Interview with SVA Illustration major Minah Kim

About a month ago I noticed that one of our former students, Minah Kim, had suggested to ‘like’ her fan page on Facebook. When I clicked on the Minah Kim Art fan page  I was really impressed with the work she was making.  I had been thinking about interviewing Ashcan graduates to see what they have been up to, and I thought that Minah would be a perfect student to start with. As an Illustration major myself, I immediately saw the skill and professionalism in Minah’s work, although she makes it look easy with her smooth clean style- And the work is clever and fun, she is definitely an up and coming Illustrator to look out for.

I was so happy to finally catch up with Minah, she has an unmatched determination, she is a perfectionist (in the loveliest sense of the word) and she has a positive outlook on life that is infectious. Read about her experiences at Ashcan, what it’s like to be a senior at SVA, and what her inspirations and goals are. I encourage you to take your time looking at her illustrations; I promise it’ll be worth it.

Hayley Palmatier

Director, Ashcan Studio


Hayley: Where do you study now and what year?

Minah: I’m studying at SVA. I’m a senior student, preparing to graduate with my BFA from SVA soon.


Hayley: What’s your major?

Minah: I’m majoring in Illustration. Additionally, I’ve taken several classes in cartooning, for the Cartooning majors. There are many overlapping aspects between the Illustration and Cartooning programs, so I could take those classes as long as I got a permission from the Chair of the Cartooning Department.

Spring Break“Spring Break” Illustration by Minah Kim 2014


Hayley: When were you a student at Ashcan Studio?

Minah: The autumn of 2010, I was making my portfolio in the Pre- College Portfolio Preparation program.


Hayley: I remember fondly! What is life like now that you’re in art school?

Minah:I love being in art school, it’s like a bee hive. You know, the queen bee gives a mission to the worker bees, the bees help each other find honey and we bring fine stuff  back to the queen. It’s just like the relationship between the instructors and us at SVA. All the students are inspired by one another’s ideas, opinions, artwork and references. We improve our artistic sensibility along with our drawing skills under the instructor’s command. We support each other, help one another and we are growing together. Doesn’t it sound cool?


Hayley: Yes it does, and I like the analogy. What was your experience like at Ashcan Studio, do you have a good or funny story ?

Minah: I do have so many crazy stories about Ashcan and my instructors there. I literally tortured instructors to help me during my last few months there. I followed my instructors around, asking them all kinds of questions all day and tried to get any support I could. All of the students who were preparing their portfolios were very emotional and really sensitive, including me. I think I wanted to hear, “Don’t worry about your portfolio. You are doing fine”, because I would have felt relief to hear that comment. Thankfully, the instructors were never weary of teaching the students. They were always nice, gentle and coherent, just professionals. So I was able to build my portfolio on time for the SVA admissions deadline, and get the largest scholarship that SVA awards incoming students. I can assure you that I love all the instructors in Ashcan. And, I just want the rest of my experiences at Ashcan to be my secret, to save my face 😀


The Melting Pot“The Melting Pot” Illustration by Minah Kim 2014


Hayley: What is the most important thing you learned as an Art student?

Minah: Simply, I learned how to make art my own way. I learned that I am the only one in charge of my own visual world. I saw the other artists’ artwork and received feedback about my work from other students and the Instructors, so I could find out who I am, what I am good at, and what I want to draw. As an artist, you have to know what your style is and what your work is about. This is important when you are pumped out from art school in to the real business world.

Hayley: I agree, and from what I see of your current work, you are ready! What inspires you and the work you’re making now?

Minah: I would say everything around me does. Things that make me laugh, unique faces and fashion on the street, crazy combinations of colors, fascinating music and all different forms of artwork by great artists inspire me.

We Both Reached For the Gun“We Both Reached for the Gun” Illustration by Minah Kim 2014


Hayley: What are your goals as an Artist and Illustrator?

Minah: Grow, evolve, and to give my artwork to the world.
I don’t care much whether my work is loved or not. From the heart, I want to get better after each finished piece and have fun being an artist.

Hayley: Thank you Minah, it’s been so nice seeing your work, and catching up with you. 

Minah: Thank you, Hayley!


You can see more of Minah Kim’s work here:

and  her Behance online portfolio at



After Marriage“After Marriage”  Illustration by Minah Kim 2014

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