Jane E Kim | April 2017
Hometown: San Jose, California
Major: Design | Media Arts
Minor: Visual and Performing Arts Education
Q: How did you discover your interest in the arts and how did you know that it was something that you wanted to pursue professionally, as an artist or as an artist teacher?
A: Ever since I can remember, I loved art. Even as a five year old, I said I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. But it wasn’t until high school that I seriously considered to pursue professionally as an artist.
I first started to share my work online during my junior year of high school - and to my pleasant surprise, people actually really liked them! Soon, I became recognized and respected as an artist at school, and I realized I wanted to do art for the rest of my life.
My entire first semester of senior year was solely spent on my art portfolio. Luckily, I had great art mentors along the way (Shout out to Akamichi and HooSSo). It was very encouraging to have so many people believe in me. I definitely couldn’t have done it without their support. And I guess that’s one reason why I became a teaching artist - to be that helpful mentor to students who need someone to believe in them :’)
Q: Describe what the young artists in your VAPAE afterschool arts program are working on and the process they’re using.
A: During the fall and winter, I taught photography and design to 9-12th graders at Venice High School. We used 35mm film cameras and worked with actual film, so it is was all very exciting. Analog photography is very different from digital photography in various ways. Once they got completed their roll of film and got it processed, we used a photo editing software to edit their photos!
Q: Why is an enrichment opportunity like this important for those participating? What do they gain?
A: An opportunity like this doesn’t just come up anywhere. I definitely never had a class like this growing up. Having an arts opportunity like this is important because it gives them a chance to explore something they might never get to ever in their life. How many young kids can say they have used an analog camera? Students from my afterschool arts program learn photography as well as basic design skills.
Q: Did you have an opportunity like this when you were a younger artist? If yes, how did it help shape your love of art? If no, in what ways could a program like this have helped you?
A: Nope, but I wish I did. If I did, I would’ve found my love for photography sooner. I would have also gotten a head start in learning how to use Photoshop and other design softwares, which would have SO useful for what I currently do.
Q: What has this experience as a teaching artist or arts facilitator taught you about yourself?
A: I found out that I like working with kids of all ages. VAPAE gave me an opportunity to teach kindergarteners at the UCLA Lab School and high schoolers at Venice High School. It was very different to transition from toddlers to teenagers, but I enjoyed them both very much. It was different for sure though.
Q: What do you personally gain as a teaching artist, arts facilitator?
A: Being an art student AND a teaching artist at the same time, it is very interesting. I identify with my students as well as my own teachers.
Q: What are the benefits to you as a student/graduate in the UCLA VAPAE program? Was this program a good choice for you? If so, why?
A: I honestly got into VAPAE totally unintentionally. I needed a class in my schedule because the other class I originally wanted got filled up. The first day, I went into class blindly with no expectations. Ended up falling in love with the course and eventually took the entire VAPAE teaching sequence with Kevin (now VAPAE director!) for the whole year.
VAPAE gave me the opportunity to teach at UCLA Lab School (last year) and Venice High School (this year). VAPAE also gave me an opportunity to be part of their staff as their designer! I work directly with the VAPAE executive team - they’re all wonderful people to work with. I don’t know what I would be doing right now without VAPAE.
Q: Are there any anecdotes from your VAPAE Studio Sessions (or Arts Education Teaching Sequence) that stand out to you? Perhaps you had a break‐through with a student or saw some particularly noticeable growth in that student through this program, collaboration etc. Maybe something surprised you or made you think about art or teaching in a new way.
A: I had one parent come up to me and say that her daughter talks about me all the time and said her favorite part of school was my class! The mom asked me which camera I was using so she can get the same exact one for her little girl. That truly made my day and I couldn’t stop smiling.
A bunch of students also come to mind. I worked with a talented group of kids this past year, and it was truly a blessing to get to know them (Shoutout to Alexys, Ayleen, Hiromi, Kiyah, Mya, Ricardo, Roberto, Jasmine and Mahari!)
Q: What are your short-term and long‐term career goals?
A: Short-term goals include graduating!!! And living in NYC. Long-terms goals? I want to travel and make art as a career. I also want to start my own business as an artist and build my own brand.