I interviewed this month’s featured student artist Seth Kim ’18 a few days ago. The junior talked about juggling studying and art, and about melding the two by incorporating science into his paintings. Although the latter seemed too regimented to be associated the romantic humanities, Seth is not afraid to bring his love of science to art.
Chriss Liu: When did you first become interested in art?
Seth Kim: Art was always an on and off activity for me…I first started back in kindergarten with doodling [laughs], but I didn’t actually commit [to] doing art constantly until 8th grade, right before I came to Blair. I became more interested in it as my doodling career… gradually took on a life of its own. Now I use art to display the intricacies and weirdness of my mind.
CL: How do you work science into your pieces?
SK: Right now I’m working on a series of works based on the human body. It involves different perspectives of the human body and [the role medicine has played in shaping it]. These pieces are pretty abstract but I like to base them on reality.
This is a take on brain surgery and the human mind. The title of that piece is … God’s Hand, because at the time I was caught up [in] philosophical questions like how we came to be and why we were made. So I used a variety of mediums—water color, oil, pencil—to express those complicated questions.
CL: How do you find balance between dealing with the stressful junior year workload and finding time to paint?
SK: It is definitely a big commitment, because you never know when you can find time get things done, and you can always find imperfection or things to add onto in your art works. If I didn’t take portfolio, I would definitely not have time to do it.
CL: Do you have a favored art medium?
SK: I like oil painting the most because you can always paint over. While I’m big on planning ahead of time, my plans don’t always turn out to be very feasible…sometimes things in my mind don’t turn out well [in] the 2D setting. But with oil painting, I can keep redoing it over and over again, until I get that perfect look. It is also easier to acquire the realistic look with oil paint, because you have full and easy control to things like gradient. But a lot of my pieces are in watercolor and charcoal. Charcoal is also really great, because it is so simple but still very powerful.
CL: Do you have a goal in mind when you are painting?
SK: I always have problems with abstract art because it is too subjective. With my art, I want people to know what I’m thinking. I don’t want my art to be open for interpretation. If it doesn’t have a message, then it is just there for people to “ooh” and “ahh” at, but if it does have a message, I think and I hope people will be able to see it as clear as day.
CL: What have you learned about art from your experience at Blair?
SK: The biggest lesson I learned from Mr. Thomas was that art was always going to be imperfect, [and that imperfection is what makes are a human endeavor.] [Mr. Thomas] taught me to appreciate the beauty of imperfection.
(Copyright 2017 Chriss Liu)