We had the good fortune of connecting with Kym Day and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kym, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I began my art career, I thought that galleries and museums would have a large role in it. My undergraduate education seemed to ignore the entire concept of selling, and focused on other, sporadic sources of funding like grants and residency stipends. It gives the illusion that artists are adequately paid for their work and research, but the application processes for these kinds of funding is time consuming and unrealistic for long term sustainment. When my entire schedule of shows and festivals for 2020 was canceled, it was clear I needed to be able to reach an audience online. It was also very clear that galleries were not going to help me sell my work this year, but it made me realize that they weren’t helping me do that to begin with. In 2020, I invested in a website that would enable a fine art print partner to fulfill and ship prints of my work directly to my customer for me. My artwork is also way more accessible financially to my customers now. I think art school largely fails to prepare artists to run their own careers. With so much emphasis on the gallery-artist relationship, and prioritizing exhibiting within that system, I graduated with the impression that galleries would essentially steer my career for me. Not so, in my case! And my previous website, which was designed with what art school taught me about presentation in mind, was not communicating that my work was even for sale.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think what my work does best is conveys my sense of humor. My goal is to create (likely weird) open-narrative imagery that certainly nobody asked for, but which becomes irresistible in its irrationality and vivid color palette. Hints of the sublime and surreal underly my subjects. I got to this point in my career firstly, by dipping my toe into hundreds of different art mediums, techniques, & subjects. This was the easy and fun part, and I think I let this phase stretch out for too long. A big lesson I learned was to simplify my studio practice, mostly in terms of materials, in my case. I wanted to show my ambition by working with more and more unusual materials and techniques, but have since arrived at the conclusion that I could have produced my best work sooner if I’d limited myself to oil paint a long time ago. I think that was the biggest challenge I faced. I wasn’t focused enough to create a business while managing vastly different art tools and projects, even if I enjoyed the full spectrum of it. I was also teaching studio art up until 2020, and I think all along it felt like it was contributing to my art practice because the art was never turned off in my mind. It kept me from slowing down to examine and weed out the extraneous projects. It was like learning to follow a restrictive diet, knowing that you will function better once you’re on a strict regimen. The more recent challenges involved diving head-on into several big commitments last year that forced me to invest in my career in ways I wouldn’t have understood I needed the year before. Most of these commitments were to art fairs which were canceled in 2020, but I’m now more prepared to run my business both online and in person just because I had to adapt so quickly.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I think my favorite past time is eating, so my recommendations are all restaurants. I’d probably take them to a kushiyaki place like Ginya Izakaya for skewers and sake. I’m a big meat eater and love Farm Burger, Hobnob, and Che Butter Jones for dreamy burgers. I’d recommend taking sample of basically the whole menu at Momonoki, and maybe Little Spirit later for novelty cocktails. If you’re a friend of mine, of course you’ll want to hit up the current High Museum exhibits, and hopefully we could catch an exhibition reception at MINT Gallery, where I have my studio. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents have always been my biggest fans, source of encouragement & emotional support.