Q: What is www.WanderingMoon.com?
Kim: It's a place online where I can showcase my art, photography and writing, as well as offer my services to other people. The site is under going a reconstruction this year that I hope to have finished before 2003. It's a little slow going since I'm responsible for designing and maintaining the entire site, but it's a fun process.
Q: I see from www.WanderingMoon.com that you are a digital artist, a designer, a wordsmith, a photographer and (I know from working with you that you are also) a bookmaker. So what came first???
Kim: Thinking back, I've always made art and enjoyed writing equally. As a child I loved creating my own illustrated stories. For a long time I wasn't very confident in my artistic abilities so I focused on my writing and wrote for a lot of zines and small press publications. In the past few years words seem to have taken a back seat to art, photography, etc. and at the moment I'm trying to find ways that I can blend my love of both mediums. This is what lead me to book arts. I'm especially interested in altered books as art form at the moment and really enjoy taking an old, abandoned and damaged book and turning it into a piece of art.
Q: How do all those artforms intersect for you? Do you tend toward one more than the other in some ways?
Kim: As I mentioned, at the moment I'm really enjoying altered books as an art form since it seems to combine two worlds I love - art and words. I really enjoy creating pieces of art that express a poem or piece of prose that I've written and in the future I would love to write and design my own books or graphic novels, as well as self-publish them.
Q: How did you learn to utilize interdisciplinary kinds of creation? Did you have a mentor? Was it purely self-driven?
Kim: I'm very self-driven. Since I was a kid I've been making art and writing, which I suppose was always encouraged in my home in little ways. I also used to be seriously involved with music making, but my interest in music has waned over the years. The older I get the more this inner demon - or inner artist - seems to want to take over and take up all my free time trying to manifest itself in different ways. I haven't had any real formal art training besides a few random community art courses, but my father liked to draw and my grandfather is an amateur inventor who enjoys playing around with wood and mechanics. My mother was a great seamstress, and she came from a long line of woman who were talented seamstress. Although I have no sewing skills myself yet, I think some of their creativity must have rubbed off on me. My husband, who's a graphic designer, has also been a huge inspirational force in my life. Since my family was sorta stripped away from me early on in life, when we met he became a bit of a mentor since he was one of the few encouraging people I had around me who believed in me and encouraged me to explore all my artistic interests.
Q: It looks like you are doing "art-art" and "commercial-art" both. (Does that make sense?) How do those worlds intersect for you or are they separate?
Kim: Yes! It does makes sense. I do consider myself a commercial artist as well as a "regular" artist. Don't know if I have the courage to call myself a "fine" artist yet. I've developed skills as a commercial artist that I think have really helped me grow as a regular artist, but they have hampered me as well. They are definitely two separate worlds. As a commercial artist you're forced to create art for other people's approval and interests. When It comes time to just please myself with my own personal art and writing, I'm often very critical of myself which I think can be very detrimental to the creative process.
Q: How can an interested reader hire you for design services? Are there other services you offer besides design?
Kim: I'm easy to contact through email and I list most of my abilities on www.WanderingMoon.com. Besides design, I also do minor web design work as well. I enjoy working for smaller independent clients such as artists and I also like bartering. If a client sells a product I like for example, I have no problem exchanging my services for their products instead of exchanging money. Sort of old fashioned thinking I suppose, but I know lots of small companies and artists have limited resources like myself, and it can often be a really rewarding opportunity to share and exchange skills and abilities besides just dollars.
Q: You mentioned to me that you have begun to work through a grief process after the deaths of your parents. How have you coped with that grief? Can you tell us a little about how grief & creativity have intersected in your life and work?
