Megan Amato // Associate News Editor
Shadowy portraits, conceptual images, painterly action-shots and colourful illustrations all grace Valeriya Kim’s Instagram account. She showcases versatility and skill that is almost as remarkable as her ability to weave narratives through each piece.
The 21-year-old IDEA student from Kazakhstan laughed as she reminisced about her beginnings as an artist. “I was painting a lot of circles with watercolour. That would be all that I would paint. Page after page after page of circles.” Her mother must have seen something in those circles because she was put into art school, where a supportive art teacher helped her foster her natural ability across different mediums.
Despite the eccentricity of her portfolio, Kim’s favourite style to work in is conceptual art. Growing up she loved to play videogames and was inspired by the stills of the videogame art designs that promoted games prior to their release. “Character design is my favourite because this is where you can do most of the storytelling. You have to imagine where is the character from, where does he live, what does he do in his free time, what is his financial situation. I feel like when you can visualize it, this is where the creativity comes out.” There is no denying that Kim is a natural storyteller; her pieces invite you into fantasy worlds with dark ethereal portraits and enigmatic scenes.
When she was younger, Kim’s main inspiration came from the Rococo period in France. “It was really fluid, and a really beautiful balance of contrast and light,” she said. The internet, however, changed everything for her. Kim was introduced to and influenced by the plethora of illustrators she found online, drawn to the purposefulness that was in the medium of graphic design. However, she emphasizes the importance of glancing away from the screen and paying attention to the world around her. “It is important because if you want to get better, you should draw from real life more. Absorbing everything around you is important because I think that’s how you form your unique style—through your environment.”
Follow Valeriya Kim on Instagram @valerochkim