Art School


Painting A Future for Wildlife with Jane Kim and Ink Dwell

Jane Kim has painted hundreds of species of animals as a scientific illustrator. In this episode of Art School, take a trip to the California Academy of Sciences with Jane Kim as she draws inspiration from their collection and talks about an early obsession with teddy bears that led her to a life of using art to give the natural world a stronger voice.

AIRED: February 23, 2016 | 0:03:56


[ Water bubbling ]

[ Birds screeching, chirping ]


Kim: My name is Jane Kim,

and I am an artist, a science illustrator,

and the founder of Ink Dwell, a studio that inspires people

to love and protect the earth, one work of art at a time.

[ Mid-tempo music plays ]


So, I had a lot of obsessions when I was a little girl.

Flowers -- I had an obsession with lilies

at one point -- and horses and fish,

but one of, I think, the most serious ones

that I had was with teddy bears.

All of the obsessions played out in the same way

in that I'd want to re-create the subject

in either a painting or a sculpture

or making them as a stuffed animal.

It was really the way

that I was able to connect with that particular species.

[ Soft music plays ]

So, I started as a fine artist,

and I think science illustration and science in general

actually gave me the why.

I found the purpose to attach my work to.

Some of my biggest heroes in the art world

are science illustrators, also.

Francis Lee Jaques --

He did some of the world's most phenomenal dioramas.

Audubon was an incredible naturalist and artist.

Margaret Mee -- She's a botanical illustrator.

She was an explorer,

so I think that what it takes to be a science illustrator

is also hugely influential for me.

The natural world is pretty perfect

the way that it is

and functions beautifully and harmoniously.

And when you are working

to reach that level of beauty and perfection,

you will find

that the more information that you know about something,

the better you're able to portray it.

And then, when you do make stylistic deviations,

you can do so in a way

that amplifies the existing integrity

of its structure or of its behavior.

The more you know about it,

the more room you have as an artist

to actually put your flair on it.

[ Soft music plays ]

My hope is to connect people to their immediate environment

when they're looking at the work.

I have a series of murals

that's called the Migrating Mural

in the Eastern Sierra on Highway 395,

and it is a series of six murals

that follows the migration corridor

of Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep.

And so each mural

correlates with the herd unit in real time.

So, as you're seeing this, you're in their habitat.


I love that science illustration

is about accurately depicting information.

I love that fine art has a sort of visceral component to it,

and I really enjoy installation work

because it's physical.

So, all of these things, I think, are areas

that I draw from

because I think it helps create a more powerful,

[ Mid-tempo music plays ]


Oh, my gosh! A narwhal tusk!




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