This year's Fabric8 Contest is well under way, and our community has chosen the 8 finalists who will have a shot at signing with Moda Fabrics to release a beautiful, botanical collection! As finalists work on completing collections based around their winning designs, we're getting to know the top 8 a bit better in a series of interviews with each of our finalists! First up we have Catalina Kim, the designer behind the oh so lush and colorful Botanical Dreamscape entry.
I'm from Seoul, Korea, born here and living here at the moment. Fortunately, I had the opportunity of spending my childhood years in Central and South America, attending international schools, so my English is good. While living in a tropical climate, surrounded by rain forests, the wild Amazon, and the beautiful Caribbean, I have been able to experience natural diversely since I was little. These wonderful experiences have had an influence on me and my designs to this day, and I'll always be thankful for that. I enjoy creating designs that are colorful and related to nature, and I believe that originates from my experiences. I love 'colorfulness' and exuberant hues, but at the same time my favorite color is 'white,' a simple color, so it's kind of ironic. I love the pure feeling of white, and the fact that it can blend nicely with any other color. Moreover, stars appear white in the night sky, and I love stars! Speaking of stars, my horoscope sign is Scorpio, and Scorpios tend to be mysterious, so I'm briefly introducing myself here, though there's a lot more I'd like to share. 😉
A bridge in Seoul close to Catalina's neighborhood.
How did you get started in design? Is this your full-time gig?
At first my major was medical science, but later on I decided to change my path and enter the world of design because I wanted to follow my heart. Though it took quite some time to realize, now I know without a doubt that design is my absolute passion in life. I've always loved the world of art, and I was into drawing, painting, crafts since I was young. I have a degree in fashion design, but my true passion is pattern design, so I've worked in fabric-related companies to demonstrate my talent in this area. I'm continuously trying to develop my own style as a designer, and I'll be focusing on this field for as long as I live. I love to design and create. I'm constantly intrigued by the amazing world of colors and shapes. The fact that there are endless ways to express your idea by combining colors and figures is just fascinating. I feel super joyful when a beautiful design is done, so I'll keep on designing!
What inspired your Fabric8 design?
I wanted to express the lushness of the garden, the harmonious plants and flowers, which is a marvelous aspect of nature. There are many big botanical gardens on the edges of Seoul, and I enjoy visiting them during spring and summer. One of them is Jade Garden, a place full of diverse plants and flowers, where it's wonderful to take a walk around. I remember visiting this place and being inspired by the beauty of the garden. In this contest, I was drawn to depict a place of botanical wonder in my design, inspired by the beautiful memory of the garden.
What has been the biggest help in promoting your work?
Until now I haven't been that active in promoting my work to the public, but from now on I'm planning to actively do so as an independent designer. Actually at this point of my life, I'm looking for ways to promote my works to the world in an effective way. I'm excited to be participating in this contest, because it's a way of promoting my work to the public. As one of the finalists, I'm very grateful and happy to know that many people like my design. It's thrilling! I'll be continuously making efforts to develop impressive designs, because I believe that a good design speaks for itself, and that it will always eventually be recognized by the people someday.
What is your best advice for fellow designers?
I'd say, "Stick to what you like." In my case, I do what's fun and what feels good for me, focus on it completely, and consequently get a satisfying result. When you do what you like there's no giving up, and I love that great feeling of completion when a good work is done. In addition, you're able to create your own unique style, because everyone has their own different 'likes.'
What inspires you now?
I feel like I'm always surrounded by so many inspirations. Even music fills me up with so many ideas all the time. As a designer, I constantly try to capture beauty in everything I see, even in the littlest or weirdest things. But most of all, nature's wonder has been the best inspiration for me. It just makes me happy and makes me want to draw and design. Flowers, trees, bushes, berries, birds, bunnies, etc.! I feel lucky to be living on Earth. Nature inspires me every day. I'm glad that the theme for this contest is 'botanical sketchbook,' because the flora is always inspirational to me.
Illustrator or Photoshop?
I'm quite experienced in both, but Illustrator seems more helpful when shaping up my idea for patterns. I'm very fond of using Illustrator. It's fun! I could focus on developing my designs for hours and hours with the help of this very useful program.
Cats or dogs?
Though my name is 'Cat'alina, I like dogs. Puppies are absolutely cute, and I love cute!
Stripes or Polka Dots?
Polka Dots! Circled shapes, especially dots, have a funny way of catching people's attention. I enjoy using dots in my designs.