Kim is a former legal secretary and a self-taught local artist from Mar Vista. Kim studied to pursue a career in interior design where she first found batik. But a career change was an impractical dream with two small kids to raise on her own. Years passed, kids grew up, jobs came and went...and then the recession hit...
"I have always been drawn to the arts in one form or another and I saw being laid off as an opportunity to get to those things I’d never had time for; like batik." says Kim.
Kim Jacobi is now a talented batik artist in Los Angeles, and she was kind enough to share her unique perspective on L.A. and her new career.
How would you explain the Batik process to someone who has never heard of it before?
Batik is an ancient resist method of dyeing cloth. The resist, melted wax, is applied to portions of the fabric then the fabric is dyed. Where wax has been applied the fabric will "resist" dyeing. This process can be repeated several times, creating a pattern or image like a painting.
Why fabric and why Batik?
I was first introduced to batik some 20 odd years ago while I was in an interior design class. The assignment was to research and execute some way to apply color to fabric. I never did become an interior designer but that batik I did still hangs on my wall to this day. One afternoon about three years ago, while sitting at my dining room table, my
artist sister pointed to it and said, “I want to learn how to do that.” So I hunted down my notes, found my stretcher bars in the garage, got some wax and dye and cotton and
went to work. My sister went back to Canada and her acrylics and I’ve been at it ever since. It’s such an organic process; the beeswax and paraffin, cotton and tools that have virtually the same as those used centuries ago. It’s a great way to reduce stress. It centers me.
Have you always been an artist?
No! If you would have told me three years ago that I would be an artist I would have said, “I have a job.” In one way or another I have always been drawn to the creative. As a kid, growing up practically a stone’s throw from MGM Studios I dreamed of being an actress but that was a pursuit my mother definitely frowned upon. I studied interior
design for three years but it was the wrong time in my life for a career change, I had two children to raise on my own so I had to be practical. I was really meant to be a writer (but don’t tell anyone).
What was the moment when you first realized you are capable of creating an art career for yourself?
Well, I’m still hoping to be able to call what I’m doing an art career, but you make money in a career so that still remains to be seen. However, the first time I thought, "I can do
this," was when I made my first sale to someone who wasn’t a friend or family member. It was at this one night underground art show in a warehouse in downtown L.A. This woman just kept staring at one of my pieces and I knew it spoke to something inside her and she had to have it. That was the third art show I participated in and I thought, "If I
can sell just one batik at every show I do..." Well, that hasn’t happened, yet.
Where do you draw your inspiration? - Pun slightly intended!
Sometimes I reach back into my childhood and a dream that has never diminished: Africa. I long to go there and walk on the continent that was the birthplace of Man.
Lately though, a lot of my work revolves around images that invoke a sense of tranquility, I’m really into palm trees these days. And sometimes my dark side escapes and monsters cavort across my consciousness.
What is one milestone for your career that you are working to achieve?
Representation by a serious gallery. I’m currently hanging work in two galleries but they are what is known as "vanity galleries," where you rent your wall space.
What is your favorite work of art by another artist and why?
I don’t have one favorite work of art, specifically, but I love anything by Roger Dean; all those Yes album covers. I guess I could say the Relayer album cover is a favorite. It’s
that otherworldly landscape he creates that I see myself getting lost in.