Designer Spotlight: Jeff Kim

This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Jeff Kim,
a native New York artist with many places he’s called home, working on animated feature films.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I am a native New Yorker but currently living in Montreal, Canada. Before Montreal, I’ve lived in a variety of places: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Vancouver, Canada. I am a computer animator working on animated feature films. Growing up, I’ve always loved art and design, but never quite had the draftsmanship (or the patience) to actually pursue a career in those. Shapeways is giving me a huge outlet for that.

What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
As an animator, I always need to constantly observe shapes and silhouettes (in nature, in everyday objects, etc). This has always come naturally for me. For my snowflake ornaments, the idea came out of the blue from a funny t-shirt I bought from the Internet. On it was silhouettes of 80’s action figures and they were kind of randomly placed on the front of the shirt. From far away, they look like just shapes of ordered chaos, but then then it hit me…in nature, snowflakes are ordered chaos. The root idea behind the snowflakes is how, as a child of the 80’s, these toys are the ones every kid wanted for Christmas under the tree. As an adult, I wanted to express through the snowflake ornaments the nostalgia of those innocent days tearing through the wrapping paper to find those action figures under the tree.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?

Believe it or not, I was working on a prototype for a funky-zen fishbowl design. My friend told me that he was at SIGGRAPH and heard about a 3D printing company called Shapeways and said I should contact them. I had no idea what 3D printing was, so I explored the site a bit. Unfortunately there were no options for glass or clear acrylic. But around the same time I had the crazy idea for the snowflake and it was a perfect storm.

How did you learn how to design in 3D?
My profession as a computer animator gave me access to tools and software for 3D design. I am lucky!

How do you promote your work?
I’ve been incredibly lazy with promoting, to be honest. I set up a Facebook page for my products, but I sat back and had the attitude of “If you build it, they will come,” which doesn’t really work. However, I have been reading up more and more about starting a side business and I’m finding out how challenging and fun it can be.

Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
I don’t have a favorite artists (there are way too many) but if I HAVE to choose now at this moment in time, I would say Al Hirschfeld. As for the the Shapeways community, the person who inspires me would be Alexandre Grynagier, the creator of “Ersatz” action figures. I read on the blog that he is also an animator, so I feel some sort of kinship.

If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?

I’m feeling a bit homesick as I write this, so I would like to “print” all of my mom’s Korean food recipes, so I won’t have to fail every time I try to do it myself!

Check out all of the awesome products by Jeff in his Shapeways Shop and show your support on his Facebook and Pinterest pages. If you’d like to be featured, email aimee@shapeways.com.

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