HannaMi Kim is a self-taught artist now happily living in Singapore, having previously lived in both South Korea and Hong Kong. Her art reflects her endless optimism and abundance of energy. HannaMi inter-weaves lines, colour and objects with energy and some of her work is tinged with shades of tradition and culture. However, it always reflects her character, view of the world as well as her life journey and myriad of experiences.
Currently she is creating three bodies of work – In Mid-air with No Landing, the Little Things and the Garden of Shangri-la all out of her studio in Binjai Park, Singapore. Read our artist interview with her below.
Tell us a bit about your artwork? How would you describe your style?
Complex minimal line work in feather form using oil paint and fine brushes. I am also exploring themes of botany, subtle eroticism and feminism.
What is the theme of your new exhibition?
It’s titled Virgin Apple, which is my main inspiration in the Garden of Shangri-la series. The curators for my upcoming solo exhibition carefully chose the works that demonstrated the maturity of my signature styles; from minimal canvas work to subtle ink drawing on paper. Eight Virgin Apple drawings are included in the exhibition.
This is your first solo exhibition, how do you feel about it?
Excited and grateful! A lot of people have worked together to realise my dream of having a solo exhibition.
What do you want people to understand through your art?
I would like the viewer to see what I see but that is sometimes very difficult. People observe so many different things in my work so actually my intention is not so important, that is why I often don’t give titles to my pieces. I hope my artwork makes people feel happy and stirs up different feelings in them and makes them think.
What do you love about the arts scene in Singapore?
It’s small, very supportive and accessible.
How does it differ from the art scene in South Korea?
South Korea has so many artists, art schools and places to show art so it’s a competitive market and the art school and gallery alumni connections are very important which can be challenging for emerging artists. In comparison, Singapore’s art scene is open to everyone, which is great for self-taught artists like me.
What is the biggest challenge for artists on the Singaporean art scene?
It is the same everywhere – getting known and shown.
Who are your biggest influences?
Henri Matisse and Mark Rothko are my favourite artists of all time but I’m not sure if their influence is present in my art. I would also say Chinese ink painting too. The use of space and a black, white and grey palette has influenced my minimal work in the series In Mid Air with No Landing. Through Chinese painting I have learnt to appreciate negative space, tonal composition and the fluidity of objects.
Finish this line, ‘in five year’s time I want to be making/doing…..?
I want to be doing more traveling because I’ve been working very hard over the last few years and would like to visit more museums overseas. I would also love to be making much larger works of 5 to 10 metres high. Scale is very important to me and I feel so free when I create huge pieces.
What has been your biggest personal challenge as an artist?
Finding a big enough physical space to create art.
Outside of Asia which city would you like to visit on an art tour or to do a residency?
New York. I have never been but I have always believed that the energy and vibe is unique so I would love to do both there.
How do you take risks to reinvent your art?
Through the exploration of different themes and mediums. I have progressed a lot and want to spend more time developing my minimal work so innovation is secondary to the development of my signature style.
Who would you love to work with?
Phoebe Philo, the ex Creative Director at Celine because if I wasn’t producing art then I would be in fashion. I would love collaborate with a fashion house and while she was at Celine it was edgy and different.
What is your favourite art medium?
I’m very drawn to charcoal because it’s spontaneous and bold but I haven’t explored it much yet.
What’s the most effective social media platform for art?
Instagram and Facebook, if you have time for both!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
For my series the Little Things, I was inspired by colours and patterns from the Botanic Gardens. For the rest of my pieces, I usually have no problem drawing on fresh ideas from in my own inner source of creativity. I’m very lucky, I have thousands of new ideas but unfortunately I paint slowly so I let inspiration come and go as I need it.
What drives you to create?
It’s the urge, combined with the flow of visual ideas that I have all the time.
What advice would you give anyone wanting to break onto the arts scene in Singapore?
Ha ha, let me break into it first! I’d probably say perseverance and being prepared to hustle.
HannaMi’s first solo exhibition is opening on 11th to 25th May at
NPE Gallery, 39 Kallang Place, 339169.
If you are interested in viewing more of HannaMi’s most up to date work, you can find her on Instagram @hannamikim for her minimal work and @hannami.kim for her abstract art with colour. She also has a website. For more artist interviews, click here