Artist Spotlight: Interview with Phil Kim

Art by Phil Kim

When I think of art, I tend to put them into several categories. First, there’s art that, when placed in a room, can accentuate the look and feel of any space. Then, there’s art that elicits emotions, gets the mind racing and even helps with escapism. Then, there’s art you would actually want permanently placed on your body. Artist Phil Kim’s work fits all categories. Kim has devoted 15 years of his life to creating art inspired by traditional Japanese tattoo, Asian and Chilean Folk tales, and the figurative flow of art-nouveau.

Get to know Phil Kim and his art.

Artist Phil Kim

How long have you been creating art?
For about 15 years now.

What inspires you?
The multicultural aspect of contemporary society. I have always been interested in the mixing of styles from Asia, Europe and America. Since I am a multicultural creation myself, there is not a single day I do not struggle to find balance. I think that shows in my work. I try to understand and capture the essence of the Asian style since it is ironically the most distant to me and the hardest to understand through orthodox tradition.

How would you describe your art to someone who has never seen it before?
My current series is done in Asian rice paper, and uses the traditional Sumi ink and brush. However, I have mixed contemporary styles of tattoo and urban designs and motives through create a balance between the orthodox and the avant garde.

Who are your influences and who do you admire?
My work is heavily inspired by traditional Japanese tattoo, Asian and Chilean Folk tales, and the figurative flow of art-nouveau.

Do you have any artistic goals? If so, what are they?
My current aspiration now is to create a full installation, the size of a warehouse, based on the traditional Japanese Tea Room.

What lessons have you learned so far from the industry?
1- You have to do what you love and with the fullest passion.
2- You have to know people.

If you could collaborate with anybody else, who would it be?
Cai Guo-Qiang and Richard Serra.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Learn the business but do what you like doing the most.

Are you currently working on any projects?
Yes. On a series of Tea Room panels depicting old Asian erotic art.

Where can we see your work?

About the Author

Formerly an editor and writer at Citysearch, The Examiner, LA Youth Newspaper and proofreader at The Los Angeles Daily News, Christy Buena decided to start Disarray Magazine because she missed writing what she wanted. From hiring writers, to contacting publicists and making assignments, Christy is responsible for the editorial strategy of Disarray Magazine.
Questions, comments or suggestions? Contact

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