We had the good fortune of connecting with Taehee Kim and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Taehee, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I tend to view risk as an opportunity. It doesn’t necessarily mean I’m always a risk-taker but when I look back on my past, I learned and developed myself more when I was on a difficult path than an ordinary and easy one. And eventually that time has become the foundation for further growth in my life. For example, a few years ago, I moved from Korea to the U.S. to experience a different culture and to do so I had to give up everything that I’ve achieved in Korea and start from scratch in the U.S. for at least a few years while I’m staying here. I was excited but at the same time worried about whether it was a good decision or not. It took a few years to adapt myself to a new environment and I’m still learning new things. But I’ve never regretted my decision and I’m building my art career pretty well now. We make a decision every moment and if you are aware of what you are doing and your situation risk-taking can be a good thing.
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’m a new media artist working with interactive sensors, sounds, and installations. I’m focusing on creating work where people can “experience” the work rather than just “looking” at it. The underlying philosophy in my works are based on mostly Eastern Asian ideas such as emptiness, nothingness, somethingness, etc. I get most excited when I share my thoughts through the work and people understand and feel what I’m trying to say. That is why I think art is one of the strongest forms of communication. I’m really grateful when random people come see my work and say to me something like “Thank you for this work. Please keep doing it.” Sometimes I get lost from the reason why I want to do art and constantly ask questions to myself what it is for. But those simple words of cheer from strangers become the biggest motivation of my art. During this COVID-19 pandemic, several exhibitions have been canceled and postponed for me. This whole pandemic made me think of shifting my work from a physical installation to a digital interactive world. I’m still organizing my thoughts for my next work but excited to see what’s going to come out.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d like to recommend a road trip to Joshua Tree. It’s one of my favorite sites in California. Such an amazing place to visit. Whenever I go there it’s so unreal and I feel like I’m on a different planet. Noah Purifoy Art Museum near Joshua Tree is also a great place to check out. The story around Noah Purifoy and how he dedicated his life to art just blew my mind. Spending a night at Joshua Tree would be great if you could. It’s one of the best night views in the middle of the desert with countless stars. Furthermore, if we have time, I want to show the Mojave desert. You could hike a beautiful, giant sand dune. There are so many places to explore and incredible landscapes to enjoy.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to say thank you to everyone who I know because I learn a lot of different things from them and that becomes part of my life. For the last couple of months, I’ve been interacting a lot with LA Artcore and Pranay Reddy, the director of LA Artcore. They are active and supportive to the local artists and community. It’s very interesting to see their generational shift and I’m glad to be part of the process. The community gives me positive energy and I’m looking forward to their next phase.