Artist Proof Interview with Artist: Kim Herbst
Global Location: San Francisco, CA
URL : www.kimherbst.com
Kim Herbst is a freelance illustrator who relocated to San Francisco, CA from Brooklyn, NY. She’s half Chinese and grew up with a pair of stone lions in her living room. Kim attended the Maryland Institute College of Art and graduated with a BFA in illustration. Her work has been featured in magazines, children’s books, text books, art galleries, and various art blogs.
AP: How long have you been making art for and what led you to start?
KH: I was always interested in art since a young age. I suppose when all children draw, some just never stop and I was one of those individuals. My mother played an enormous influence on leading me towards art. She would doodle little things or sketch images from time to time. She’s incredibly talented in arts ‘n crafts, and I wanted to try doing the same things as her when I was little.
AP: Where do you currently live and work ? And how does this influence your work?
KH: I live in San Francisco, and have been living here a little over a year. I lived my whole life on the East coast. It’s definitely a big change! If anything, my work seems to be found more easily on the West coast. For awhile, I think I was lost in the sea of illustrators and fine artists who were also living in New York City.
AP: Did you have formal training if so what? If your self taught can you tell us what you prefer about being a self taught artist vs having formal training?
KH: I went to the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. It definitely helped put me in the right gear and taught me all the core knowledge I needed to know to become an illustrator. I was taking a lot of art courses back in High School but never felt properly challenged. As a result, I never really tried that hard and was disappointed to find I would still be earning A’s on all of my lazily-done projects. MICA really gave me a swift kick in the rear and disciplined me. I don’t think I would have gotten that tough-love if I was self-taught.
AP: Can you tell us about where you make your work, is it in your house, a studio etc.. and how it effects your work?
KH: I have a 2-bedroom apartment and one of the bedrooms has been set up as a studio. I share this space with my live-in boyfriend. I like having my studio space close-at-hand in case an idea strikes me suddenly and I want to get it all down or immediately immerse myself in my work. It’s also set up as a comfortable room; the walls are plastered in postcards and posters from other illustrators, work from friends, colleagues, and so on. Other times, it’s a bit hard to separate my free time from working - I’ll feel obligated to sit in my studio because it’s right there. And then sharing it with Boyfriend can be difficult if he wants attention and I have a strict deadline to hit for a client!
AP: What are some of you favorite design projects/exhibitions you have worked on to date?
KH:Just last week I had the opportunity to create some illustrations for GamesTM Magazine; it’s the UK version of GameInformer Magazine here in the US. I was able to create some popular video game characters in my own illustration style, so it was really enjoyable! Before that, I had work in some gallery shows down in Los Angeles for Gallery1988’s 3G show that partnered with the Autumn Society. The 3G show focused on the 3 films, Ghostbusters, Goonies, and Gremlins so I had 3 different pieces on display for that.
AP: What is your medium of choice ?
KH: Digital/Photoshop these days, which is a shocker because I was highly against digital art for a really long time. I decided to save money on brushes, ink, and paper, as well as time from scanning and cleaning up drawings.
AP: What is the relationship between technique and content in your work?
KH: Whatever the content, I strive to bring some extreme emotion into the piece, whether it be positive or negative. I always need things to look fairly organic, it’s what makes me feel most comfortable; it’s probably because I can relate to something living.
AP: In what direction would you like to see your work going over the next five years?
KH: I’d love to continue with magazine publishing, maybe go more towards editorial illustrations. It’s that or just go the distance and make a ridiculously long graphic novel to be hopefully-one-day be published. If I can have a solo gallery show somewhere, that’d be really awesome as well!
AP: What forth coming projects and or exhibitions do you have scheduled for 2011?
KH: I’ll be in the Crazy for Cult show in the LA location of Gallery1988. I will also be in the Dream works Fine Arts Prints collection for a How To Train Your Dragon illustration. Hopefully some other great things - it’s too early to tell for me at this time!
AP: Take us on a guided tour through a day in your life as an artist.
KH: I seem to live two separate lives: full-time job Kim and freelance illustrator Kim. Weekdays I wake up early, hit the gym every other day or so and then ride a bike immediately to my full-time job after. I’m a 2d artist/Flash animator for a large game company, and generally work from 9-6pm. I basically sit and draw cute tiny game assets all day and animate them if it’s something that needs to move, or dance, or sparkle, or explode, etc. I bike home to sit down at my computer and start drawing in Photoshop with a Cintiq. This time is generally spent finishing up freelance projects that come my way or working on personal illustrations. This will usually go from 7pm-12am. Then wake up and repeat 5x a week. Weekends I will relax a bit, but if an idea strikes me, I’ll go straight to the studio and draw some more, sometimes into really late hours of the night.
AP: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.