Dani Kim (‘25) wins Award of Merit for PTA Reflections Program

  Kim’s artwork features a colorful fleeting bird, freeing itself from the hands of society, surrounded by red and green collage work. (Photo provided by Dani Kim)

Kim’s artwork features a colorful fleeting bird, freeing itself from the hands of society, surrounded by red and green collage work. (Photo provided by Dani Kim)

“Show Your Voice” was the theme for this year’s PTA Reflections contest, a yearly arts and media contest in which students bring out their own unique selves in the form of art. Among the many participants, Amador Valley sophomore Dani Kim (‘25), won the Merit Award for her visual arts piece. 

“It’s like a collage, I drew hands and they were caging the bird and there was a collage of different objects ranging from red to green colors- I went to my art class and I worked on the art piece for several weeks,” said Kim.

Starting from elementary school, Kim has always been an artist, doodling whenever she got the chance, and further enhancing her skills at her art school, SpaceIN Art Studio.

“I didn’t officially draw, I just used to doodle in Elementary School and I took art classes in middle school, around 6th grade but dropped it for a while and just sketched by myself during covid. I’m now back at art school,” said Kim.

Kim’s art school fuels her passion for art, allowing her to not only learn from the teachers there but freely explore and develop her work. Aside from her daily doodles, she practices painting at her art school. 

“ My art class educates me on basic techniques like how to paint, different styles of painting, and also just basic art needs like how to control the pencil. My inspiration comes from my art teacher, she listens to what I think and tries to guide me in the direction that seems right,” said Kim.

Other than her art teacher, Kim’s inspiration comes from Studio Ghibli, an art studio based in Japan known for making numerous successful animated films such as Totoro and Spirited Away. Their films are not only visually appealing but also often convey a larger moral lesson. 

“It ranges from watching films from Studio Ghibli and I thought it was really cool that people could draw and they could get their message out that way,” said Kim. 

Similar to the symbolic messages portrayed in Ghibli films, Kim’s artwork is especially important to her because of the message it conveys. Skillfully crafted in such a way that both her message and artwork come across, Kim speaks to society and individuality through her work. 

“It symbolizes a kind of growing up. You’re coming from a society where other people kind of control you, and take care of you and then you have to go out into the world and discover yourself in a way,” said Kim

Kim’s usual drawing process is extensive, consisting of multiple drafts and then a sketch on her final canvas. While she was initially excited about her drawing, she started to rush closer to the deadline.  

“ I first draft it out on a different piece of paper and think of different ideas, and then after selecting one that seems the best fit, I sketch it out on the real canvas or piece of paper, and then after sketching it out I just go through the process of coloring it,” said Kim. 

Kim’s hard work paid off, and her drawing not only showcases her talent, but also her message to the world. She hopes to continue art going forward, spreading her message through her art. 

“I’m not sure if I’m that talented or anything, but I hope I’ll be able to get better and pursue it in the future,” said Kim.