Studio Kim – The Shift - Bubblegum Club

Studio Kim – The Shift

I interviewed Kim Van Vuuren, known for her design work, to her shift into contemporary art.

We began our discussion with her 100 Forms project, which has drawn a lot of attention to the designer turned artist. Initially she cut down her idea of 100 Forms to 50 Forms, but the popularity of the project has revealed that her original vision for the project was correct. Since expanding her project to 100 Forms again, she has currently produced 60 of the 100 artworks for the collection

Kim explained that the idea for the project was born out of the fact that she gets bored easily. As a result, she tries to diversify the mediums that she uses foe her works. Her decision to move away from her design identity with 100 Forms connects to this as she wants to experiment with and challenge her own creative abilities.  She was also influenced by what other creatives were doing online, particularly the 365 projects which became a trend in 2015 where creatives were putting out a design or drawing a day. She wanted to pursue a similar concept.

Kim studied at Michaelis School of Fine Art and specialized in sculpture. Her digital knowledge was gained through her own experimentation and short courses at Friends of Design in Cape Town. As a student Kim used to map out her dreams and keep dream journals of what would unfold with her eyes shut.

She enjoyed experimenting with this space between reality and dreams. As a fine art student she would set her alarm at 3am every morning with a dream recorder application on her laptop. This application would play a specific noise or song every morning. She set hers to Stepping Stones by Felix Laband. This song would morph into her dreams during that REM state of sleep. This way Kim created her own little Surrealist reality that informed her art practice. She says that in this particular experiment she felt like space and time were warping.

With her well-established interest in dreams and taking inspiration from the Surrealist movement both aesthetically and methodologically, the concept of automatic drawing informs her creative process for 100 Forms.

The colour pallet she works with is informed by what is happening in the interior design industry. Kim uses an overlay of textures in 100 Forms with pastel tones, marble textures and crystal gemstones. All of the imagery she uses in her work she takes herself and rarely relies on stock imagery.

As part of her own guidelines for this project, she intended to make work that would not be time consuming or make her feel intimidated and stressed. They needed to be created intuitively, and so all the designs came from her mind unswervingly and were transferred directly on to the paper. Creating something out of nothing is an idea she finds appealing and these works initially functioned as a form of escapism for herself.

She did not intend to sell any of the designs in 100 Forms but wanted to use it as a platform for her own creative expression. This aspect of the project changed when people started inquiring about buying prints from the collection. The project has grown beyond simply being a personal project.

Her goal with 100 Forms is to conceptualize a fun interactive exhibition combining sound and video. 100 Forms is also being conceptualized into an Instagram project. Kim wants to bring her forms to life with motion graphics and sound design. The end product will be looping motion picture films.

All of Kim’s work from brand identity to 100 Forms and her most recent paintings, influence each other.

Kim’s paintings can be described as flat and vector. She refers to it as “shapey and landscapey”. Her painting pallet consists of yellows, greens and her signature blue. She has always desired to paint but was fearful of going into that direction. She finally broke through this fear and is working in another medium she enjoys. As an artist she feels the need to get dirty and work with her hands. Painting is a therapeutic escape for her in which again follows the method of minimal planning. Her focus with her paintings is on form. She is drawn to landscape compositions and explains her process as transforming her surroundings into flat versions of itself. Matisse influences Kim’s painting style. She expresses a desire to explore female shapes as well as to work on a self-portrait series.

She will be showcasing her paintings at the Turbine Art Fair this year with No End Contemporary Art Space and is hoping to have a possible painting exhibition with the gallery in August of this year.

Check out her website to keep up with her work.


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