We had the good fortune of connecting with Kim Workman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kim, what are you inspired by?
Travel, and my late husband Ian have been my inspiration, and what feeds my soul to create. I am not that person who derives satisfaction from reading a book or watching a movie for inspiration. I want to travel to exotic places, smell the air, feel the energy of cultures that have existed long before me. The Temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the pyramids of Cairo, Machu Picchu in Peru and the Amazon rain forest are just a few places I’ve traveled that have left me in awe of my surroundings and inspired my creativity. To walk where kings have walked and where the history of mankind began tends to overwhelm you with just how insignificant we are in this vast conglomeration of planets strewn about the universe. To quote the late renowned chef Anthony Bourdain, “Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown,’
My late husband Ian was a marine biologist and responsible for some of these experiences which was a byproduct of his occupation. We traveled the world for work and play and languished in everything that was offered to us with the excitement and enthusiasm of a two year old toddler’s first taste of sugar. It was mind blowing and still is. I have never lost that feeling to this day. Yes I am saying travel to me is the same feeling a two year old feels jacked up on sugar. Doesn’t get much better. If there is an afterlife and I’m betting there is, I will have a first class ticket in my hand and listen for the all aboard call and complete my next travel adventure in to the afterlife. I’m banking on Ian being there to complete the journey together.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a child I discovered I had artistic ability. It just seemed to come out of nowhere. One day I was playing with chalk and crayons, the next I was channeling Van Gogh while still managing to retain my ear. All kidding aside my parents were amazed at this talent that blossomed seemingly overnight.
Although it was encouraged and through my early years in school i won awards for pencil drawings of Lady Godiva on horseback and political statements through art. After all it was the sixties and painting your rendition of Make Love Not War was all the rage. Alas, my art career took a back seat to marriage and as most women did then I settled in to raising a family. Along the way I still painted for charities and friends so I kept my skills somewhat honed. Years went by and many changes in my life would lead to three successful businesses and meeting my true soul mate. I met Ian Workman a marine biologist who would later become my husband and art partner. Ian introduced me to Gyotaku, Japanese for fish rubbing. He printed the fish, I painted them and we made custom frames for each piece. This led to the opening of Kimian’s Art Gallery on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. in the nineties. Our talents combined were a success so we affectionately signed our art as Kimian a combination of our first names. Our tag line was “Two Arts Beating as One.” We were so in sync and that made it a success. Ian retired from NOAA and we sold the gallery then moved to the Florida Keys which was lagnappe for our art and we successfully continued creating art together until his passing in 2009. Although he is no longer with me the influence and skill he taught me has kept me creating and enjoying my successful life as an artist in this beautiful paradise of the Florida Keys.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My friends who visit are usually people who were born near the ocean and of course love to eat fresh seafood. With many choices for both I would start with a trip to Marvin Key. It is one of the most beautiful sandbars in the Florida Keys.
It is perfect for plopping your chair down in the water, having a cold beer and watching the world go by. It is nature at its finest. If you are a little more adventurous we would take a short boat ride out to Looe Key reef. Amazingly beautiful this reef is shallow and protected with depths of two to twenty five feet. The water is gin clear and the fish inhabitants are of so many varieties I call it God’s Aquarium. Snorkeling is easy and the colors and different types of coral will make you feel as though you are in an underwater forest. Species of spotted eagle rays, various sharks, and huge silver king tarpon roam the reef for your viewing pleasure and the small tropical reef fish add all of the colors of the rainbow. It is truly mesmerizing. If you just want to beach comb Bahia Honda State park is a must for found items and just enjoying a leisurely walk along the waters edge.
Now for the epicurean delights that are abundant in the Keys. Breakfast at Blue Heaven on Petronia is a must and a slice of their mile high Key Lime Pie. El Siboney for lunch which is authentic Cuban cuisine and has been around for decades. Happy hour at Alonzo’s Oyster bar for dinner and drinks then on to Mallory Square to watch the street artists perform and celebrate sunset. Eat, drink, repeat until your vacation days near their end and you may be one of those people who came for a week and never left. It is an addicting destination to visit and hard to leave.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost my late husband Ian is solely responsible for my introduction to the art of Gyotaku when translated from Japanese is fish rubbing. Ian has used this method of documenting the dimensions and detail of fish for scientific study in college. With his fish printing experience and my artistic painting ability we combined our skills and our first names and this is how Kimian’s fish rubbings were created. I have since gone on to develop my own unique style but without his introduction this would not have come to fruition. The amount of praise and encouragement from friends and family would rival the size of the Tolstoy novel War and Peace if written, but you all know who you are. The Florida Keys Council of the Arts has been instrumental in moving me forward with their support and help with a large installation in the Key West Airport supporting Art in Public Places project. Special credit to an amazing co-op gallery of artists at Artists in Paradise Gallery in Big Pine Key, So many have come and gone before me since it was established in 1994. I became a member in 2003 and this shows what successful artists working together can accomplish. The Key West Art Center established in the 1930’s as the oldest membership gallery in Key West has supported me and my art since the early 2000’s as well. Last but not least Frank Costin whom I met with what I call a happy accident. He was watching PBS Art Loft a program broadcasting from Miami to his home on the island of Anguilla. So happens I was featured in the segment. He called me and wanted to represent my art in his Savannah Gallery in Anguilla. The rest is history. I have been with Savannah Gallery since 2013 and Frank has been instrumental in moving my work internationally. If I’ve missed anyone it is not intentional. Its probably just jet lag from my last adventure or the thoughts of my next one clouding my brain. Life is a journey, the people you meet on that journey make you who you are.