Kim Le likes to surround herself with cute things — stuffed animals, kawaii, sequins and glitter.
They serve as a balm to her upsets, and they’re what visually inspires her work as an artist, Le says.
Le, 22, was recently named one of three 2021-22 Brandon Fellows by the Greenville Center for Creative Arts. The fellowship program is designed to help fledgling artists develop within the arts community by offering free studio space and mentorships with other artists.
Born and raised in Greenville, Le attended Wade Hampton High School and the Fine Arts Center before graduating from Winthrop University this past spring.
“I’ve always been a maker and a doer. I love to touch things; I love to feel things, and it’s always led me back to art,” she says.
As a multimedia artist, Le says her work revolves around growing up and the vulnerability that comes with cuteness and femininity.
“My art peels back the wallpaper on the hyper-cute personas girls adopt to show a glimpse of the anger, ugliness and despair that festers beneath an adorable facade,” she says.
Most of Le’s work the last few years has been in fibers, installations and performance art.
“An image will appear in my mind that asks to be created so I work with it and think, ‘What’s the best thing to make this out of?’” she says. “Whatever the project calls for, I learn and I do.”
Once she starts creating, there’s “usually very little deviation from the initial idea to how the final project turns out, and then I’ve released the idea out into the world,” Le says.
“My art right now is very much a way of me taking care of myself and helping myself in an art therapy kind of way.”