Monday, May 5, 2014

Artomobiles: Jin Seo Kim Sketches the Future

Young-Joon Park | Features Editor

Kim has used 43 ball point pens for his designs since the
start of the Year. (photo by Kevin Jewell)
  There are sketches everywhere. Coupes on his desk, SUVs on his shelves, sports cars in his bag, sedans on his computer and even buses on sporadic pages of his assignment notebook. Junior Jin Seo Kim aspires to be car design’s next top star.

   To his classmates, Kim is an oddball out of the junior class. Like a tonic of a little cynicism, fashion, wit, and bursts of craziness, none of the juniors can say that they never enjoyed his company. But above all, his love for car design sticks out. “It started with hot wheels.” Kim said. “and maybe the Audi toddler car I had when I was six.” For the fledgling designer, it did not take long to realize his goal. Ever since, Kim has drawn cars every single day for three years.

   With years of car design under his belt, he boggles onlookers with his ease when drawing intricate side views and detailed ¾ views of his latest vehicle. “I draw about four or five views of twenty different cars a day.” Kim remarked while flipping through his pile of sketches on his desk. “I pick out a few good designs and scan them into my computer to add some color and texture with Photoshop.”

   Kim’s design process is far from simple. “It starts with thinking of the need of the person. You select a lifestyle and the image of the person and try to follow it throughout his day. If you continue to follow this image, you can visualize the type of car he needs.” Only after this does the creative process come in.

   Kim looks for inspiration from artwork, nature, architecture, and everything else in the world to find the perfect design. Once his theme is set, he begins drawing, starting with the side view of the automobile and working his way around the vehicle. “The whole process involves a lot of failures until you find that harmonized and artistic design you want.” Kim said.

Kim churns out sketches like the one above in a matter of minutes.
(Photo by Mickey Coughlin)
   This March, after (literally) repeating this process about 10,000 times, Kim completed his college portfolio for his dream school - Art Center College of Design at Pasadena, in California. All this he accomplished by himself without any help from the school administration. “For students going into the arts, portfolios are extremely important, so it was a disappointment that the Mount doesn’t have a solid system to support art students.” To make up for the shortcoming, Kim attended art classes on car designing in Korea over the summer. The teachers there helped Kim set conceptual ideas on the themes of his portfolio and wrote him a letter of recommendation to attach to his application.

   Though his forte is the arts, Kim never slacks when it comes to school work. He brushes off his good grades as “pure luck”, but his close peers say otherwise. “It’s not luck. It’s diligence.” Junior David Choi said. “I take a lot of classes with him this year, and he always has his homework finished days before the due date. He’s always the first one to finish.” As to prove this statement, Kim has gotten straight As ever since his freshman year -- and in style as well.

   Kim stands at the vanguard of fashion at the Mount, with his gaudy Thom Browne shirts and modern Dsquared Jeans (they are American and Italian design houses by the way).  “I believe the Mount is at least thirty years behind in fashion. Work needs to be put in there.” Kim remarked with a hint of irritation. “I hate it when people wear plain white socks with dress pants. It just annoys me. And guess what I always see at the Mount.”

   Nonetheless, Kim is bound for a career in car design after graduation and is already visualizing where he wants to be in twenty years. “There are a lot of wonderful car makers out there, but a personal goal of mine is working for Volkswagen. Head Designer might be a little far-fetched, but I am going to try anyways.”