Chanel Kim—a creative spirit.
Chanel touches almost everyone in Atlanta's creative class, from a past working in the service industry and possessing a ton of Atlanta food culture, to art, design, and yoga. She's a humble talent who shines bright. Her debut into the music and art community was set off by her rapping premiere with Tiger Moon, a performance art duo with Zopi Kristjanson. (You may just see them reappear sometime soon, so stay tuned!) Most recently, Chanel has become a student of yoga (and has a teacher training) at Tough Love Yoga, a quintessential Atlanta yoga studio devoted to modern practices for a ton of creative people in town. She studied design at Portfolio Center and has become a graphic designer under globally renowned creative director and type designer Stefán Kjartansson.
See what I mean? Of course she would touch so many people with such a diverse span of creative outlets. Chanel has amazing energy, an expressive heart, and a beautiful mind. She can't be boxed in. For this, she is my muse. We sat down for an interview, and here it is:
MH: What do you find beautiful about being a woman?
CK: Oh wow, so much. Socially, I believe men and women are paying more homage to the modern feminine, or at least being called out for not respecting women, and being drawn out to accept the feminine within themselves. I think I would have a tough time as a man in the Western world right now, having to untangle toxic masculinity and figure out the stuff women deal with constantly. Because for women, beauty is born in finding our own ways of dealing, coping, and surviving. That takes time and work. Disenfranchised people have always had to do that and when one is privileged, it's not easy to find out that everything isn't as easy as it seems. I've been lucky enough to find rituals, communities, systems of support, and even performative expressions that keep everything together—aligned in a sense—for me.
MH: What is true beauty?
CK: Honoring oneself fully.
MH: What do you find beautiful about women?
CK: Effortless self-expression when a woman is in their element. A contrast in states of being, from explosive and foamy to serene and clear. How one carries oneself—in their art, their work, their movements, their gestures.
MH: What is your connection between yoga, art, and design?
CK: I'm in love with art, artists, and creation. Art is the self, desiring to be seen. I tried for many years to make art but I finally hit a wall. I was so out of touch. I think deep down I wanted to express myself and kind of gave up on myself. When I started practicing yoga, I thought it was funny that the word "practice" is a term that artists use too. I was in a really dark place a few years ago, so that's been one of the things I hung on to—that word practice. I've been practicing, in a committed way, for the past few years. I still play the skeptic but yoga is the only thing I've ever stuck with for this long. I finally did a 200-hour yoga teacher training in 2016 and in that time I decided to go back to school for design. So then it blew my mind when I got to school and the design philosophy there ran parallel to everything I was learning in my yoga training. Both places were where I had to dig really deep. Teacher training gave me a leg up, it prepared me. Being vulnerable is tough, but that's sort of what this is all about. It's like all I want to do is get closer to that place, that bare raw state that is so hard to maintain. It helps with empathy, which is really key to design. Because better design is done with the intention for the well-being of others.