Ann B. Kim is an accomplished artist and an active member of the Dayton arts community, but I didn’t reach out to meet her until I learned she was participating in a two-person exhibition in the Dutoit Gallery this September with my friend Rebecca Sargent.
Ann’s studio is in one of Dayton’s Front Street buildings.
These Front Street buildings are filled with artists and interesting small businesses, but they were originally built for manufacturing. They were part of an early factory development project based on water power. A company called Dayton Hydraulic Company bought the land in the 1840s and built a water channel from the Mad River that eventually emptied into Dayton’s canal. They sold the lots to all kinds of manufacturers and leased the use of the water to power the plants.
I climbed the industrial staircase and then entered Ann’s large studio.
I asked Ann how she came to Dayton.
“I went to school in the San Francisco area, first at UC Berkeley and then at Mills College. I came to this area to teach at Indiana University East in Richmond. My husband is from Dayton and we decided to live here and for me to keep my studio practice here, and drive to Richmond to teach.”
“I was a bit reluctant to leave San Francisco but it’s worked out well. I love my teaching job, and there is an active arts scene here with a lot of great artists. Plus the low cost of living is great.”
As we talked Ann was busy cutting and pasting bits of paper to an issue of the New Yorker.
I asked Ann how much time she gets to spend working in her studio.
“I’m pretty busy teaching during the week, but I try to spend most of the weekend here in the studio in a typical week. But this year isn’t going to have too many typical weeks because I have so much scheduled. I have the show with Rebecca Sargent in September, plus I’m vice president of the Dayton Society of Artists. In addition I will be circling the globe.”
“My travels will start in Vladivostok Russia. That’s the closest place I can visit to where my grandfather was born. Then I will travel to the end of the Trans Siberian Railroad, stopping at two places. In preparation for this trip I plan to learn something new – paper making. I want to learn both Eastern style paper making and Western style. This paper in front of me is Korean style paper sent to me by my mother.”
“I also plan to gather newspapers on my travels and use them in my art, along with the New York Times for those exact dates.”
“This year I will also have two residencies – one in Southern Spain for 2 months and one in New Zealand for a month. Those two places are antipodes. They are completely opposite points on the globe and the art I make at these places will reflect that.”
I know that Ann has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally, and I recognized some of the pieces in the studio from exhibition brochures I had seen. I asked Ann to tell me something about her mixed media work.
” You can see that I’m creating work that is layered with symbols of all kinds – past, present, future, fragmentation, artifacts, imagination all looped together so that various cultures and moments in time seem to coexist. ”
Before leaving, I asked Kim to help me create my own works of art. We moved a pink studio chair in front of one of her art works and she posed for me.