles, CA!
With a background in animation, are there any films that inspire you or your work?
RK: I love watching all kinds of films. For animation, I love Miyazaki's work. My favorite Miyazaki's films are Totoro and Kiki's delivery service. The story is very unique, and the watercolor background work is just amazing. I think I am influenced by its feelings, rather than the look of the films. I also love Allison Schulnik's beautiful stop motion animation films, especially the one called "Mound". It's very emotional and moving and the dance sequence of the characters in the film just blows my mind.
Being a full-time artist must require a delicate work and life balance, how do you split your time between working and living?
RK: I became a full time artist in 2015 and at first, it was very scary. It definitely requires a hard work, almost all the time. Doing everything by yourself isn't very easy. However, I am the one who controls myself, and I am my own boss. And that is awesome. From being a full time artist for a few years now, I know exactly when to take a break, and when I expect to be super busy. So I am getting better at planning for myself. Most of all, I enjoy my time being at my studio even for long hours. However, after the hard work, I try my best to relax at home and take a break in between. I also take a yoga or pilates class to take care of body because my work is physically very tiring. Also, I try to be connected to my friends and I try to share the process of my work with the world as much as I can because my work is a pretty lonely job and sharing your work with people is somewhat important to me.
We love your women figurines and their mysterious nature. Do you have a story for the creation of these miniature lives? How did they come to be?
RK: I've always drawn these women since I was a girl. Some people think that the ladies I draw look like me, but I have no specific person in mind. I am just drawn to these characters with melancholy poetic faces. I started making small figurines of these women when I was working on my stop motion animation films in graduate school, and basically, that's how I started my line of ceramics.
What is your current favorite piece you've recently made, what about it excites you?
RK: My favorite piece I've recently made is the black blobby sculpture you photographed me with! I named it "Black Planet". Currently, I am making a series of this blobby family. This excites me because it is something different from what I am doing. I am interested in making the asymmetrical shape, that cannot be easily made. I am just in love with organic, and weird form. Sometimes production work gets tiring since there is a lot of repeated work. After a lot of hard work, I kind of reward myself making a piece that I believe in strongly and I am excited to develop more ideas on this.
Can you describe your earlier clay works with us? How have you seen your work evolve and change?
RK: I made small head sculptures for my puppet to use in my stop motion films, and these figurines had little boobs and hand painted flowy hair. They eventually informed little girl figurines later made out of porcelain. And the girl figurines later informed the girl face pots. I think my earlier clay works were a little more fun, and more childlike. I used a different range of colors. My work now is becoming more minimal and simple in a decorative way. I am still in the process of informing and translating into another work. And one day, I would want to go back to animation and try to animate one of these characters or my sculpture.
Culture plays a powerful role in many works of art, do you find that your work is at all influenced by your cultural background? In what ways (if any) do you stay connected to your roots?
RK: I believe that culture is a strong part of me and my life. It influences my thinking, learning, feelings, values...everything! I believe that I am very connected to my roots since I spent my childhood and adolescence in Korea, but I am also strongly connected to the diverse culture in Los Angeles, where I've lived in the past 13 years.
What do you listen to while you're creating?
RK: I usually play a bunch of playlist on Pandora or Spotify. Lately, I've been listening to a lot of Natalia Lafourcade and Buena Vista Social Club. This music makes me happy and with full energy!
What was your dream job growing up? How do you think your 15-year-old self would feel about what you're doing today?
RK: I wanted to become an artist when I was growing up. I didn't know what an artist was really, and I didn't know that there were so many different types of artists. But I thought it was cool to be creative and it sure looked fun. I think 15-year- old myself would feel excited and happy to see me accomplish my dream.