We had the good fortune of connecting with Will Kim and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Will, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
“I love animation, but when someone says to me, “this is the right way to animate, and that is the wrong way,” the hair on the back of my neck stands on end. It’s like saying the only way to paint correctly is the academic way. If every artist had stayed true to the Royal Academy of France, we would never have seen the birth of impressionism.” by Cornelius Cole III This means the world to me. Corny was my mentor and instructor at Cal Arts where I attended and graduated for undergrad and he was responsible for almost everything I know about drawing, painting, and animation. I am an animator and filmmaker and Corny always encouraged me to express my story and my feeling in my own unique and original way and he constantly reminded me to keep exploring and experimenting. Corny is not with us anymore but I always look up to him and remember him and the passion and inspiration he showed me as an artist and educator.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am an artist and animator although sometimes I get hesitant to say I am an animator only because I look at animation as one of many forms/tools to express just like sculpture, installation art, or painting in museums and galleries. That may be something that sets me apart from others who consider animation as either a genre or just a video entertainment. I am not too proud of the accomplishments I have made so far only because there are too many more to accomplish and the list will never end. However, I am proud of a fact that I have been non-stop pursuing what I am the most passionate about since the moment I could hold a brush. I got to where I am professionally with countless encouragements and supports of my colleagues, teachers, and family. Academically speaking, I tell my students the same but I would not have been where I am if I didn’t attend Cal Arts and UCLA. Those two schools are hugely responsible for getting myself to where I am today artistically and professionally. It was not easy. Even though I was born in Los Angeles and partially grew up in the States, I spent most my childhood in Seoul, Korea. During my high school time in the U.S. I had to carry a notebook, a pen, and a dictionary to literally everywhere I went because without writing down what I wanted to communicate, I could never communicate with my teachers and friends. I stayed in English as a Second Language classes until the moment I graduated from high school. So both English language and American culture were huge challenges to me in my childhood. But what was even more challenging than that was that I wanted to go to art school and successfully graduate despite a fact that I couldn’t even properly speak English when I graduated from high school. How did I over come some of the challenges? I always did and do set up clear goals and plan a week worth and even a month worth works ahead. I do whatever it takes to achieve those daily, weekly, and monthly goal even if it means to skip meals or sleeps. Until everything on my list is marked off, I don’t get any rest. But once those on the list are all marked off, I relax, have fun, and enjoy my life like I don’t have anything to worry about. Also, I always reminded myself I needed to study 10x more than my peers in high school in order to get a similar grade as my peers because of my language barrier. If I may say one more way of overcoming the challenges, I never get satisfied with my achievement and continuously look for ways to improve and achieve something better and bigger. I just want the world to know,… Out here in a small city in Los Angeles County, there is this stubborn and hard working artist who has been animating with watercolor over a decade and will continue to animate with painting mediums until I can no longer hold a brush.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite spots to hang out, draw, and eat- Old Town Pasadena, Downtown Riverside, Countless Asian cuisines in Diamond Bar/Rowland Heights
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 or an organization that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are just too many. Schools I attended, family, friends, schools I taught… Among them, I would like to dedicate my shoutout to Riverside City College, not only where I am currently employed as a professor but this is the place where the creative freedom and artistic improvement are encouraged, with its strong and dedicated discipline like Fine and Performing Arts. Last year marked my 10 years of serving at RCC as faculty. I was fortunate to get a teaching job at RCC at a very young age and I can say with confidence, I grew up and am still growing up with the RCC community. With RCC’s goal of empowering students and giving back to the community, I feel constantly inspired and motivated to keep learning and keep growing.
Other: Vimeo https://vimeo.com/user8456906
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