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In The Studio: Minjoo Kim – MA Fine Art


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Published date
01 September 2017

MA Fine Art student Minjoo Kim came to Chelsea from Seoul, South Korea. Now hoping to settle in the UK as a painter, Minjoo talks to us about the challenges she has faced on the course and her transition from illustration to fine art.

Describe your experience at Chelsea in 3 words

Groundbreaking/ Conversation/ Visceral

Please tell us about your work over the last year

The most valuable experience at Chelsea was receiving those ‘meaningful questions’.

I was already confident about the fact that I had my own significant style. However I wasn’t sure if I could expand it to a higher level. That was also the reason why I applied for this course. Through the countless tutorials, seminars and conversation with other students, I have received significant and poignant questions about what I have to reconsider and how I can view the world in different ways. Those questions have broken my own stereotypes and led me to keep trying to create something new. Chelsea has a great environment and atmosphere for me to push ahead with this challenge.

Please tell us about your work for the final show

My own biggest task was finding a new model of narrative about identity issues. I’ve been thinking about how I have to see myself living in this different cultural society, not in a conservative South Korean society which is where I used to live in the past. I’ve always tried to make narratives that can be generated from my personal experience happening in the present time. In that sense, the most important sentiment in my degree show work is isolation. As a stranger who is eager to settle down in this brand new world, I can’t help feeling isolated and uncertain. These are the stories derived from that emotion.

What was your greatest challenge in working towards the degree show?

There are two major challenges that I had to overcome.

Firstly, changing my painting style to open up more possibilities. I used to pursue cleanly finished illustration and I always felt very comfortable within it. But I have attempted to make it more loosened and visceral so that it can make a bigger impact on the emotion of the content. Secondly, making the narrative more ambiguous so that it can be interpreted in various ways. My works before this course were quite intuitive to read and this could block the way to interpret them in a more diverse context. Still, I’m not 100% confident and comfortable about these abilities, but I certainly enjoyed the entire process of this challenge and I would love to develop further in the future.

What do you see yourself doing after you graduate, what are your career ambitions?

I hope I can settle down in the UK as a contemporary painter who has her own significant character and at the same time, who maintains a strong Korean identity. I will continue exploring those opportunities such as art prizes and shows throughout the UK, so that I can build my career and become more accomplished as a painter.

What have you enjoyed most about studying at Chelsea?

I have been given many brilliant tutorials from Chelsea. Most of them were from our tutors and some from varied artists outside of Chelsea. It was great to have the chance to hear opinions and feedback from people who have different perspectives. Personally the in-depth conversations were my favorite part of this course and every time gave me interesting tasks and challenges to overcome.

What have you most enjoyed about the area around Chelsea? Any tips?

I can proudly say that Chelsea has the most amazing location among all the art schools in London. The best part of it must be having Tate Britain next door. Chelsea offers this great advantage of free passes to all students, so I would go and appreciate all the incredible contemporary art pieces anytime I needed some inspiration or to refresh my ideas. That was such a huge benefit to my practice every time. Additionally the location of Chelsea has a great link to central London. Whenever I found interesting art events from Time Out, I could get to nice contemporary venues in Soho or Vauxhall right away in half an hour, sometimes by foot. That is something really important for art students who always want to be exposed to the multitude of events and opportunities.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing your course? Any advice?

I’d like to say that if you are interested in joining this course, be ready to get easily swayed as far as you can. Chelsea definitely has its own unconventionality. It’s not about forcing you to go somewhere uncomfortable. It’s more about discovering new territory that you’ve already got inside you but haven’t noticed yet. If you can maintain your own identity during the process, I’m sure you can achieve something noticeable that you’ve never thought you would!

Check out more of Minjoo’s work

Read more about MA Fine Art

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