To Top

Meet Shai Kim of Bento in Glassel Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shai Kim.

Shai, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles. My mother raised me by herself working as an artist and background painter in animation. I was introduced into the world of art at a young age. In high school, I pursued dance and visual arts. From there on, I slowly invested myself in art and developing my interests and craft. After I graduated from an art high school in Downtown Los Angeles. I moved to London, UK attending London College of Fashion for a year, studying Fashion Illustration. The change of environment was beneficial to my personal and creative growth. After a year in London for a year, I had a few realizations to transition my focus creatively. I decided to move back to LA to pursue fine art, graduating from Otis College of Art & Design with a BFA in Fine Arts in 2019. Since graduating, I have been working as a freelance fashion illustrator, designer, and photographer.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’ve had a tumultuous path in my pursuit of the arts. In the beginning, I was conflicted with either pursuing my love for the visual arts or dance. In the end, the pragmatic side of me won in the end, I pursued a path in visual arts, leaving everything I knew behind moving to London, UK. I made new friends and fell in love with the city. However, I didn’t fully take to the University I was attending. I came to the realization while I wanted to pursue a career in fashion. It would not be the conventional path I took. After I moved back to LA to study Fine Arts at Otis College of Art & Design. I faced one of the biggest obstacles that I’ve ever come across throughout my life. I had a literal misstep, I tripped over my skateboard and dropped to the ground destroying my ankle. Dislocating my tibia, snapped my fibula in half, tearing a ligament in my ankle, and rupturing my ankle. Due to my injury, I had to withdraw from Otis right before completing the semester to undergo reconstructive surgery leaving me with a metal ankle. While in physical rehabilitation, I decided to continue my education, starting from scratch all over again at Otis.

Please tell us more about your art.
I am a freelance artist that focuses on Graphic Design, Photography, and Fashion Illustration. With a background in Fine Arts Sculpture and Photography. I specialize in compositing Look Books and Zines. Photographing fashion, portrait, and editorial subjects. As well as cover art and graphic content creation for fashion and music. I do my best to never limit what type of content I create and who I work with. Keeping an open mind and experimenting with different fields has always been a core part of my craft. Being able to learn from my peers and my environment adopting new methods and ideas into my practice.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
A large influence and impact of a driven work ethic have been from my mother. Raising me as a single mother while simultaneously finishing Undergraduate school and obtaining a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts Painting. She was able to pursue her passion for art working as a full-time artist and eventually background painter in animation while simultaneously providing for me and supporting my budding interest in the arts.

While I was in living in London, I made a lot of friends that were influential with my approach to art and expanded my perspective within different fields. One of my friends Rashidi Noah introduced me to fashion photography. He helped me cultivate a personal aesthetic and style within my craft. While also imparting enough of his personal knowledge of photography for me to start exploring and investigating the field for myself. After I transferred to Otis, I had a variety of influential teachers that helped me develop not only my technical skills as an artist but also the way I approached my craft. Another one of my friends and studio mate Andrew Blinka was another strong influence, challenging me conceptually as we bounced back ideas on pieces helping me develop my concepts. I’ve had a lot of peers and mentors that have helped me develop to be the artist I am and currently strive to be.


  • $500 per graphic
  • $250 hourly/$75 per image/$25 per image retouch
  • $750 per fashion illustration

Contact Info:

Suggest a story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in