The Wick - Krista Kim The Wick - Krista Kim
Monday Muse

Interview Digital artist Krista Kim

Krista Kim
22 August 2022
Krista Kim
22 August 2022
Toronto-based contemporary and metaverse artist Krista Kim hit the headlines last year for selling the first NFT-backed digital home, Mars House, for over half a million dollars.

Founder of the Techism movement, which aims to bring together artists and tech engineers to create work and technological innovation that serves humanity, Kim is considered to be one of the most significant, living NFT artists – her work has been sold by SuperRare, Christie’s, and Sotheby’s. She works in both digital and physical mediums to create meditative experiences of colour and light.

She is also the co-founder of metaverse architects, the contributing metaverse editor for Singapore Vogue, and an internationally acclaimed speaker who has been featured in exhibitions and media outlets around the world.

THE WICK:   Who are your ultimate Monday Muses in the metaverse and the real world?

Krista Kim:   I practice Transcendental Meditation daily, and that keeps me inspired and creative every day. My Monday muses are my two teenage kids.

TW:   As an NFT creator and contemporary artist and entrepreneur, what does your typical Monday look like?

KK:   Every Monday morning, I meditate, then I start my day with an team Zoom meeting. I have a call with my manager, Jori Teplitzky. Every Monday is different because I work on multiple art projects and metaverse projects through My team and I are inspired to create a better metaverse for education, health and wellness.

TW:   You founded the Techism movement in 2014, well before the key art market players paid attention to the digital world. What first inspired you to explore art and technology, and what does “Techism” mean to you?

KK:   When I began using the iPhone, I paid attention to the negative effects it had on my psychology. Social media has had such a negative effect on the mental health of generations of youth. I knew in 2014, that we needed more art at the forefront of technological innovation, in order to create humane digital culture. I transform the screen into a mechanism of meditativeness. It was in Times Square last February, when I participated in Midnight Moments, that I learned how profound it is to share healing, mediative artwork on 96 screens for a moment to breathe. Now, I need to bring this ethos into the metaverse, so this powerful technology will be used for humanity.

TW:   What are the key differences between creating art in the physical and digital worlds?

KK:   I used to paint, so it is definitely less messy. I create artwork on my iPad or my MacBook Pro anywhere in the world, and I don’t have to clean up after each session. I can create anywhere in my house – I don’t need to rent a studio to create art. I love the freedom.

“I believe we will live in a future where art is part of every waking moment through digital overlays and immersive experiences.”

TW:   You created Mars House, a virtual environment using your digital zen philosophy, in response to the Covid lockdown. How did the virtual environment help with your mental wellbeing during the pandemic?

KK:   I lived in Tokyo between 2005-2008. When I first saw the Ryoanji Temple garden in Kyoto, I was deeply moved by its beauty and serenity. This garden is special because it is designed to reflect the principles of Zen Buddhism. Every aspect of the garden, from the placement of the stones to the way the plants are arranged, has been carefully planned to create a space that encourages contemplation and peace of mind.

In 2020, during the Covid lockdowns, I was inspired by these principles to create a virtual “Zen dream home” in VR, and that is why I created Mars House in Unreal Engine. The design of Mars House is minimalist, incorporating my artwork as LED substrates for the ceiling and floor – stretching from the patio to the pool. The entire home is an immersive meditative experience. It was a truly inspiring process to create in Unreal Engine, and to experience Mars House in VR. I go there to recharge after a long day. I find the colours so beautiful and healing.

TW:   What do you personally collect?

KK:   I collect art (NFTs, physical art) because it brings me joy, and we need to surround ourselves with things we love. NFTs are so eary, it’s a great opportunity to support the ecosystem and collect from talented artists in Web3 while the market is so young.

TW:   What do you see as the future of art in the metaverse?

KK:   Immersive, experiential, AI, programmable, high-fidelity, XR.

TW:   Your undergraduate degree was in political science. What change in politics would you most like to see?

KK:   I want to see more efficiency and transparency in our political systems. Blockchain technology is a powerful technology to facilitate transparent legislation and votes as NFTs; as well as lean and efficient government. We also need to own our own data in the blockchain because data sovereignty is a human right.

TW:   You were chosen by Louis Vuitton as a #Louis200 visionary, in celebration of the founder’s 200th birthday in 2021. What excites you about #Louis200 and which other brands do you think “do art” well?

KK:   It is a great honour to be recognised by Louis Vuitton as a #Louis200 visionary. There are so many incredible artists and cultural leaders I admire, such as Gloria Steinem, Frank Gehry, and the amazing floral artist MFF. I think Louis Vuitton does art well. Prada has an incredible Contemporary Art Foundation. I also love Hermès artist collaborations and I would love to do a scarf and handbag collection with them.

TW:   What have been the biggest challenges in your artistic career?

KK:   I feel very supported by the Web3 community, so I do not sense any challenges in Web3. In Web3, you are never alone – you will always find your tribe.

TW:   How do you balance the physical world and personal connection with the metaverse you are so in demand in?

KK:   Meditation and exercise. I practice Transcendental Meditation daily. I have two teenagers, so I am very busy in the real world, balancing our family life, creative life, and fun. I always prioritise my friends.

TW:   Is there anything else you would like to share?

KK:   The gateway to the metaverse is education, heath and wellness. I believe we will live in a future where art is part of every waking moment through digital overlays and immersive experiences on our Apple glasses or AR contact lenses. We will learn about the pyramids inside the metaverse pyramids. We will immortalise Martin Luther King Jr.’s avatar, performing the “I Have a Dream” speech in the metaverse for young generations to experience back in time. We will have wellness groups and classes for meditation in the metaverse led by licensed therapists. We will meet friends and build transcendent relationships beyond divisions of religion, race, and geography in the metaverse.

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