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- Interview: Finding Beauty in the Ordinary on Healthy is the New Skinny
- Article: Empathy, Art, and Business on The Abundant Artist
- Essay: Redefining Your Idea of Life on Revolution.is
- Feature: "Promote Inner Beauty" by Beutiful
- Feature: "Phenomenal... Supercool" by Design Milk
- Feature: "Jewelry goes Philosophical" by LiveFast
- Feature: "Sincere Reflection... Awesome Result" by The Mag
- Feature: "Incredible Collection" by The Inspiration of the Nation
Join me in a Sublime Experiment.
Having grown up in Seoul, the world's top destination for plastic surgery, I lived all my life surrounded by promotions of superficial beauty. While I'm not absolutely against it, I've seen the negative effect it can have on women of all ages. Some suffer from depression. Some get addicted to plastic surgery. Some commit suicide. All trying to live up to the standards created by the media.
I think it's time we strike a balance.
Using wearable art to promote inner beauty.
Wearable objects are notorious for being marketed to promote superficial beauty. As a result, they are often thought to be a symbol for status or mere decoration. I would like to challenge this idea.
In my studio work, I have personally witnessed—over and over again—that beauty arises from what may seem like ordinary or even mundane objects when you give them your sincere empathy and persistent trust.
I would now like to share this story as widely as possible. The best way I know how is through my work, as they are the products of this very process, and the embodiment of the story of inner beauty arising from trust and empathy.
Help spread stories of inner beauty arising from the ordinary through trust and empathy.
I am funding the production of the following body of wearable art objects. The body of work—consisting of earrings, rings, bracelets, necklaces, and brooches—is made primarily of Velcro® brand hook-and-loop fasteners.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
One of the main functions of art lies in challenging our preconceived notions, thoughts, and ways of life. In doing so, it empowers us to realize the hidden potentials that lie in each and every one of us, both individually and through interaction, be it with raw materials or people.
When we see someone wearing an over-sized diamond ring or pair of diamond earrings, the questions that usually pop into our heads are "Wow! I wonder how much that is," "I wonder how many karats is that." or "I wonder if she got engaged."
On the other hand, the body of work I'm presenting here usually provokes questions like "I wonder what that is made of?" And when you find out, you experience a moment of surprise, which further provokes questions like "I wonder why I didn't think of that?" or "I wonder what other mundane materials we can uncover beauty from?"
I find the experience of these moments of surprise and inquiry to be priceless in their ability to rekindle our child-like curiosity and wonder, as it opens the world up for us to re-imagine.
And the beauty of wearable art is that it is remarkably simple to share this feeling with others. All it takes is to wear them out, and to share your story when the opportunity arises.
Not only different, but also meaningful.
As I carefully craft these objects by hand, I get excited knowing that they can not only express elegance and intrigue through their unique form, but also inspire a feeling of confidence and pride through the understated, yet deeply meaningful story it embodies of the limitless human potential to use trust and empathy to uncover beauty from the least likely of sources.
Its light-weight and simple design makes it go with just about every occasion.
And because it looks so different from anything out there, it never fails to attract the attention of other people even when it is not a large statement piece. And attraction is important, because it is the necessary first step in opening people up to new stories.
I can't do this alone.
I already know that these conversations happen within the walls of universities, galleries, and museums. With this project I now hope to explore if wearable objects can facilitate these conversations to occur serendipitously in our everyday lives.
Wearable art needs someone to wear them. The experiment cannot be carried out unless it has participants. And as it moves through space, as it is seen by people, and talked about by people, that is when they realize their meaning and function.
I believe in the power of wearable art in spreading meaningful stories, because I have proof from my own life. But to have an impact at a larger scale, I need your help.
Here is how you can help.
All pledges of $10+ will be credited as a founding supporter on our future Website.
At the next level is a digital PDF copy of "Reconfiguring Ordinary." It is a book I made back in 2009 to reflect on the exploratory process I developed in graduate school, which eventually lead me to my current body of work.
Beyond those two, I have chosen the following selection from the body of objects being introduced. They are marked down 5 – 40% from the retail price.
