Grad is passionate about communicating science

Jane Kim’s artwork turns up in unusual places.

The graduate of CSU Monterey Bay’s science illustration program has displayed her art in restaurants, laboratories, the San Francisco dump, and along highways, as well as in the more traditional galleries and museums.

During June, her hand-painted 10-foot section of intricately detailed roses is on display at Rise Above Gallery in Oakland, part of an exhibit called “Roses are Red.” The exhibit explores botanical influences on human culture. Kim’s piece illustrates the flower’s evolution from wild to domesticated plants, which drive a multi-million dollar floral industry.

“For millennia, people have manipulated plants to suit our needs,” Kim told the Discovery Channel’s website. “With this show, we wanted to provide a experience for people to enjoy a natural resource that has evolved side by side with human culture.”

The L.A.-based science illustrator has three drawings now on display in the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale’s shark exhibit. And she’s completing the installation of two giant murals depicting the food chain of a tiger shark in Portland’s Bamboo Sushi, a certified sustainable sushi restaurant.

Her next project is a mural depicting the evolution of birds, a 60-by-20-foot wall that will include more than 300 species, for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. She expects that project will be finished in 2015. See a video about it below.

According to the Discovery Channel story, Kim’s focus changed after a four-month residency at the San Francisco dump. Her work there involved using construction scrap to investigate how walls, and how we adorn them, can lead to destructive environmental processes.

That experience led her to pursue a certificate in science illustration at CSUMB in 2010. After completing the classes, she did an internship at the Cornell lab where she worked on “The Handbook of Bird Biology.”

"The science illustration program was one of the most important decisions of my life," Kim said. "Through the program, I was able to define what sort of purpose art had for me.

"I learned new techniques, refined old ones and left the program feeling very prepared," she said.

Eventually, Kim would like to cross the U.S., Canada and Mexico with her Migrating Murals project, a collection of images painted along migration corridors of endangered species. Through the murals, the transient life of these animals can easily be seen and more importantly, appreciated.

“As an artist and science illustrator, I hope to connect people to animals that have kept our planet in balance for millions of years – the type of lasting connection that will help protect them from disappearing forever,” she says in a video on her website. Read more about the Migrating Murals project in Adventure Journal. Read a National Geographic interview here.

Read the Discovery Channel story here.

Learn about the science illustration program here.

*Roses from Discovery Channel website; photo by Jane Kim Portrait of Kim from National Geographic website*