Christine Sung Kim, Contemporary Deaf Artist

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 I find this quote very interesting, as it is not a common way for people to think of the arts, instead of many are overly concerned with the issue of whether what they create is “good” by the standards of others. Christine is an exhibiting artist who creates interactive visual pieces mostly based on the topic of redefining sound.

Born in 1980 in California, Christine and her sister were both born Deaf, Her parents are both hearings. She has loved painting ever since she was a very small child, and has never stopped since then. After attending high school in California, she moved on to the Rochester Institute of Technology where she received her degree of interdisciplinary studies. She also has a Master of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and lastly another in Sound and Music from Bard College. Christine has based most of her artistic works in New York, as well as some in Berlin, Germany.

When Christine began her art career with her interest in sound, many were shocked at the idea and confused over how a Deaf person could interact with the world of sound. Christine states that just because she doesn't directly hear, that it does not mean she doesn't participate in that world, nor that it makes her voice and weaker than others (Sun Kim). For Christine, ASL is more than just a way to communicate, it can be a Deaf person's form of music. Because the concept she works with is not as concrete as others, Kim faced mountains of rejection in order to kick start her career. She has told interviewers of how quickly rejection letters from grants and residencies piled up, and how discouraging it truly is. As stated by Christine, “Being an artist is one of the most vulnerable things you can do for your mind and body” (Sun Kim).

A few of Christine’s larger and more famous visual arts works include “face opera ii”, which explores the incredible importance of facial expression in signs. In this work, Kim and a group of people who were also born Deaf take turns acting as if in a choir, using subtle facial movements. Another work, titled “busy days” explores the nature of sound through drawing. She began this journey into visual and interactive art when she felt her “Ideas were too big to be put onto canvas” (Sun Kim). Christine's large variety of mediums in her work brings something interesting for anyone, and her social commentary on our relationship with sound helps bring awareness of Deaf culture to the art community. She has been invited to many prestigious events and venues to share her message for the hearing world and continues to push her ideas by doing as many interviews, TED talks, and speeches as she can.

The more I looked into Christine's work, the more I began to understand the ideas she conveys. She explains the rhythms of ASL and uses the piano as a metaphor. Each finger is a note, using many at a time is like a chord, and when you take into account body movement, facial expression, spatial usage, handshape, speed, etc., it all adds up to convey a message to those who are willing to listen. Christine's inventive thinking has opened the eyes of many and left an impact on the art community. Not only from her art does she teach others, but also through her bubbly personality and excitement to share knowledge. I admire Christine's patience when it came to rejection, and her persistence to make her ideas known. As I also desire to pursue an art career, though it will look very different because of the mediums I chose, I can still apply that patience in my future and remember that it takes monumental determination to truly get to where you want to be.

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Christine Sung Kim, contemporary deaf artist. (2021, Nov 26). Retrieved June 18, 2024 , from

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