30 Days of Women: Diana Kim

Diana Kim

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Diana Kim is one of those friends that everyone needs in their life. Full of life, adventure and a willingness to learn more.

Loving to create, no matter what the medium is, Diana has grown to be one of those constantly exceptional artists.

Not only is she an accomplished Photographer, she also has a natural talent with woodworking. Being around her is always an inspiration and the bright spot you need.

Shes recently returned from a journey across the country to Alaska in order to see a friend.

The story is incredible and shows the kind of person it takes to make it happen.

 D'Lil guy Click the link to see pictures from the Journey. -Flow

How old are you and where are you from?

I am 23 years old and I was born in South Korea. 

What do you do for a living?

I’m a recently graduated full-time carpenter

How did you end up in Chicago?

I was studying fashion photography in a small Christian college in Michigan and I wanted bigger steps and resources for my art so after visiting the city closest to my school in Michigan, I moved two hours driving away to Chicago. 

what makes your experience as awoman in Chicago unique?

My experience has been unique in a way that it was time of my life where I had to transition from a conservative christian environment to a city with new rules and ways. 

Who/what has inspired you to keep creating in Chicago?

Although I have a plan to slowly transition to Germany at the moment, I keep looking for new projects and artists to collaborate with in Chicago, because the city inspires me. Coming from a small tiny town where my resources were limited, moving to Chicago was a big step and I learned to gather all my resources that the city can provide for me. Most of my work concentrates on the concept of collaboration, not only with other professional artists but with my consumers. And right now I am not done collaborating with the talents in Chicago

why do you create?

I create because I need to. There are creative ideas that constantly occupies my mind and only way to get it out of my head so new ones can come is to bring out the ideas into real life. After making a new piece one of my final process is to compare my sketch with the real thing. It feels great to be able to touch, smell, and utilize my art pieces, them being mostly furniture. 

What prompted the move into woodworking?

I took an elective art class last year of my college. It was called, “Making” and it focused on making art pieces with variety of materials that are not easily explored. One of them was wood. For our practice run, we were allowed to make anything so I made a picture frame. At the time I was a photo major. I really loved the feel of the wood, the solid structure of it, and the fact that you can use it. So the next day, I challenged myself to make a chair, then a coffee table with a sliding top, and then a book shelf. Soon enough I discovered my new talent and I was in the wood shop over 10 hours a day.

Do you feel its hard to be taken seriously asa woman when working?

I haven’t had an experience of such yet, but it’s fun to surprise people telling them my occupation, because most of the time when they see me as a person not even as a woman, a carpenter is the last thing most people expect.

You seem to have a billion different creative ideas all the time, how do you manage them?

I am constantly sketching new ideas, but I try to put them far away into the future in order for me to give my full attention to a project that is already in progress. 

How did the D'lil Guy come into the picture?

I wanted to go visit my friend in Alaska who is very dear to me. At the time she was struggling with her new transition in her new environment especially being so far away from all her friends in the State. I wanted to surprise her. Instead of flying, I decided I wanted to drive across US. Instead of driving a regular car, I decided that it would be even more fun if I drove a converted school bus. 

Who was your biggest cheerleader in going after this?

Essentially everyone, really. But the biggest supporter I would say was my dad. I knew that it was something that my dad would’ve done if he was able, at my age. Part of my felt like I was going on this adventure for my dad and he later even suggested that we publish a book. Towards the end of the trip, I asked him if he thinks what I did was reckless or brave and he said, neither. He said that he only wishes for me to find meaning and have a clear intention in everything I do. 

whats been the biggest hindrance in making it happen

Mechanical problems and getting my driver’s license over 8 trips to the DMV. Getting the bus was easier that I thought. It was now preventing what could go wrong with the bus before I depart on the road. Trying to do it on the budget and finding a mechanic that I trust. But even then, when we thought it would take another month to fix the brake, it was fixed with way less estimate and in two days. Trying to the trip right and attempting to get my driver’s license and at the 8th visit, being told that I can’t get one after all because I am just a tourist, was a big set back since I had to look for people who need a ride the same route from Craigslist rideshare who has a driver’s license. 

How didyou raise the capital to make it happen

All I can say is that I had a good pitch and I texted and called almost every person I knew for the three days I told the bus owner that I will come get the vehicle and miraculously raised a donation of 2600 in three days. 

favorite place that you've driven through so far For me it’s not the place but what kind of moment I was in. I think the most memorable place I driven through is the long stretch of Alaska Highway for over several days and one night while I was driving around 2 am in the middle of British Columbia while I see nothing but empty fields and mountains with snow far away, I spotted my first northern lights and I woke everyone up in the bus by yelling their names and everyone came to the front of the bus to admire the aurora with wide eyes. That was a cool drive.

How has woof been on the journey?

Oh you know, he would bark at buffaloes and elks once in awhile during our mission to reach Alaska, but during the trip he totally became a couch potato. He has his designated spot on the sofa in the bus where he won’t budge at all. Whenever we stopped at a gas station in the middle of nowhere surrounded my nature and emptiness, Woof thought he had the whole world to run around in. He’s been an excellent judge of character and a lovely companion behind my seat when we are traveling alone without friends.

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arts & cultureFlow Johnson