Kim: I was brought up in the type of family where hugs and words of love were not common occurrences, and when someone died they were just never talked about again. My father, who I adored as a child, passed away after a brutal car accident where he was hit by a drunk driver when I was only about 8 years old. My mother did not cope well with his death, since she really had no support system within the family. When his photos came off the walls and his things were packed away, I was expected to not speak of him anymore. If I did my mother would only weep and others in the family were very uncomfortable when I started asking questions about him as any kid would. Later on my mother contracted cancer when I was my early twenties and later passed away due to complications from it, she asked that no funeral arrangements be made. Again, it was time to take down photos of her, pack away her belonging and never speak about her again. In other words, put the grief process on hold.
I later realized that the grief process could not be put on hold, and although there was no way to properly mourn for my deceased parents - my pain, sorrow and anger at loosing them so early on in life started to find other ways to manifest itself. I suffered from serious bouts with depression, which hospitalized me on a few occasions. Various therapists and councilors seemed to do me little good. It was only when I started to express my inner feelings through art and writing over the past year that I really started to cope with my grief on a private level. The grieving process is such a personal thing for every individual and we all do it differently, as is the individual artistic process. At first it was hard to use the things that in the past had given me peace of mind or taken my mind off my problems such as art and writing, to actually start coping with my problems. But the more I explore these themes with my art and writing - the more satisfaction and peace of mind it seems to bring to me.
Q: I know that you do LMAOs (Land Mail Art Objects) at Nervousness.org. Can you say a bit about what LMAOs mean to you and your work -- how has your involvement in Nervousness.org helped your creativity?
Kim: I first enjoyed doing mail art when I was a teen and in my early twenties in the 1980s. At the time I didn't know what it was called, but groups of music fans who discovered each other thanks to zines such as Maximum Rock-n-Roll, would send small slam type books around in heavily decorated envelopes. I loved the communication and concept of creating art as a group. This year I really started exploring all sorts of artistic outlets and stumbled onto nervousness.org. I was really excited at the possibility it gave for creative groups of people to get together and make art using land mail as the main medium. Participating in nervousness.org has been a really positive and inspiring experience for me. I enjoy it because it gives you a chance to explore so many artistic mediums such as art journaling, ATCs, art dolls, etc. that you may have never been exposed to before or were afraid to try. There are novice and accomplished artists working together there and it makes for a really positive artistic online environment.
Q: I know (because I'm THRILLED to be a part of it) that you created the AMAZING LMAO for Prospero's Books. Can you tell our readers a little about that project?
Kim: As I mentioned earlier, I'm fascinated with books and art, but I also love cinema. The British director Peter Greenaway is one of my favorite modern directors and many of his films explore themes that I'm also obsessed with. When I first saw Prospero's Books in the early 1990s, I thought it would be wonderful to create all the actual books mentioned in the film, but for an individual artist it would be a Herculean task! I joined nervousness.org right about the same time that I became fascinated with altered books, and when it came time for me to start thinking about creating my first project (or "object") there, I thought making Prospero's Library as envisioned by Peter Greenaway - but explored by individual artists and crafts people - would be the perfect group project for altered book artists to do! I really enjoy working with groups of creative people on projects since personally I've always thought artists do their best work in group environments, and this is turning into a really wonderful group effort by all the creative people involved.
Q: Are there plans to share Prospero's Library with the world?
Kim: There are plans to showcase all the finished books on a separate web site I'm currently in the process of creating at Wanderingmoon.com/prosperosbooks.html. At the moment you can find a brief description of the project there, and in November of this year I hope to have the gallery completely up and running since all the books should be finished by then. I would also love to see all the finished books shown together outside of a virtual environment and there has been some talk among the artists involved in the project about trying to get an exhibit of the books set up. That's all in the planning stages at the moment, so I can only hope that some of the plans discussed will end up coming into fruition. I plan to keep updates available on the web site so people will know when and if they can see all the books on display. There has also been some recent talk of a nervousness.org gallery show coming together later this year, and they would like to make the finished Prospero Books the featured exhibit in the show. I'm grateful for all the enthusiasm and interest in the books and really hope the nervousness show does come together.
Q: Was there any one (or series) event(s) or project(s) that really made you think -- "Oh, I'm an artist!"? If so, can you share that with us?
