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[Interview] Buffy Kimm, From Paper to Mixed Media





All Materials have Stories.


Our artistic partnership with Buffy Kimm began in 2022 with the collaborative exhibition "Ten Hopes." But Buffy's artistic journey extends far beyond that initial collaboration. A true multi-hyphenate, she has donned the hats of Television production designer, educator, and now, a captivating multimedia visual artist.


Buffy's artistic practice, which began in 2014, takes a unique and labour-intensive approach. Her works are born from repetitive processes, slowly transforming materials into intricate pieces of art over time. Intrigued by the depth and meaning behind this process, we sat down with Buffy to delve deeper into her artistic journey and uncover the hidden stories woven into her work.



From Paper to Mixed Media


Paper plays a special role in Buffy's work. She folds, cuts, and meticulously attaches pieces together, creating intricate forms. However, paper is just the beginning. Drawing on past experiences, she finds inspiration from photography, and also enjoys creating crafts three-dimensional models from paper. These miniature exhibition spaces allow her to visualize and experiment with how a final space will function. For her, it’s one of the processes that scales the work and to motivates her to create something different and exciting.



Beyond paper, Buffy embraces recycled and found materials including metal, rubber, tree trunks. While walking her dog or driving, she stumbles upon objects that speak to her - materials with potential for a new life in her art. Unlike a collector, Buffy doesn't actively seek them. Instead, these materials seem to find her, waiting to be reborn through her vision. This process naturally adds a layer of narrative to the finished artwork.


For example, Buffy encountered a discarded tyre when driving to walk her dog. Recognizing the danger of retrieving it herself, she waited and eventually convinced her husband to collect it. The highway maintenance people were clearing the roundabout at the time, and the he only just got the tyre before it was taken away. This piece, aptly titled "Just in Time," exemplifies how found objects gain a new life in Buffy's work. The way she encounters them, brings them back to her studio, and waits for inspiration breathes new life into these materials.



"I don't draw..." Buffy explains, "I pick up the materials first and wait for the ideas to flow!” She believes that all materials are unique with their own stories waiting to be told.


Beyond incorporating mixed media materials, Buffy's work is characterised by a fascination with patterns, both regular and irregular. For her, 'everything is pattern.'




This is evident in her use of colour, where black and white often take centre stage, creating a sense of order and regularity. In essence, pattern and repetition are fundamental to Buffy's artistic process. Through repetitive actions like folding, placing, and drawing, she amplifies the visual impact of the patterns. The bold use of black and white further emphasizes these patterns, offering viewers a sense of both intensity and calm clarity.



Open-Ended Exploration of Our Surroundings


Buffy's artistic vision doesn't delve into politics or social commentary. She's not interested in dictating a specific narrative to the viewer. Instead, her focus lies on the "stuff" around us, encouraging us to take a closer look at the world we inhabit. It all starts with the materials she finds - everyday objects with potential. Through her creations, she aims to inspire viewers to pay more attention to their surroundings, to appreciate the beauty and intrigue in the seemingly ordinary. As Buffy explains,


"I want them (people) to sort of have a look and come to their own conclusions.”



Especially these days, with so much around us, objects often become mere things, their purpose or story easily forgotten and discarded. Buffy's work tackles this by using unique materials and repetitive processes to capture people's attention. However, her goal isn't to dictate a specific meaning. Instead, she wants viewers to pause, contemplate, and form their own interpretations. Hence, her work doesn't offer easy answers or provide decisive explanations. It's not about prescribing meaning or dictating how the artwork should be interpreted. For Buffy, ideas flow organically from the materials themselves. She believes that,


“If you are too specific in the explanation, then this limits the possibilities of interpretation the work.”


Therefore, she leaves the conversation open, inviting viewers to engage in their own exploration. She doesn't even explicitly state her artistic intentions, allowing for a richer and more personal experience with each piece.


Drawing on her experience as a set designer, Buffy envisions a future project involving a massive installation. This immersive artwork would fill an entire space, allowing viewers to walk through it and experience it first-hand.

 

Buffy's artistic journey is a testament to the transformative power of seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary. By breathing new life into discarded materials and inviting viewers to engage with her work on their own terms, she challenges us to look deeper at the world around us. We eagerly await her future endeavours, and the unique stories she will continue to weave from the everyday.










Written by Dr GeeSun Hahn

현, 4482 SASAPARI Curator

Fourth Chamber Projects Director

University of Leicester, Museum Studies, UK


Photo © Buffy Kimm

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