We had the good fortune of connecting with Dahn Gim and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dahn, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Not too long ago, I used to dedicate 80% of my time in teaching and organizing art-related events and organizations with many artists and professionals in the arts. Despite how much I appreciate those learning times, there were several incidents that propelled me to set a very clear boundary and strict rules in order to balance between “we” and “me.” As few of the unpleasant incidents working in collaboration with others were about the inequality of race/ethnicity, gender, and lack of diversity as well as an imbalance of workload began to teach myself how to speak up for injustice and to foster teamwork and solitude. Balance (in the context of working with others) begins with keeping boundaries, which to me was the most challenging yet important.
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.
As a Korean diaspora artist based in Los Angeles and Seoul, my work stems from personal experiences reflecting the process of adaptation to constant shifts and changes in surroundings. Particularly interested in the inherent contradictions and tensions between two different cultures, languages, and social values, I often find myself exploring the ambiguous realm between the natural and the artificial, combining analog and digital techniques and materials. The notion of hybridity has always been my interest because of my hybridity in identity, which once was a challenge that I face day-to-day. However, as I began to grapple more in-depth about it, I began to appreciate such dualism, especially as an artist.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Los Angeles is the most exciting for its’ diversity in food and culture. Despite the mesmerizing view of the ocean along the California State Route 1 and many sightseeing spots, I would like to bring my friend to the places that reveal the weirdest and yet the greatest part of LA such as the Museum of Jurassic Technology (Culver City), The Last Bookstore (DTLA), Cafe Jack (K-town) and such that delivers the dreamy or weird combination of cultural aesthetics all in one place.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my dearest mentor and friend, Henri W. Lucas, a graphic designer/artist based in Los Angeles. Among many friends, I also had unconditional support from one of my team members/founding member of FEMMEBIT, Kate Parsons, and one of the most talented artists, Yoshie Sakai also based in LA.