Interview with Julia Kim


By Luz Spanks

 The Explosion

At an airshow, the crowd witnessed the descent of a plane into balls of fire.  The vision and the deafening sound of the explosion, sent 7-year old Julia,  instantly into chromesthesia, the state of seeing sounds and hearing colors, her hand automatically translated the vision and sounds of the fire and crashing plane into lines, shapes, and colors on her sketchbook. Her depiction of the crash garnered first place award in an art competition and brought her name in Korea’s headlines.  What had been a devastating end to the plane, signaled the beginning of a passion that will light Julia’s path.  It was a realization that drawing is what she was born to do.  She used her talent, and several scholarship grants to finance her way to earn a college degree with two majors, Art and Art Education.   Through sheer determination, she set up her own art school and do the second thing she loves to do, to teach art to anyone who is willing to learn.

Sitting by the Bay for Hours

Julia still prefers to paint plein aire and uses her sketchbook and canvas to record whatever Nature urges her to.  She would sit still by the bay for hours and wait till Nature leads her hand to draw the first line.  Like a photographer waiting for hours before hitting the shutter, she waits patiently for the right moment to start drawing lines and shapes.  From her works, a viewer can sense the unison of the artist’s soul and the picture, almost a synesthesia experience –  “the rare capacity to hear colors, taste shapes, or experience other equally startling sensory blendings.” (Picture on the left:  “The Silence of Morro Bay”)




Travel Around the World

Riding the bike on weekends is one of the things she enjoys when not painting.  She loves how the morning dew on her face uplifts her spirits, on how joy is manifested on the way her hair dance with the wind, and how hope is found at the sight of the marvelous terrains.  One of the things that she has yet to check in her bucket list is to travel around the world, paint, and teach classes in every country she visits. Who knows, there might even be a book or travel video series chronicling her paintings and adventures entitled “Travelling with Julia”.

Enjoy the present

She has garnered awards in almost every competition she has entered, has established a reputable art school, has exhibited in famous galleries in different countries, but this is not to say, there were no obstacles or challenges along the way.  She feels fortunate through the years, she had developed deep respect and friendships with art masters who supported her and continue to blaze her trails. For those opportunities, she will always be grateful.   An artist’s life is not easy.  There are disappointments to deal with, self-doubts to face.  Nonetheless, when asked what kept her true to her calling, she just smiled and emphatically said never to take each moment for granted, to just “enjoy the present” because like the fleeting daylight, this too shall pass and only the photographic memories remain.



Julia Kim has been teaching art for more than 20 years.  After surprising her family by winning first place in an art competition at age 7, she knew, art was the field she wanted to pursue.  She entered more art competitions and advanced her art education.  She earned her Bachelor in Fine Arts degree with a major in Art Education from Sung Shin University Seoul, Korea and later, from California State University, Long Beach.  A Member of Korean Artist Association of Southern California, and Catholic Artist Association of California Exhibition she has participated in more than thirty group shows in Seoul and U.S.A.  She was awarded “Most Outstanding” by the  Contemporary Korean Printmakers Association in 1983.  She went on to earn a Certificate of Professional Makeup Artist from Cerritos College in 2014 .  Recently, Julia accepted to be a guest artist at the first exhibit by Ugnayan Sa Sining artists held at FASGI Bayanihan Center in Filipino Town in Los Angeles, California curated by master artist Vics Magsaysay.



Poster design: Vics Magsaysay

 Art by the Dozen is an exhibit showcasing the works of Julia Kim’s  students.  The show will run from September 9 to 30, 2017 with an Opening Reception on Saturday, September 9 at 5 pm.  


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