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November 26, 2019

Activating Maker Space with Artist-in-Residence, Romi Kim

Last year we welcomed Tin Gamboa, Ralph Escamillan, and danielle wensley to be our very first RBC Emerging Artists in Residence at ArtStarts! We’re thrilled to be able to continue this program with the support of RBC and welcome interdisciplinary artist Romi Kim to develop a unique project in our Maker Space for the month of November.  

1. Tell us about your artistic practice! Where did art start for you?

"I think I've been doing art ever since I was a small child. I remember my grandfather always bought me large sketchbooks, pencil crayons, and paints for me. But the artistic practice I have currently blossomed from university and being able to experiment in different mediums. I generally work in an interdisciplinary approach often within video, performance, photography, and multimedia. The themes I explore include racialization, gender, land, and storytelling."

2. What drew you to apply for the Emerging Artist Residency at ArtStarts? 

"I applied to the Emerging Artist Residency at Artstarts to be able to create my project "Skim in. . . " where I bring my drag character out into the art world and also back to memorable places of my youth. Moving to Vancouver this past September I knew I wanted to do this performance back in Burnaby where I went to elementary school but needed financial support. I found out about ArtStarts by doing a QTBIPOC workshop this past summer and I knew I wanted to work more with the organization. The people, space and energy drew me into applying for the residency and thankfully I received it."

3. Tell us about your drag persona, Skim, and how your time at ArtStarts connects to your performance piece, “Skim in Armstrong.”

"Skim is both a drag queen and drag king. Their pronouns are they/ their/ them and they like to push and blur gender lines. I often think that Skim is just an exaggeration of myself. During my residency at ArtStarts I've been constructing an outfit out of plastic bags. This included collecting over a hundred plastic bags, cutting and ironing them together to make a plastic fabric, as well as using a sewing machine to create a base garment. This costume I create will be made for another performance not in Armstrong but in Burnaby where I spent my childhood. I'll be walking as Skim in the outfit and visiting familiar locations like my old school, home, park etc." 

4. What appealed to you about working in a Maker Space for young people?

"I think the best part of the residency is actually working in the Maker Space. It inspired me to create a very fun and youthful costume out of material that is often thrown away. In addition, being in the Maker Space allows me to talk to young families about my artistic practice. I often find that contemporary art and art galleries can be pretentious and exclusive. But the Maker Space allows for inclusivity no matter what age, and opens doors on what can be art."


5. What’s next for you, and where can we find more of your work? 

"Next for me is more applications to residencies, trying to find grants and also applying for my Masters. In terms of Skim, they will be entering a drag competition in East Van and hopefully performing more at different venues. To keep up with my art, people can see my website or follow me on Instagram @saromikim. To see where Skim will be performing next, one can follow my drag Instagram @skimisme."

Make sure to visit the Gallery in November to see Romi at work, and to come back in December to see her final work installed in the Mezzanine Gallery upstairs! 

The Emerging Artist-in-Pesidence program is proudly supported by RBC Foundation's Emerging Artists Project.

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