What’s going on, introduce yourself
Hello everyone, I go by Chef Won Kim or Revise CMW. Born in Chicago, lived in many different neighborhoods growing up. I’m an artist and now I operate a restaurant in the Southside (Bridgeport) called Kimski.
Explain the meaning behind the name Revise. How hard was it spelling that out when you first were getting into graffiti?
In High School I was terrible at writing papers. In my English class, my teacher kept writing revise on each paper I would turn in. Due to seeing the word often, I thought it would be a cool name to have. Unfortunately, I wasn’t thinking logistically in terms of making this my graffiti name. Many kids would use 3-4 letter names, I was thinking ahead, in terms of creating a name that I had liked the sound of, yet also had a vision how I was going to create each piece.
Why did you decide to get involved with art?
Honestly, growing up, I was always surrounded by it. In the 8th grade is when I’d say I really began to take it more seriously. At the time my locker partner was into art and always drawing names in our locker. From there, I decided to take upon myself to do my research and learn. I had to go out, read books, and pick up magazines. I’m glad I was able to come up in an era Pre-internet; I really had to get outside my house to learn everything. I would go out and pick up these graffiti magazines, which were Chicago issued. I would love seeing all the art in the magazines. The best parts about the magazines were that they actually put the street corner in the caption below the photo. I then would go out and find these pieces throughout the city. For me, art became an obsession, a habit, it was something I just truly loved doing.
Was graffiti the first medium of art you got involved with?
Creative wise, I’d say graffiti was the first medium.
Where did you get the inspiration to create your very technical wild style lettering?
I got a lot of inspiration from Wildstyle and Style Wars. I was taking the buses and trains downtown and seeing all the different styles of graffiti. I began to get a good sense on how they were organizing and executing their artwork. Visualizing other people’s style and artwork really helped me to create my own style. Early on, when I first began I was seeing other peoples work and mimicking it in a way. Once I started getting better and better I realized I wanted to create a style that nobody else had.
Throughout your journey of nights painting, what was one of your favorite moments and what was one of the scariest moments?
Haha, man, there were so many fun nights, I can’t even just pick one singular night. I’d have to say the nights that were the best were when we had the satisfaction of doing multiple things. We would start catching tags around the neighborhoods, from there we would go paint freights, then we would go do a line spot, and then on our way back home we would still be catching more tags. One of the scariest moments, man, I’ll never forget this night. We decided we were going to go downtown in the loop to do a mission. We went to hit up this parking garage. We finished and we had to come back down on a rope. Lets just say, I was always terrible at climbing things. Coming down this rope, I kept slipping and shredding my hands. Mando and Indie were waiting for me to come down. I’ll never forget, I told them to just leave me; I had no idea how I was going to get back down. 30 minutes later, these dudes came back with a ladder for me to get back down. Haha, it was amazing. I remember having to splash alcohol on my hands because they were so disinfected. I also had another crazy night, I remember we were doing a roof spot, and the cops came, I jumped off of the roof, twisted my ankle, and kept running while the cops were chasing us. I’m just glad I never got caught for doing the bigger pieces.
Would you agree that art is a visual representation of the way the world appears to an individual?
I’d say, yes and no. I think there are different strokes for different folks. I sometimes think that we get caught up in there having to be a meaning behind each piece of art we create. Obviously some people create with the intentions of a deeper meaning, but some just create very visually appealing artwork with no meaning.
From where does your creativity and artwork stem from? (emotions, personal encounters, etc)
Honestly, it probably stems from insecurity. Any desire to do graffiti and be noticed, there has to be a level of insecurity. I’d also have to say my style comes from what surrounds me in all aspects.
Do you feel artists get the credit they deserve? Or do you feel like artists are still in some ways under appreciated?
It depends. There are going to be some artists who get the right management and backing and commission pieces, yet aren’t the best artists. Then, there are going to be some good hard-working artists, who aren’t getting the same shine those artists with the management deals are. Unfortunately, that’s just how things go. The Internet did good and bad things to creative people.
You recently partook in the opening of a new restaurant in Bridgeport Kimski. What kind of food are you guys cooking?
We just opened the restaurant about a month ago. Kimski Is a Korean/Polish restaurant. It’s a snack stand, or a counter service. We have the mindset of an upper scale restaurant. Everything is made in house and from scratch.
When did you first get into cooking?
Food was something I was always passionate about. Growing up, I was always helping my mom cook meals. I had also gone to culinary school and obtained a certificate.
In 2005 you had your first gallery show. January 23rd 2016, you had your first show in a decade. In those years, what was one of the biggest life lessons you learned?
Throughout the years I had a ton of failed jobs and opportunities from a lot of people I thought had supported me. After that, I decided to take a step back from things. Once I stepped back, I began to learn a lot of things. I learned to always be patient. Success doesn’t come overnight; it comes from the hard work you put in. Always keep moving in life never stop. Through failed business relationships I’ve learned to not trust people as much and how to weed out the flakey people in my life. 2016, I’m now finally getting back into a comfortable position. I’m getting back into doing more murals, and I have had some great clients. One thing I encourage everyone to do is challenge yourself. Never be satisfied always look for more. Last thing, anything is possible if you organize your time and schedule properly.
Written By: Nicholas Rud