Looking for a new painting to hang in your entryway? Sick of dealing with art dealers, gallerists and auction houses? Want to meet the artist whose work you’re buying and actually start a connection with them? Saatchi Art is making all of that possible with this year’s “The Other Art Fair.” Happening May 2nd through the 5th in New York City, art lovers will be able to meet and buy directly from the best emerging and undiscovered artists.
With fairs across the globe in the US, UK and Australia, each edition of The Other Art Fair showcases work by a selection of talented artists handpicked by a committee of art industry experts at Saatchi Art. Celebrated for its unique visitor experience, The Other Art Fair inspires and delights with a tightly curated and distinctive programme of immersive fair features that create a platform for the ‘unexpected’ at each fair.
We had the chance to sit down with Seungjoo Kim, one of the many artists presenting work in the fair, to chat about her artistic practice, what being an emerging artist in New York City is like, and what being a GirlBoss means to her.
Seungjoo Kim - Sunset, Edition of 20, 2018,
ELLA SNYDER: Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an artist? Where did you start and how did you get to where you are now?
SEUNGJOO KIM: I’ve been a painter since I was little, and have been taking photos ever since I got my first phone. I learned how to use photography as inspiration and documentation for my paintings in high school and I continued to work in a similar process in my undergraduate as well, but I gradually found taking photos to be more fun. Even my painting professors had told me that my photos spoke stronger than my paintings and encouraged me to take more pictures. I still have that painter in me, and it comes through in my photo work. To this day, people tell me that my work reminds them of paintings. It’s interesting.
ES: Most of your artwork (especially in this exhibition) is photo-based, how do you approach making a great photograph?
SK: I aim to capture exactly what I feel and how I see things in that physical presence within the photo. As photographer Uta Barth describes with her work, I too focus on the volume of a room instead of its wall, and on the atmosphere instead of the landscape. I always question how photographs may expose a cinematic narrative and how that makes meaning when I make images. For example, in my work “We are Different,” I was more than miserable when I took this photograph. I was so upset that I even forgot to turn on the light of the room, but despite this tense mood of the room, the weather outside was perfect. The light came through the window and it created a beautiful pattern of light and dark. The moment I aimed to capture is not only this high contrast light, but also the moment I felt that this bad situation could get brighter. I still struggle a lot in the way of taking photos and haven’t figured out how to take great photograph, but I think good photograph attempts to show you even beyond what you see.
ES: What about Instagram photos?
SK: I post random personal things on my instagram. What’s fun about social media photos is that it’s instant and you can share how you’re feeling in that moment. I think it is really important to have good social media skills in this era, and it is also very crucial for artists to self-advertise, but I honestly don’t do much of that. I just post what I like, which is mainly my dog, and I only have a few followers.
ES: What inspires you? What is at the core of your work?
SK: Everything on earth, and the trivial things I encounter everyday. The subject of my work changes all the time, but I photograph through my own experiences and emotions, so I guess at the very core of my work, there is self-discovery.
ES: How did your relationship with Saatchi Art begin? How do you feel about them presenting your work in The Other Art Fair?
SK: Saatchi Art is a great platform for self-employed artists, because you can show and sell your work directly to buyers online, without need of gallery representation. So you can basically start relationship with Saatchi Art anytime you want. The Other Art Fair, presented by Saatchi Art, shares this mission of helping unrepresented artists share their voices and allows art lovers to meet and buy direct from emerging artists handpicked by their curators. I feel honored to be selected as one of the artists, and I am super excited to meet show-goers!
ES: Who are some artists, past or present, that inspire you?
SK: There are a LOT. To name a few, photographer William Eggleston, Uta Barth, Sophie Calle, Jack Pierson, Moyra Davey, Painter Whanki Kim, Paul Cezanne, Agnes Martin, and I went to Constantin Brancusi exhibition at the MoMA a few weeks ago and his sculptures left me speechless.
ES: What do you think the role of an artist represents in 2019?
SK: For me, the ultimate goal and all-time role of an artist is to keep an eye on social issues, and make the world a better place with your work. It doesn’t matter if you create grotesque art to evoke issues by way of dark humor, or if you create a visually beautiful work to give hope to people suffering, but there’s got to be something.
ES: The event is partnered with GirlBoss, an organization that aims to empower girls and redefine success for millennial women by providing the tools and connections they need to build their futures. What does being a girl boss mean to you?
SK: I was so glad when I found out The Other Art Fair is partnered with GirlBoss, because there is still huge gender imbalance issue in the art world. It makes me really sad whenever I see related research on this. Being a girl boss to me, simply means being a powerful woman. Any ambitious, hard-working person (she, he, they... someone’s gender identity shouldn’t be an obstacle to be a boss!) that thinks like a boss can be a girl boss.
Below are some of the photographs that Seungjoo Kim will be presenting and selling at the fair: