We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley(Gyooyeon) Kim and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashley(Gyooyeon), is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?

Yes I do. “Let’s live with the heart of planting seeds day by day. Even if it instantly disappears because of a forest fire, drought, or typhoon, it can become a forest and a shelter for someone. Expect my small actions to be another path of good influence. Flowers bloom on the side of the road and sprout in thorny fields. Even in stone fields, dandelions spread seeds to the world.” This is the quote from Youngjoon Han who is the  president of an international relief organization called Coin Tree, where  I have been donating to for a long time. He is one of my role models who builds schools and hospitals in countries in need, especially for kids.

There are some times when, despite everything I do, my surroundings remain stationary and I feel unsure if I’m doing well. Sometimes I fail no matter how hard I try, and I question if these little actions I do are meaningful. But this quote always makes me move forward because it tells me if it is in the right and good direction, even if it’s a small thing, each of my actions is meaningful and never useless.

Currently, I dream to be an animation art director and one of my visions is to show the world a heartwarming story that can give strength, encouragement, and support to someone. And every time I face hardships and lose my original intentions, this quote reminds me of why I am pursuing my passion, and it gives me a purpose-driven life.

And I’m currently directing an animated short film about the seed at ArtCenter College of Design. It contains a message that there is still hope in a lot of confusion and bad incidents going on in the world these days, and all the efforts we make will shine if we don’t give up and do our job steadily. Making an animated film with a big team and visualizing my ideas and stories in the media of animation are challenging and I can sometimes feel blocked, but this quote always gives me a way to follow.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

I get excited when I draw very detailed environments of the world that I imagine. I really love to add small details of the story, so the audience enjoys looking at and finding different aspects of my art.

Also I want to share my feelings and thoughts based on my experiences to build my view of the world in much more unique ways. The moments of watching thousands of stars at midnight, dancing cheerfully at beaches with exciting jazz songs, hearing sounds of frogs and crickets, and having pleasant conversations with people who I just met made me so excited that I was overjoyed. I would like others to see the community and world from another point of view just like what I experienced. I infuse hope into my art and story to tell people to cast off their sorrows for now and realize that the world is also a bright and beautiful place.

I still have a ton of things to learn before I become an artist who can make the audience fully share their emotions, feel comfortable and warm in every moment through my art, but I feel I am slowly going forward towards that dream.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

Haha actually I always call Google Maps my friend. I always like to mark my favorite places or any pretty places I want to go. And wow, I counted the number and it is about 900 places!!! Hahaha. If my best friends come, it is really hard to choose one typical place, but I would bring them to The Colonnade(Naples Island). It is such a good place to walk around as you  watch pretty boats under the sunset.

Or I really want to go on a train trip to San Diego! I also love to bring them to the Cerritos Library  and the Korean mall to eat some Korean food.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?

I want to give a shoutout to my mentor named Steve Ahn, who is the animation director in Avatar now. He was the one who led me to the professional career as a background designer in the animated series called “The Boys Presents: Diabolical.” Because of him, I could experience my dream career in the animation industry and could learn a ton of skills and grow as a better artist in diverse ways. Also, I was honored to be part of receiving the Emmy nomination under the Outstanding Short Form Animated Program category with this series.

In addition to giving me the opportunity to work as a background designer, he also became my role model as a good director and Christian. He taught me how to look through various different mindsets, attitudes, and perspectives that directors should have. He also donates to the child fund organizations with all of his profits by selling his art books. That always inspires me to be a director who gives a good influence to others.

Website: https://ashleyorangekim.myportfolio.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gyooart/?hl=en

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashley-kim-b970781aa/

Image Credits
For the frog illustration-It is the animated shorts that I worked with the team, so the character drawing was done by Aaron Chon. For the 3D modeling scene, I modeled mostly based on the image from Pinterest. Thank you!

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.