An Artist's Heart for Justice: Interview with Kim Booi
From a thriving dance career to selling beautiful paintings on the west coast, Alberta native Kim Booi is a true artist with an insatiable passion for justice. Through her fine art and jewelry business, Creative Hope, Kim hopes to support IJM Canada in the fight to end human trafficking. Read her interview below.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Kim and I’m married to my husband Doug. We live close to Vancouver, on the west coast. I was born and raised in Alberta, in a very small town close to Calgary. I grew up dancing competitively, so besides school I guess that’s what my whole life was like at that time. Ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, highland. I think I danced almost 18 years. Ballet was my favourite.
I also taught dancing – to children through adults until I was about 24. I worked as a physiotherapy assistant as well until I moved to Golden, British Columbia to marry my husband. His job transferred us to the west coast, and that is where we are currently.
How long have you been painting/what got you started?
I started painting in regular art classes in junior high, but I actually hated art class. My friend would do some of my projects for me. It’s funny how things work out. But one day I kind of just fell into it, and then it became a passion from that point on.
After high school I took a year off and I was hoping to go into the fine art program the following year. Once I started my first year, I dropped out half a semester in. After that, life was a bit crazy; I never really painted that much until I was about 29, so it was about 10 years of not really painting at all. I would randomly buy art supplies and do one painting and then I would not paint again for a couple of years. It was still in the back of my mind, I just wasn’t consistent with it.
After I moved to Golden with my husband, I was waiting for a wrist surgery on my dominant hand. At that point it really pushed me to paint and I realized that it was still a passion. But then I was also fearful of not being able to use my hand again – It was kind of a weird moment. The surgery was successful for the most part and once we moved to the west coast I started Creative Hope Fine Art.
So I’ve been painting on-and–off since junior high and more consistently for the last 3 years.
Can you tell us about Creative Hope Gallery, your artwork, and your creative process?
I started Creative Hope Fine Art as a way to share my artwork and hopefully bring a positive real look into my passion. I also feel God put it on my heart to use Creative Hope for a way to help others. Hope is my middle name but also has so many meanings within it.
At this point, I love painting anything that represents the ocean or water. If you look at my website, you can see I love painting turtles, boats, really anything using aqua or turquoise. Outside of that, I am very inspired by nature, textures and bright colours. If you see a beautiful sunset with intense colours... I love that. I usually just start a painting and just see where it goes. I don’t always have a particular subject in mind. I just go with the flow and see what happens.
Recently I’ve been doing a lot of commissions mostly portraits and animals. However I really enjoy painting anything, it challenges me and is something new every time. I’m easily distracted, so can have many paintings and projects on the go at one time.
And you’re doing jewelry as well now?
Yes, I really enjoy painting the tiny pendants. They are fun and I love the uniqueness in each one. I can experiment with new colours that I can incorporate into larger art work. I like extremes as I am currently working on a 4 foot by 4 foot painting at the same time these tiny necklace pendants.
How are you using your talents/work for good?
I’ve always had a passion for justice and compassion for people who are going through injustice. I’ve always wanted to do something about it—I just didn’t know what to do. God has given me this fierce compassion and I had to step up. I felt I could use Creative Hope to help somehow. I really felt strongly in my heart to keep going with my business because there were days I have wanted to quit.
In terms of IJM, I saw Gary Haugen on YouTube when he was speaking at a church in Calgary –I felt really strongly about the organization and wanted to help. When I started my business, it made sense to support IJM and to bring awareness through Creative Hope.
What led to your passion for issues of injustice?
I’ve always had a passion for this. I hate bullying and abuse and neglect and addiction—especially when it affects children. In my 20’s, I attended a few seminars about human trafficking. I have always wanted and felt led to do something about it. I just breaks my heart. I want to be an advocate for those who are sexually exploited and abused. I don’t know what that looks like for this business, but helping financially or bringing awareness, then that’s what I need to do.
Do you have any role models?
No one in particular. I really look up to people who have been through a lot; learned from it and can help others with it. People who did not allow the situation to defeat them.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My labradoodle does! [Laughs] She wakes us up at 7:30 every morning so she can eat. Her name is Ellie, she’s crazy. She’ll be 3 in October. Other than that, my husband and I both share the same sense of adventure. We love the outdoors and go on road trips. I think that gets us really excited to get up in the morning and get outside and explore.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years?
That’s a hard question. The last time I actually thought of it was years ago. I said to myself, "I’m going to be married and have two kids before I’m 25.” I didn’t get married until I was 30 and I still don’t have kids. However the kids thing still remains— I hope to be a mom. My husband and I would really like to adopt.
Within my business, I hope that my confidence and skills become stronger. I’m not a huge social media fan and I like to stay in my own cave so I think I need to get out more and share my passions. I would love to do more travelling. I think God can use me for his will. In my passions, for helping people, or whatever that may be. I don’t think I can guess what my life will be like in 5 years but I am looking forward to seeing what happens.
How can our readers purchase your art?
There’s a few ways – #1 would be the website: www.creativehopegallery.com. I have a gallery, art for sale, my past works and even a blog. I have a contact tab, so they can send me a message.
#2 would be my Instagram:@creativehope_acrylicpainting. I share in-progress paintings, completed paintings, other projects that I’m working on, and photography. Once again, just send a message on Instagram or there’s a link to my website .
I also have an email where I can be contacted at any time: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you ship across Canada?
Yes and smaller items to the USA.
Do you have any advice for other creative types who may wish to fundraise for a cause they care about?
Just to go for it. I’m still figuring things out myself. I think about doing something but do not jump at the opportunity so I will take my own advice. If it is on your heart you should do it.
What do you bring with you everywhere you go?
I bring my cell phone everywhere. It’s not just for the phone but so I can take pictures. I have an obsession – it’s awful. I take thousands of pictures but I also use them as reference photos for paintings. It works out, but it is a problem. [My phone] is so slow because I have so many pictures on it. Then I have my camera on top of that. I want to capture everything and when there is a perfect moment I want to save it.
When you just have this perfect moment, you just want to save it. I might look at a picture later and it might not mean anything, but in the moment, I think, "Oh, I love this!”
Who would be the best person to be stuck in an elevator with?
That would be my husband Doug. He is the handiest guy you’ll meet. He’d probably just rig something together to help us escape. Otherwise if we were just stuck there, he would just make me laugh. He’s hilarious.
Any final thoughts you would like to share with our readers?
I have a scripture passage that obviously is well known to all of you at IJM Canada, but I think I would like to share that. "Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
This article is part of a series featuring the amazing individuals who offer their time and talents to fundraise for us. Inspired? Get started with your fundraiser at IJM.ca/fundraise.