“Never think about my life without ceramics”

Recently, Korean ceramic artist Jin eui Kim’s works were purchased by the National Museum Wales and Manchester Art Gallery for their permanent collection, which is definitely a big step in his art career.


Jin eui Kim working in his studio
Jinny working in his studio


“I still remember, the first time when I was sitting at the (ceramic) wheel. It feels like, ‘wow, this is what I really want!'” Jinny just can’t stop talking when people ask him anything about ceramics. “Day and night I sat at the wheel making ceramics. I didn’t ever think about doing other things for my life. And I also don’t want to think about it in the future.”

People here call him Jinny, while his full name is Jin Eui Kim, living as a ceramic artist now in Cardiff. Originally from South Korea, Jinny did not have a strong artistic background since childhood. “Naturally, I am good at making things rather than drawing. I am not that good at painting because I did not learn much art when I was young. My hometown locates in a rural district with no buses or supermarkets. All that we have is mountain and river. So we made all the toys ourselves and that is when I found that I always make those better than others.” Jinny explains.

Part of Jinny's ceramic works in studio
Part of Jinny’s ceramic works in studio

Back in 2003, when Jinny finished the only art course at university in South Korea, he started to feel tired of studying chemistry courses of textile and fashion engineering programme. “I just hate it,” he says a little emotionally. “So it was really a good opportunity for my life, actually, to be accepted by the university in Australia.”

But it was only when Jinny was doing his PhD in Cardiff that he found his unique personal style of making ceramics artworks. “I like Cardiff for a lot of reasons. After graduation from university in Australia, I applied two schools in the UK to pursue my ceramic studies. I finally come to Cardiff because it has a lot of benefits as a capital city. People here are nice. Moreover, it has a very supportive art council.” Jinny smiles.

Now his work mainly focuses on exploring how to manipulate perceptions of three-dimensional form by applying 18 different tonal bands on the surface of ceramics. “I wanted to, create certain phenomena by using the principles for creating illusions.” Jinny tries to explain it in a simpler way: “When people stare at my works, light, distance and height are all possible aspects to change their feelings about them. Different people see different phenomena just because they have different experiences and expectations. Sometimes people can’t see certain effects because they don’t expect.”

“Lots of failure came out over the last few years. Even now, I am still trying to add some new materials into the main ones I use to reduce the possibilities of cracking in firing. But I like ‘challenge’ as a word. I tried so many times to finally find out the right percentage. And it also took me 6 months to find out the best temperature in order to avoid losing some tones in firing. So my work is always challenging. But that is how I get more better quality works, which makes me so proud.”

Jinny’s works on the wall
Jinny's work in studio
Jinny’s work in studio

When asked about interests, Jinny said:“I like daydreaming. Sometimes if I get a good idea, I can spend 4 hours driving and just keeping thinking about it. ‘Please concentrate on driving!’ My wife always complains like this. But actually, the new idea I am currently preparing for the next stage comes out from a drive.”

Talking about the near future, Jinny mentioned that he has already applied for funds on a new project, which will last for at least one year. “I am now waiting for the funds. I have to give up teaching Korean in September this year because I have to spend more Saturdays in studio. But I am still teaching ceramic workshops. Just finished one teaching disabled people, organized by ‘Touch Trust’, an organization in Millennium Centre.”