Kim: I suppose it was when someone actually offered to pay me for something I had done. This happened with my writing before it happened with my art. I never imagined that anyone would want to "hire" me to write or make art and it thrilled and shocked me when it happened. I thought that maybe I could call myself a "writer" and "artist then. Before that I didn't seem to have the courage to.
Q: If someone was just starting out as an artist or writer, what would you tell them? Would you recommend any books or resources in particular?
Kim: I've always found my real inspiration in literature. I love reading and many books have impacted my life in ways that are hard to explain. I've also found biographies of artists and writers very inspiring, but I love writers who bring their real world experiences into their stories. Creative biographies or biographies written as creative fiction are probably my favorite reading material. I'm not sure if other artists and writers would find them inspiring, but some books that have had a profound effect on me and my growth as an artist and a writer include James Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man", Anais Nin's "Diaries", Paul Bowles "Sheltering Sky", J. G. Ballard's "Empire of the Sun", Virginia Woolfe's "A Room of One's Own" and just about anything written by Henry Miller. I've also found poetry to be very inspirational such as the work of Percy B. Shelley and Rimbaud.
Q: What are your visions for WanderingMoon.com for 1 year, 5, and 10 years from now?
Kim: I hope it will continue to grow as my personal gallery, and I also hope to offer more of my work for sale in the future as prints, etc. I'm in the process of designing my own line of rubber stamps in association with my husband, and we hope to release them next year. I'd also like to design and sell my own line of paper products and as I said earlier, one day my goal is write, design illustrate and self-publish my own books or graphic novels. They may first show up as ebooks available for download on my web site, but personally I love to be able to hold a book in my hand and turn the pages when I read it. The online environment seems much more suited to bits and pieces of information which are easy to read and digest.
Q: Saw on WanderingMoon.com that you love to travel. Have you done a lot of travel? Are you planning to do more? Is there any place in particular that you just *have* to get to eventually??
Kim: If I could spend my life as a traveler I would! I really enjoy exploring new places and seeing new things. Staying still for too long in one place drives me a little nutty. I have done some traveling, but not as much as I' like to. I've seen all of the Western United States, made 2 trips to Japan and one trip to the UK where I fell in love with Britain. My favorite city in the world is London. I'd love to live there one day or just outside the city. As for other places I just *have* to see eventually, Egypt tops my list but Italy and Greece are very close behind!
Q: Also read that you are a film fanatic :) Any films that you would recommend to up and coming artists of any discipline? What was the last film you saw?
Kim: I love film as an art form! Like books, it hard to recommend things since we all respond to stuff so differently, but I find that films about artists, musicians and writers who are undergoing the creative process or growing into their creative skins, can be very inspirational even if they are often turbulent and painful to watch such as Camille Claudel, Impromptu, Henry and June, Carrington, Amadeus, The Music Lovers, Vincent and Theo, Basquiat, etc.
The best films I've seen this year so far are Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie and Guillermo del Torro's Devil's Backbone. Amelie is a wonderful and thoughtful French romantic comedy that is as lovely to look at, as it is entertaining to watch. The Devil's Backbone is a Spanish film that is a great character study masquerading as a horror movie. It is also wonderful to look at and packed full of symbolism!
My favorite modern movies take filmmaking a step further and use special effects and movie making techniques in unexpected ways to tell interesting, complex and personal stories. I like to be forced into thinking and looking at the world in new ways. Today so many of the movies coming out of Hollywood seem to offer the opposite. They want viewers "not" to think and instead seem to numb or sedate the audience with incoherent plots, cookie cutter characters and manufactured emotions.
I'd like to get involved in movie making if the possibility ever comes my way. Who knows, maybe after I publish one of my illustrated stories I will try my hand at turning it into a screenplay? That would be fun! In the meantime I'm happy just being a bit of a film fanatic.
Editor's Note: Kim is also featured in our Loss Journal this month, September 2002. Check out her prose poetry there next!