Korean American Artists Explore Their Native Culture in ‘Interlaced’

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim

They take pride in their culture, but will their culture take pride in them?

That’s the question three Bay Area-based Korean American artists are posing as they prepare to embark on a journey to South Korea, according to their Kickstarter campaign, which has one week left to go. The proceeds will go towards a short documentary, which will record their journey.

“We feel a mixture of sentiment and passion for our native country that is difficult to explain,” the trio writes. “What will be the reception of our art in contemporary Korea? How has the country changed in our generation, and how has America changed us?”

The three artists met at Mills College in Oakland, where they all received their respective graduate degrees and bonded over being the only Korean American grad students in the arts programs. Dave Young Kim is a painter and muralist from Los Angeles, who is involved in community engagement and is also a descendant of the celebrated, female independence activist, Yu Gwansun. Julie Moon is a concert-level pianist from Korea, and Tim Kim, a Tennessee native, is a concert-level violinist and vocalist. The two musicians have collaborated together as a classical, improvisational music group called KABAM. Their music is influenced by Korean tradition.


In Korea, the group will be looking to book venues to play, find murals to paint and hold art exhibitions as they explore the streets of Seoul. “It’s a two-way exploration of both soaking in and mixing with the complexities of our roots,” the artists write. “We have our views, our fascinations, our misgivings and our creativity.”

The trio plans to also visit their families, tour gravesites and attempt to hear stories they’ve never heard before to rediscover their heritage.

You can learn more about Interlaced on Facebook and its Kickstarter page.