Monday, June 3, 2013


Velcro & Thread Rounded,
Aligned and Twisted Cuff Bracelet
Busan is the second largest city of South Korea, and this subtropical metropolis has plenty to offer.

Taejongdae and Yongdusan are parks that provide scenic backdrops and local cuisine.  South Korea is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Yong Joo Kim.

Contemporary art jewelry is always interesting, provocative and surprising.  In terms of scope and visuals, I think of this style as a cousin to the fashionably outlandish renderings of statement jewelry.

However, contemporary art jewelry is more a literal representation of the statement making aesthetic as social commentary is at its heart.

The express purpose of this style is to take viewers outside a comfort zone by challenging perceptions of beauty and value.  For a contemporary art jeweler all that glitters is not what they deem to be valuable.

For Kim her billowy cuff bracelets, rings, and necklaces of Velcro hook and loop fasteners are informed by an upbringing riddled in competition and superficiality. 

A resident of Providence, Rhode Island and a recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Kim initially worked with precious metals yet discovered that she did not like the process of “filing, sanding and polishing to achieve beauty.”  At that point she decided to do a complete overhaul of her design approach.

Kim’s work reveals a moving personal journey where the value of outward appearances takes central stage and is purged.

“I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea.  Seoul is a beautiful city on the surface but what lies beneath is the seldom talked about presence of cutthroat competition that permeates the culture,” confesses the award-winning jeweler.
Velcro & Thread Twisted, Looped and Attached Necklace
“I was taught that recognition was the ultimate goal.  Scoring high on exams and entering high-ranked universities were deemed the only way to gain recognition.  Female colleagues held the firm belief that outer beauty afforded greater probability of getting a job or a successful husband.  Many of them went under the knife to attain this beauty standard.  I was too afraid.

Achieving beauty was the goal of my undergraduate artwork.  When I moved to Providence everything changed.  I realized that without cultural restrictions of home I felt the longing for beauty start to dissolve.

Instead of my usual repertoire of precious metals my materials now came from the corners of everyday life.  I explored beans, straws, pins, nails, cable ties, electric caps and Velcro.  I learned that these materials each possessed qualities of beauty I did not know existed.”

Her arrangements of Velcro in particular are breathtaking sculptural silhouettes of draping necklaces and bold cuffs in muted hues of black, grey and white as well as peek-a-boo pops of red. 

They are beautiful yet poignant reminders of the human tendency to bypass what is believed insignificant and ordinary; failing to see unique and special qualities. 

“My investigation of creation, innovation and transformation questions the definition of value.  Reconfiguration by assembling, grouping, piling and clustering allows the simple to become complex and give rise to something unexpected.”

2013 Jewelry Trend Alert:   Of course  contemporary art jewelry is not mainstream yet Kim’s astonishing jewelry boasts big and bold outlines which is on trend as well as her singular use of found objects.
Velcro, Thread & Sterling Silver Ring

Be sure to check out’s gallery for Kim.
Post a Comment
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...