We had the good fortune of connecting with Kaye Kang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kaye, looking back, what do you think was the most difficult decision you’ve had to make?
The most difficult decision I’ve had to make was to leave my country to pursue art in the large art industry. I had grown up in South Korea, where I started my career and had made my own comfortable nest. Then I got this desire to work with more diverse people in a bigger place. I was terrified to leave my family, my friends, and my art career and thinking about starting over from scratch in a completely new place with a new language begun to haunt me; Yet, I had to admit that I was no longer satisfied with my nest and that I had to move on to my next journey. There have been many challenges so far, but there have always been people around me who support me at no cost. I truly believe that I am living the best version of my life! I am always grateful for everything I have, and I am so pleased with my decisions.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think what sets me apart from others is my ability to approach and capture the lives of living things. I love stories of various cultures and old objects, no matter how small they are. While walking down the street and looking out the window, I always try to find a story; When I find such a story moment by chance, I transfer it to my white canvas, using the lighting that fits the moment’s mood ideally. I don’t think my style is unique, but my favorite ability among my artistic skills is that I can capture such a small piece of life and make it my own. There were, of course, trial and error to come to this phase. I used to like only drawing characters and didn’t know how to paint in digital. But at one point, I wanted to express the life of my characters with the background. It wasn’t easy. When I decided to learn how to paint, I only had less than two years before I graduated from school, and it was difficult to improve my painting skills to the level I wanted in a given time – yet I digested new knowledge, taking one step at a time, even if they were baby steps. Above all, I tried to enjoy it as much as possible, and if I did not like it when my painting was completed, starting over from the beginning several times helped me to learn from my mistakes quickly. What I really acquired through this period of time was that it’s never too late to try something completely new and putting time and effort into what you want to accomplish never let you down.
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.
This is the hardest question to answer because I can say endlessly without any hesitation. I’d definitely take my friends to someplace to eat first when they visit. I mean, you can’t travel with an empty belly, right? Starting with Soban restaurant in Koreatown would be great because they have this amazing array of banchan, raw crab, and pan-fried fish which always will be my comfort food. Or if the weather is too hot, Yuchun would be also a great choice since their cold noodle soup is so refreshing. And their dumplings with bone broth soup combination are just top-notch. I could eat all day. And for dessert, I’d probably take my friends to Oakobing to have their Injeolmi flavored bingsu or melon mango bingsu. As for places to visit, I’m such a big fan of The Getty and LACMA, so they will be my first choice to check out with my friends with our small sketch pads for doodling at the museum.
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 thank my AAU friends for always believing that I will be able to overcome many challenges when even I didn’t believe in myself. And many thanks to my Minecraft buddies (yes, I’m talking about you guys), and my sketch jam fam who have helped me to endure this whole pandemic.