Jae Yong Kim was born in South Korea then moved to Kuwait at the age of three when his father was relocated as a regional director at his construction company. As a child, he lived in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for a total of five years then returned to Korea where he spent most of his adolescence. In 1994, Kim moved to the United States to pursue a university degree. His constant exposure to changes has given birth to a desire to understand and find his identity and the meaning of “home”. In his works, he explores these issues through the use of a surrogate subject, such as his dog Momo and snails. He is recognized and noticed for his quirky, eclectic, and humorous renditions of these subjects, and for his ability to create a relatable language for the viewer in order to deal with human issues such as cruelty, pain, anguish, joy, love, and friendship.
He attended and received his Bachelors of Fine Arts (in Ceramics and Sculpture) at the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford and his Masters of Fine Arts in Ceramics at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. He was selected to participate in over forty group exhibitions such as the “East & West Clay Works Exhibition” at the Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art in Japan; the Korean Craft Promotion Foundation Gallery in Seoul, Korea; “The LEAP Award Finalists Exhibition” at the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, PA; “Generations: Impending Lineage” at the Art and Industry Gallery, San Diego, CA; and others, as well as in various educational institution settings such as the Taub Hall Gallery at the Hartford Art School, George Siegel Gallery at Montclair State University, Coviant Gallery at the University of South Florida, and Cranbrook Art Museum. He had a solo show “Snailing” at the New Century Artists Gallery in New York and the Visual Research Gallery in New Haven, CT, and four other solo shows in Manchester Community College, Gallery in the Wood, The University Gallery at the University of Bridgeport, and the Taub Hall Gallery at the Hartford Art School.
Jae Yong Kim is included in collections such as the University of Hartford, University of Bridgeport, as well as in homes of private and individual collectors. He participated in a summer residency at Greenwich House Pottery in New York, and a workshop with Sun-Ku Yhe, a ceramic sculptor at Alfred University. He was a visiting lecturer at Manchester Community College and the University of Bridgeport and currently teaches as an adjunct professor in the Department of Art and Design at Montclair State University.
The artist’s interest, research, and studio practices extend from making individual ceramic pieces, to installation, and has an ongoing collaboration with a recognized fine jewelry designer, Sally Sohn, whose designs are found at high-end retailers such as New York Bergdorf Goodman, nationwide Neiman Marcus, Stanley Korshak, and others. He is always open to experimentation with different media pushing them to their fullest capacity and limit.
Jae Yong Kim started to create doughnut works in 2008, while going through a period of depression. During that time, he questioned what made him happy and redefined the happiness of his life.
When he started to create a series of doughnuts, he made a connection to the choir singing in harmony at the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church. Looking at the choir singing beautifully together, he wanted to create doughnuts that were just as colorful and unique. He wishes that people can see each one’s beauty within the diverse world.
As an artist and a professor, he hopes more people can enjoy and understand the value of art and the importance of culture. As an artist, Jae Yong Kim has been living with a motto, ”You are the light of the world”. He believes creating work that gives joy to people is one of the ways to be the light of the world.