Jae Yeon Kim’s wacky 3D designs are “a gentle way of revolting over unhealthy tradition and stereotypes”

Jae Yeon Kim’s wacky 3D designs are “a gentle way of revolting over unhealthy tradition and stereotypes”

Born and raised in Seoul, Jae studied at Goldsmiths university from 2016 to 2019. With there being a large writing requirement on the course, Jae often felt there wasn’t as much room for exploration of different mediums. It was for this reason that it was only upon their returning to Seoul during the pandemic that they first interacted with 3D design. In part down to their engineer dad, with whom Jae often “discussed new technologies and mechanical programs over coffee or dinner together”, Jae now attests to being completely won over by the “level of visualisation” that 3D design offers.

Having moved to Europe as a means of finding their own way, Jae instead recalls finding themselves feeling less included; studying at an “elite, white-British dominated institution” and a place where the logic of finance and capitalism ruled. Moreover, with their Korean identity and name, they found themselves “existing as a young Asian woman who didn’t speak English well, from a middle class background and looking naive – I felt quite stuck in the pod of stereotypes”. It is for this very reason, the creative explains, that they explore such surreal and unearthly themes. This focus on the eccentric, extraordinary and ideas of unconventional beauty, is a “gentle way of revolting over unhealthy tradition and stereotypes”.

Having now lived in Berlin for the past five months, Jae has been overwhelmingly pleased by the difference in culture they have experienced. A place they view as “integrating a wider capacity of the refugee community, LGBTQ, BIPOC” individuals, they tell us that they have come to realise that “this kind of environment really helps me to understand how the world is intricately entangled and also how immensely we can influence each other”. This admiration of diversity and difference comes across brilliantly in Jae’s project Drag Rangers. Looking to explore the “meaning of diversity” and to do so in a “very soft way that can even encompass kids”, the figures in a range of clothing styles, and figurations dance freely, exuding a warm, liberated merriment.

The natural progression from their digital 3D work, Jae explains, is making their characters into physical figures. But, looking to take things even further, if Jae does manage to get round to real-life sculpting, they wish to distribute their creations to children, collecting social analysis based on their reactions. Moreover, having always loved working with contemporary choreographers and musicians, Jae wants to get back into collaborating. An exciting year ahead undoubtedly awaits.

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