Jane Kim: The Nature of Things

Nature is one of those things that we sometimes underappreciate and overlook.  We take the beauty of nature for granted, and since we feel that it will always be there, there is no reason to enjoy the little moments.  But eventually, we remember fragments of the gorgeous mountains, the beautiful sunsets and the incredible animals that we didn’t take the time to admire.  Jane Kim, an extremely talented artist and science illustrator, wants us to remember these amazing moments and find a passion for all the elements of nature. By working with several individuals who share the same devotion as herself, Kim has used her art and her strong, bold words to inspire us to appreciate the world around us.

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Kim’s passion for nature inspired people to gravitate towards her and help create Ink Dwell, a project dedicated to protecting the earth. In an interview on Outside Television, a network based on Outside Magazine that focuses on skiing and snowboarding in the mountains, with Chris Davenport, a well-known and accomplished skier, Kim said, “For now it is [Ink Dwell]. I have hopes for it to become something bigger, but yeah, it’s a studio that helps raise awareness for the natural world. It inspires people to love, protect and appreciate the natural world one work of art at a time.”  Kim would much rather be outside in nature all the time, learning about the different quirks of the trees and the animals.  However, being able to paint those ideas and characteristics in her studio that she sees and communicate them to us in art, is what she loves about her career.

Indeed, the project has bloomed into something bigger, and Ink Dwell’s message of raising awareness for protecting nature through art has been portrayed in  Kim’s paintings.  Ink Dwell was created a couple of years ago by Kim and Thayer Walker, a strategic journalist. Walker has been helping with the project from the beginning, creating art.  Truthfully, you will likely find Walker dealing with business rather than painting on the canvas like his partner, but even so, the two know how to use brush strokes to create a painting that teaches us about what’s out there in the outside world.  But even before Thayer came onto the scene, Kim discovered her passion for…

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She became interested in art when she started  painting bears and flowers on her bedroom walls.  A lot of her art was inspired by the things she saw in nature books, and sometimes she would even see something amazing outside that she just had to draw on her wall.  It could be called an obsession, and she would probably agree.  Though she loved to paint on her walls and create beautiful artwork, Kim loved to explore the outdoors.

Whether it was parks, nature trails or even in her own yard, the things that she saw influenced her to become the passionate woman that she is today.  Her love for nature followed her all throughout school, and even after graduating high school, she decided that she wanted formal training in art.  Kim graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, and then she enrolled at Cal State Monterey Bay where she earned a Certificate in Science Illustration.  It was here where she began to claim herself as a science illustrator, one who cares about the realistic portrayal of the natural world.  Instead of caring about the aesthetics of nature, Kim displays the how the world really looks around us.  She wants us to see what we can and should protect in nature.  Her career as an artist and as a science illustrator overlapped and helped her to create amazing artwork about nature for us.

In an interview with George McIntire, a writer for 7×7, a San Francisco’s magazine that showcases the best entertainment in town, Kim said, “I’ve always been inspired by nature and wildlife.  Any time I saw interpretive signs at a park or flipped through a science journal or a beautifully illustrated field guide, I thought to myself, ‘I want to do that.’ I flirted with the idea enough times that I finally decided to apply to a very special Science Illustration graduate program at the California State University Monterey Bay.  It completely changed my life.”

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Earlier this month, Kim unveiled an enormous painting that portrayed 270 different species of birds on a 2800 square foot canvas.  The most amazing thing about the painting isn’t the picture itself; it’s the message that lies behind it.  Kim created this mural to show the evolution of the birds dating back to 375 million years ago, giving praise to the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology for its 100th anniversary, the world’s leader in the study and observation of birds.  Another incredible point about Kim’s piece is that the birds are painted to their actual size.  One part of the painting may contain a massive cassowary, while another area has a nine foot ostrich.  The sheer size of the painting is very remarkable, and I believe that it’s massive dimensions add to the realism of the portrayal of avian evolution.  The painting is relatively new, and Kim has plenty of other artwork that shows her dedication to nature, yet I think this painting has so many messages that hide behind it that it creates a great piece of art.  Protecting this Earth has created some incredible species, and if we continue to stand for life on this planet, then maybe, we will see some more amazing species 375 million years from now.

We can easily see that Kim has dedicated her entire life to the preservation of Earth and its natural resources.  Plants, animals and gorgeous views of our world are just a few of the things that Kim, along with the studio project Ink Dwell, wants to protect.  With so many people supporting Ink Dwell through art, the project has been able to speak out against damaging our environment.  I think Kim said it best:, “Our planet is home to incredible and wondrous life. I feel most excited, visually, emotionally and intellectually in nature. Combining that with my passion for art leaves me with pure excitement. Sharing even a fraction of that with the rest of the world is the best gift that I know how to give.”  Kim truly loves and cares for our planet, and with the amazing amount of work that she has put in to defend it, I won’t be surprised to see a lot of people joining her fight to safeguard Mother Nature.

-Te’Ron Adams