UO Interviews: Rami Kim


This month we’re excited to team up with Satsuki Shibuya — Painter, Artist and Spiritual Thinker — on a curated marketplace and discussion panel on setting intentions for the new year. Leading up to the event on January 19th, here at Space 15 Twenty, we visited each of the makers + panel speakers to learn a little bit more about them. 

We visit the Los Angeles studio of artist, maker and award winning animator, Rami Kim, to learn about the inspiration and ideas that go into her sculptural and functional ceramic objects.

Can you introduce yourself please: tell us more about who you are, where you’re from, and what you do?  

My name is Rami Kim, an artist and maker living in Los Angeles, CA and I am from Seoul, Korea. I mainly work with clay and I love making sculptural vessels and objects. Currently, I work out of my art studio in Glendale, CA.

What led you into your creative career? Was it something you always knew you wanted to do, or did you stumble into it?  

Even when I was working in animation industry after college, I've always dreamed of becoming a full time artist one day. Because of that dream, I've always tried to make time to work and develop my personal work. When I went back to a graduate school to focus more on my career and animation, I've worked and played around a lot with clay for my stop motion animation film, and I started making these little girl figurines out of sculpey, and I ended up having an army of them. That's how I started doing what I do now. 

What are you working on right now: what projects are holding the most focus?  

I am working on a new series of ceramic sculptures for a group show at a gallery in Nashville. January and February are usually the perfect months for me to develop a new work or experiment so I am doing a lot of those, which are the fun part mostly, but sometimes frustrating. Currently, I am planning to do more clay tests, glaze tests, mold making and slip casting. Oh, and I am going to start painting again, and that should take up all my free time!

What do you love most about what you do?  

I just love working and making with my own hands, and I can do that with my work. Also, I am my own boss, so scheduling and managing my time is pretty much up to me. It's crazy when the busy time comes though, I don't have weekends and I am here except when I am sleeping. But because this is what I love to do, I don't really mind it. 

What are you looking forward to in 2017? What are some goals for yourself and your work?  

I am looking forward to spending more time to work on paintings, and making more sculptural objects that I feel connected. I'd love to try working in large scale sculptures, but also keep producing small scale sculptures, which I really love.

Tell us about what inspires you. How do you find new inspiration?

I find inspiration everywhere. From a small cactus in the street to an art piece at a gallery / museum. Nature, organic shapes, people around me, and feelings. I recently came back from a trip to Mexico, and the whole trip was full of inspirations. The warm and happy feelings of people in San Pancho, the color palette of the walls and house at San Pancho, the greens in the jungle, the waves, the smiles of little kids, and most importantly, I learned that living a little slow life is beautiful.

Have you ever found yourself in a creative rut? If so, tell us how you managed to get out of it.

Of course, and I still do find myself in a creative rut every once in a while. It all depends on situations, but usually, I would just step back and take a little break from work. I could go to a hiking, or have a lunch with my friends. But sometimes, I have to keep fighting to get out by actually working until you get an idea from it. I would keep sketching and roughing out with clay to find an image out of it and try things differently here and there.   

What's been the biggest turning point for you so far in your career?  

My biggest turning point would be when I finally let go of the path I was holding on to. I always held on to animation because I was scared to let it go. It was a career that I knew I could do well and I could make a living out of. But I think I wasn't very happy in the place and it became more clear when I started working with clay. I wanted to work for myself and I wanted to make things with my hand, and I think it was a right choice.

How do you define success?  

  • More time to visit my family ( My family lives overseas, so it's a big trip for me to go visit them )
  • Having people who feel connected to my work
  • Happy feeling about what I do

You've learned a lot in the journey of your career. If you could share one piece of wisdom with aspiring creatives, what would it be? 

It's never too late to start doing something that you love and become whoever you want to be. If you are not happy about yourself, find a way to become more happy and work really hard! 

You can find Rami Kim here at Space 15 Twenty on Saturday January 21, 2017 from 1-5pm for the Satuski Shibuya Marketplace. Check out more details on the event using the link below.  
Satuski Shibuya Moment Marketplace  
Follow Rami Kim on Instagram! 

Shop Rami Kim