We’re thrilled to introduce Jieun June Kim, a Toronto-based, Korean-born painter and muralist.

Jieun is one of our Northbound artists, and she will be at our inaugural fundraiser this month doing live paintings! Keep reading to learn more about Jieun and her work.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your arts background. 

I am a Toronto based, Korean born painter, muralist and art producer. I graduated with honer from Duksung Women’s University in Korea receiving BFA in Korean Painting and Fashion Design. And I studied Visual Arts from Washington University in St. Louis, received MFA.  I have exhibited my paintings around the world at notable galleries and events.

I completed the Mural Art Career Development program offered by Mural Routes in 2017 and have since created numerous murals and have worked with various arts organizations, city of Toronto as well as renowned corporate partners.

I explore the idea of “home” as an immigrant while creating a safe space through art, and making a strong community. I believe that art has the power to connect people and to break through cultural boundaries. 

I am a recipient of the  Newcomer and Refugee Artist Mentorship grant from the Toronto Arts Council (2018) and is one of the artist in residence artist at the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (2019). 

Also, I am co-founder of KJ Bit Collective who creates murals and street art events, and a member of the Mural Routes advisory committee team.

What themes do you explore with your work, and where do you draw inspiration?

I strive to create a utopia where past & present, fantasy & reality coexist in my work. To do this I tap into my own personal experiences and try to articulate the struggles between my past in Seoul, Korea and my present in Toronto, Canada and the “home away from home” transitional phase that I find myself in. 

I move away from dichotomous thinking in my work and introduce a place that no one has ever experienced before with vague boundaries between reality and dreams.

Especially for my larger scale works, I like to use bold, colourful patterns and playful, dynamic shapes and let the colours pop in psychedelic shades. It makes viewers have an immersive experience. I would like the viewers to feel the in between space that I have created and to relate to my experience.

Why do you think public art is so important in a community? 

Public art invigorates our city by breaking the trend of sameness and blandness, and creates a uniqueness by giving communities a stronger sense of identity. 

In addition to that I think public art serves as a bridge between various cultures. It’s great tool for social engagement and makes opportunity for people to start conversation.

What are you looking forward to at North York Arts’ Beers And Brushes fundraiser next month?

I am going to paint live at North York Arts’ Beers And Brushes fundraiser. I am very happy to support local art organization and also look forward to create something that represents my community. 

Don’t miss Jieun’s live paintings at Beers and Brushes on October 24! To learn more about our fundraiser and buy tickets, visit northyorkarts.org/fundraiser. To learn more about Jieun, visit jieunjunekim.com

Interview by: Kavita Gurm

Communications and Events Assistant