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Check Out This Rad Bridgeport Graffiti Wall Curated By Kimski's Won Kim

By Ed Komenda | July 11, 2016 7:48am
 Won Kim, the chef behind the popular Kimski's at Maria's, curates a grafitti wall in an alley behind the restaurant. 
Kimski's Wall
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BRIDGEPORT — Working a street food counter in Bridgeport can get a little mundane sometimes.

When it does, Won Kim plans to grab some spray-paint and visit the alley for some emotional nourishment.

The 36-year-old chef behind the neighborhood's new Korean-Polish eatery, Kimski At Maria's, has a talent you might not know about: Graffiti.

Kim, a.k.a. Revise, now has his own wall in the alley behind Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar, 960 W. 31st St., a brick canvas he shares with comrades from graffiti crews all over the country. Kim painted the first one:

Every month, a graffiti artist from Kim's circle will slap a fresh tag on it, transforming a once-empty alley into an art gallery.

"I curate it," Kim said.

The most recent piece comes from yachtlifesocialclub, known for his killer signage pieces and original fonts.


Wildly better shot of this by @celisatexmex

A photo posted by yachtlifesocialclub (@yachtlifesocialclub) on

Kim has already welcomed a handful of acclaimed graffiti artists, like Stuk One:

Jick and Ascend teamed up on this piece:

The wall was a gift from Ed and Mike Marszewski, the brothers who run Maria's.

“Ed had this wall in the alley,” Kim said in an interview at Kimski. “He basically said, ‘Hey, I know you paint. You wanna paint?’ and I said, ‘Yes.’”

For graffiti artists with demanding day jobs, a wall can be a refuge.

“I knew I would be here most of my life from here on out,” Kim said. “I wouldn’t have a lot of opportunities to go paint like I used to.”

A Chicago native by way of Seoul, South Korea, Kim grew up grew up riding the Red Line and admiring the city’s rooftop tags. 

In an interview with Chicago Creatives, Kim documented the high school origin story of his tag, Revise: "In my English class, my teacher kept writing revise on each paper I would turn in," he told the blog. "Due to seeing the word often, I thought it would be a cool name to have..."

He was 15 the first time the cops busted him for graffiti. His canvas? A closed-down Walmart.

“The cops saw right through me and arrested me and acted all crazy threatening to paint me in the holding cell,” he told Lumpen Magazine in an interview. “Don’t think the cops have ever seen graffiti in this area ever and acted all hard picking up a scrawny, smart-a** Asian kid.”

Kim has since painted pieces all over the country as a member of Chicago’s Most Wanted crew. In January, Kim's work was shown at Chicago Truborn.

The graffiti wall at Maria’s is now an opportunity to showcase the work of his friends and idols.

“Reaching out to my friends now, after having done it once, and rotating that wall is kind of like a homage to how creatives work, you know?” Kim said. “We like to change things up every once in a while.”

Kim has a long list of artists he wants to feature on the wall.

“We come from a graffiti background,” Kim said. “All my friends understand that its meant to be done over, but for the two, three weeks that it's up — the month that it’s up — people will enjoy it fully.”

Art is Kim’s therapy. He's grateful his passions for art and food are now orbiting in the same universe.

“When I was doing pop-ups, it was equal balance. When I’d get tired of painting, I would cook, and if I got burnt out in cooking I’d be like, “Oh, I’m going back to painting," Kim said. "Now that I’m cooking a thousand percent, I’m kind of missing the art side... It’s good to know I could literally go to the back and just paint."

Visit the wall next month for a fresh painting. You'll eventually see another piece by Revise.

“I’ve got plenty of friends that paint that are looking for a space to paint,” Kim said. “I will definitely wedge myself in there… I will be selfish. It’s my wall.” 

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