FYI, the choice of material makes even the large earrings very light-weight (one Mara Mejo with long post weighs in at around 0.07oz or two Aleve liquid gels).
Please also keep in mind that the rewards will be all made by hand. So their actual appearances might differ slightly.
When you pledge for these objects, you will also receive the digital PDF copy of "Reconfiguring Ordinary"
With each object reward, you will receive a signed postcard that matches the object you selected. Here's the current design of the postcard, which may change in the future.
When will they be delivered?
As soon as I can make them. Just to be on the safe side, I've put down on the right Apr 2013. But depending on how many orders come in, I should be able to get some of them out by Dec 2012. If you're trying to give this as a Christmas or a Valentine's day gift, we can talk about this once the project gets funded.
Do they stick to your clothes?
Nope. : ) I have recently figured out a way to prevent that from happening, so don't you worry. I actually wrote about this on this article titled How Empathy Can Help You Build A Successful Art Business.
Where does the money go?
While I'd like to make these objects in large quantities, I plan to only partially use an automated manufacturing process. That will allow me to engage the human hand in the most important aspect of the production.
The $10,000 pays for:
- Printing of post cards signed by Yong Joo Kim that tell the story of how and why these objects are manifestations of inner beauty.
- Custom eco-friendly packaging (fulfilling their minimum order)
- Custom tooling needed to mass-produce the silver portions of the objects (i.e. earring posts and dangles).
- Custom hand tools needed to cut the fasteners more efficiently. ( and prevent RSI while we're at it)
- Kickstarter & Amazon fees
Tell me more about the relationship between trust, empathy, and beauty.
As a child growing up in Seoul, Korea, I thought that recognition was the ultimate goal in life. My peers believed that scoring high on exams, and entering high-ranked universities were the only ways to gain recognition.
For my female colleagues and I, competition didn’t end in academics. While I was too afraid to go under the knife, ten of my friends eventually went on to receive plastic surgery. They believed firmly that beauty affords greater probability of getting a good job or finding a successful husband: both effective ways to gain recognition.
All this changed when I moved to Providence for graduate school. Living in a small city abroad came as a shock. The difference in culture, the language barrier, and the workload all made it very difficult for me to feel at home.
But I then realized that without the cultural restrictions of home, I was able to explore my environments more freely. I didn’t know what the social norm was so I wasn’t pressured by it. With nobody to stare at, and nobody to be stared by, day by day, I felt the longing for superficial beauty start to dissolve.
The less I became self-conscious, the more I became aware of the fact that the world is full of unnoticed objects. I found such objects beautiful. And as I became interested in their potential, I started taking these mundane objects and evolving them into something new.
What I have learned from this experience is that no matter how mundane or insignificant a material seemed, as long as the creative process was fueled by a firm belief in their potential, imbued with the desire to empathize, I was consistently surprised to discover that the material possessed qualities of beauty that I did not know existed.
This experience has
changed my entire perspective on the "function" of art, in its ability
to uncover the potentials that lie in each and every one of us, be it
raw materials or people by trusting empathizing.
Wherever these objects end up in society, I hope it can help spread stories of people uncovering beauty in our everyday lives.
Who are you?
What kind of credentials you got?
It's ironic that we return to the idea of recognition, isn't it? :)
I am an MFA graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design in Jewelry and Metalsmithing. In 2012, I received the prestigious Niche award as a winner in Jewelry: Sculpture to Wear. In 2011, I received the Adrianna Farrelli Prize for Excellence in Fiber Art from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I was also the recipient of the Professional Arts Development (PAD) grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) in 2010, and a finalist for the 2009 Lydon Emerging Artist Award (LEAP).
My work has been internationally exhibited at museums and galleries in New York, Boston, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, Seattle, Sydney, Firenze, Kyoto and Seoul. My work has also been selected as part of the prestigious Museum of Arts and Design’s (MAD) permanent collection.
I work and live in Providence.
What does your studio work look like?
[Photo Credits] Modeled by Olivia Culpo / Photography by Daniel Gagnon / Makeup by Jessica Galbreath Berndt / Hair by Bethany Mechan
If you'd like to see more work, please visit yongjookim.com.
Thank you for your support!!
- (60 days)