We had the good fortune of connecting with JK Kim and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi JK, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Initially, my work life balance was immensely skewed. I worked so much and didn’t take much time for my personal life or health. However, that changed completely when I became pregnant with my first child. I learned to take care of both my mental and physical health and to turn off my work brain when I am with my family. I feel that I’ve achieved a pretty balanced system now and am happy with both aspects of my life.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve been tattooing professionally for about 5 years now and had an apprenticeship for 2 years before that. It wasn’t an easy road, especially because I had to switch mentors along the way. But I’m so thankful that I stuck with it and have met so many supportive friends throughout the years. I feel that an integral part of the tattoos that I give is the experience of the session itself. I love getting to know my clients and talking to them about their past, future plans, or even just the day that they’ve had. It definitely taught me to truly appreciate everyone’s story and not make quick judgments based on how they look or present themselves. I guess the main thing I’d want people to know about myself is that I am always open to learning and growing and love hearing all stories, big or small. I value my clients’ time just as much as they value mine.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My go-to food places are in Flushing, Queens. I know a lot of people tend to overlook it because there is a huge Chinatown in Manhattan, but I think the restaurants in Flushing are hidden gems. White Bear, Chongqing Hotpot, and Kungfu Xiaolongbao are my favorites. I would recommend visiting all the touristy spots in the city for first timers, but also tell them to stop by smaller areas such as the Elizabeth Street Garden, small thrift and vintage shops in Lower East Side, and the quieter spaces in Central Park that most tourists don’t explore. I love the Met and Guggenheim for weekday excursions when they’re not so busy- there’s always interesting exhibits to see. Of course, since I’m a tattooer I would recommend visiting for a souvenir tattoo! The shop I work at, Atelier Eva, is located in Williamsburg and is one of the most beautiful spaces I’ve ever been a part of.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am forever grateful for my husband for supporting me 1000% and making it possible for me to pursue my dreams and have a family at the same time. Without him, I wouldn’t have had the time to pursue tattooing as a career and I wouldn’t have been able to raise my kids the way I want while working full time.
Atticus Radley, David Le