3 Creative Questions to Clara Soyoun Kim
Clara Soyoun Kim is an artist based in Philadelphia, but originally from Korea. After a career in landscape architecture, she moved to the USA to study painting. She received a BFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2017. As a member of the Philadelphia Art Connection, the Plastic Club, the Sketch Club and the Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center, among others, she has participated in many solo- and group exhibitions. Clara has both a passion for art and nature and combines the two in her work. Apart from landscapes she also paints still lives, portraits and abstract paintings based on Korean prints.
What was or still is your biggest challenge as an artist that moved to the US from a foreign country and how did/do you overcome that?
I was not an artist in Korea. I came to the US to study painting. While I was studying with American students, the biggest challenge for me was communication. In group critiques, I could not make myself be comprehensible enough in English. In group shows, I couldn’t communicate with other artists in depth about the paintings. However, I eventually realized that what is more important for me is to communicate through a painting rather than the language of viewers. So, I prioritized making time for painting and postponed studying English for speaking. I would like to create paintings which show my authentic self with honesty. Then, I will be able to communicate with viewers through my paintings.
How do you expand your network / where do you find buyers for your work?
I have joined several artist centers and groups. There I meet many artists and learn about the possibilities of having a solo exhibit. It is difficult to find buyers personally, especially for the emerging artist. The only way to meet buyers is through the exhibitions. I try to participate in many exhibitions, and have had several solo shows. At the exhibitions, even though I don’t necessarily sell many paintings, I can at least let people get to know my name. I think that as a beginning artist, letting people know my name is as important as selling paintings.
What is your best tip for an emerging artist?
I would like to give a tip that I received from my teacher: “Don’t listen to your teachers. If you listen to your teachers, then you will always be a follower. Only you can ask your own questions and learn how to answer them. Only you can figure all this out, so please do what you want.” He continued by repeating that “the most important thing for you to do is to have fun and first and foremost to express YOURSELF in your paintings.”
You can find more of Clara's work on her website www.clarapainting.com