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Meet Jiwon Kang of Kanzi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jiwon Kang.

Jiwon, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Since I was young, I wanted to express myself in various ways – unique and creative ways. Thus, I was able to focus on that I wanted to do since fifteen years old. I enjoyed skateboarding and taking pictures, doing only the things I wanted to do, but my parents respected my choices and supported it. Thus, ‘Art’ for me was equivalent to ‘playing’. At the age of twenty, I encountered dance while my mind had no boundaries set for artistic activity. I graduated as a valedictorian from the college of arts majoring in what’s so-called ‘practical dance’, which is equivalent to street dance.

After college, I worked as a dancer, shooting M/V and commercials, it developed my interested in Video. I worked at various shooting sites. I learned knowledge and know-how of Video while working on the site. It was not an easy path, nevertheless, I was fortunate to work with good people who helped me to learn quickly and precisely. During the week, I taught at local dance studios, and on weekends, I worked as a CG director. As a dance teacher, I helped many students to get accepted to good schools. And as a director, I began to work with famous celebrities. I take steps to move forward. Now, I can express what I want through both mediums – dance and video.

I’d like to say that I AM DOING what I want to do through certain kinds of occupation. I always dreamed of expressing myself in a various way, but it wasn’t a fixed form of occupation. I think that’s the point.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Of course, it wasn’t smooth! Because I got to the position where I wanted to be much faster than other peers. This may sound pretentious, but early success among my group was a big problem for me. I thought I wasted my teenage day playing around, thus I wanted to compensate those hours by working hard in my twenties, wanting to achieve faster than anyone else. As a result, I was under great pressure for most of the process. I did enjoy the process of hard work, however, I went through a lot of pressure and stress. I was anxious even to spend time with my friends because I thought it was waste of time. I sometimes talk about my early twenties with my friends. My friends say they want to so back, but I say ‘absolute no!’ to this. Who’d want to go back to the gloomy age of pressure. The biggest advice I have is “It is never late to take an action after you’ve embrace your feelings”. There’s advantages to reach the goal quicker, yet I do think about it time to time what if I could have slowed down and take time to enjoy the process. Now I’m trying to balance my life. It is not easy but I’m not gonna make the same mistake again.

I think this question really asks me to reveal the raw materials in my creative process. But what’s visible or tangible is just a medium to express my beliefs. For example, I make my dream as a child to express myself in various ways through the work I do now. Thus, direct obstacles didn’t bother me much. If I can’t make it with this career, I probably have found other ways to achieve my childhood dream. Once I changed my way of thinking like this, all the external struggles became frivolous. This perspective reveals me to confront that the biggest obstacle is myself. Thus, the answer I have there may not be direct, but closest to my essence.

Please tell us about KANZI.
Currently, I’m working as a freelancer. On weekends, I work as a dancer, doing regular shows. I also work as an affiliated creator for a company. During the week, I work as a CG Director. I receive a sponsorship from a fashion brand. I dance and make ‘viral advertisement’ for promotion. Sometimes, I shoot other dancers as a director’s point of view. Being a dancer myself helps me to understand the movement of dancers. I can use this knowledge to capture perfect shots for shooting. Thus, it is one of my strengths as a director. In reverse, because I understand video, it helps me to choreograph movements as a dancer. All these projects are managed under the name of my brand ‘KANZI’, keeping one on one contracts and business relationships with other bodies. This independence is the part that I am very proud of. Rather than being a part of a big company, all the professional relationships are direct: ‘KANZI’ and other company or ‘KANZI’ and other individuals.

I think being me is a big factor that distinguishes me from others. When I was young, I wanted to unique and I thought a lot about how to be different from others. But nowadays, I rather think about ‘how to be myself’. This thought is the root of what differentiates myself from others. I am known as CG Director and Dancer ‘KANZI’. Sometimes when I have meetings with company managers, they seem to be interested in the person ‘Jiwon Kang’, though for me ‘Jiwon Kang’ and ‘KANZI’ are not a separate identity. In the present moment, this ‘KANZI’ is keep working one what she wants to achieve.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
First, I give credits to Jesus. Probably I’m serving the picture he has drawn out for me. Second, it is my parents. I’m always thankful for my parents and they are the most precious being in my life. Third, it is my teachers and colleagues who give critical and practical advice and also support me mentally. If not with their help, I won’t make it up to this point. I have gotten a lot of help from many people. Even for this interview, I wouldn’t be able to communicate in details without help of oh-kyung’s translation. I appreciate it.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
@iamkanzi, @JustRandomFilms, @photoby_q

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