Article By: Piper Hale
Published: Nov 22, 2011
Kim Salinas, from Montpelier, Vermont, earned an M.F.A. in painting from SCAD Savannah in 2011.
Kim Salinas's initial interest in painting was sparked in the mid-'80s, when she was working as an illustrator. In this position, her clients provided specific and detailed requirements for every piece she created; she grew frustrated sticking to others' rigid rules when creating art, and began to explore painting independently as an outlet for self-expression. Her early work was heavily influenced by Carl Jung's writings on the collective unconscious, and she made it her goal to tap into that unconscious through her art.
After several self-directed years of creating art, Kim returned to school to earn a B.A. in painting. Shortly after beginning school, Kim went through a divorce; between caring for her son and working to support herself, Kim's schoolwork now became a much lower priority, and she had to become a part-time student. After nine years, she finally finished her B.A. By this time, her son was an illustration
student at SCAD. While visiting him at school, Kim fell in love with the campus and decided to pursue her M.F.A. in painting
Kim's background in illustration is evident in her painting style, which incorporates symbolic imagery into largely abstract settings to create loose narratives. Kim enjoys using vivid colors in her works to strengthen the contrast between forms and has spent the last few quarters playing with more abstract compositions. "SCAD has really given me the luxury of experimenting and putting things out there for critique… and going through all kinds of convolutions to see what worked and what didn't," says Kim. Through these experimentations, she has arrived at a distinctive style that is a hybrid of her abstract and illustration-influenced interests.
She has also been tweaking her medium itself; Kim's work has evolved from modest pieces on standard canvases to explosive imagery in paintings large enough to cover entire walls. Kim says creating work on such an inflated scale has accelerated her artistic growth tremendously. "I think the works have a much greater impact now," she says.
In her time at SCAD, Kim showed off her paintings' bold new scale at exhibitions in Atlanta
and Hong Kong
. Last spring, she was the recipient of the New York City Workspace Opportunity
, an off-campus program hosted by the SCAD painting department that sends one student every quarter to work in New York City. She took the opportunity to integrate herself into the New York art community and mingle with other artists, but spent most of her time working in her SCAD-sponsored studio space. "I worked really hard when I was there," says Kim. "I had my open studio there, and then I had a solo exhibition when I got back showing those works in Atlanta at Trois Gallery. The whole experience was really great."
Through her exhibitions, Kim has increased the sale of her works, both from her collections and the paintings she creates on commission. "SCAD really supports its artists through buying works for the permanent collection," says Kim, who has sold many of her pieces directly to the school.
These sales supplement her income from her position as a prototype designer at Designs by Lolita, a Savannah-based design company specializing in glassware. Kim creates imagery and patterns that are produced on drinking glasses sold throughout the U.S., U.K., Australia and China. "It's a really great job," says Kim. "It's been very flexible and I do a lot of really fun work there."
Kim's thesis show, entitled "The Singing Beast
," recently went on display at Savannah's Fahm Galley. The collection features the vivid colors and bold lines characteristic of Kim's style, interwoven with symbolic figures that crowd the canvas without overwhelming it.
After her recent graduation, Kim taught an acrylics workshop for SCAD's continuing education program
. She is looking forward to eventually focusing on her studio art full-time.
View Kim's portfolio.