Haters Gonna Hate: A Short Interview With Sandy Kim

Sandy Kim is a rambunctious wild child and her camera may as well be a Molotov cocktail. With a they-love-to-hate-us-because-they-ain’t-us attitude, Kim shoots her friends and lovers with a semen-soaked, blood-stained abandon. Indeed, her work is a neon-hued punk diary of her life that is at turns exhibitionistic, voyeuristic and always hedonistic. Kim is not alone in her ilk that includes a brood of gritty and provocative documentarians, like Nan Goldin or Ryan McGinley. However, Kim’s work belongs to a different age – a desensitized, digitized age of youth-wave marauders; a progeny not high on Reagan-era mountains of cocaine, but on Obama’s 5-Hour Energy and Ritalin-induced angst. Tonight, Evergold Gallery in San Francisco is presenting How’s The Weather Down There? – Kim’s third solo show with the gallery. The exhibition will include large-scale photographs that scream even louder her declaration of sexual freedom and youthful independence. Autre was lucky enough to catch up with Kim to ask her a few quick questions.

AUTRE: How did you discover the artistic side of yourself?

SANDY KIM: Ever since I was child I was always drawing constantly, my parents were always busy working at their restaurant so I would sit in a booth and draw the time away.

AUTRE: Who were some of your earliest artistic or photographic influences?  

KIM: William Eggleston and Dash Snow.

AUTRE: Can you remember the first thing you ever photographed? 

KIM: I think the first photograph I ever took was of a building as an assignment in my first black and white photo class in high school. I played with the angles and composition to make an abstract image that was hard to tell whether it was a building on a close up object. 

AUTRE: Your work features a lot of bodily fluids…blood, semen, etc…. what was the craziest response that you have ever gotten to your work? 

KIM: Just check out all the anonymous comments left on my "Wait" music video for DIIV. People be passionately hating, but other than the anonymous comment leavers, my friends or likeminded people don't seem to be phased by my work.  

Sandy Kim, Untitled, 2015. Digital archival photograph. 30x45 in. Edition of 2. Courtesy of the artist and Ever Gold Gallery

AUTRE: You are featured in a lot of big publications and photographers, like Ryan McGinley recognize your work – did you expect this big of a response? 

KIM: No…because when I first started taking pictures it was strictly for myself so I wasn't concerned with what other people thought.  

AUTRE: Do you think before you shoot…is there ever a consistent thought process when you look through the viewfinder…or do you just shoot away? 

KIM: Well, yes I always think before I shoot, but it's seldom about what I'm about to shoot [laughs]. 99% of the time I just shoot away, but there must be a thought process, even if it's a subconscious one, because my photos always have a certain style that's easy to recognize 

AUTRE: As a photographer…can you describe the ideal moment…the ideal time to have your camera on hand? 

KIM: Whenever I happen to forget my camera something unreal happens

AUTRE: What’s your greatest fear as a photographer? 

KIM: Running out of film at a crucial moment in time or during a shoot. Sometimes I'll just pretend to keep shooting.

AUTRE: Is there anyone that you dream of shooting…alive or dead? 

KIM: Rihanna  

AUTRE: What can we expect at your new show…How’s The Weather Down There…at Ever Gold gallery? 

KIM: A trip into my world    

Sandy Kim's solo exhibition 'How’s The Weather Down There' opens tonight and runs until April 18th, 2015 at Ever Gold Gallery, 441 O'Farrell St, San Francisco. See a preview of the show in the slideshow below. Text and interview by Oliver Maxwell Kupper