Cholo Interview #4 Won Kim


Won Kim is a chef, disco dancer, organizer for the home brewing community and a sick painter. We met Won while collaborating on the Iron Brew competition and since then have been doing the Art of Beer exhibitions together. You can run into Won rocking walls, hosting dinners and doing demos through his straight job at Whole Foods. And you can drink with him in the flesh at his pop up kitchens, events and beer oriented endeavors.

CHOLO: Tell us about the first time you were busted for writing.
WON: I was in the suburbs and 15 years old. I was carelessly painting a closed down WalMart and acted like I had permission to paint this during the day. The cops saw right through me and arrested me and acted all crazy threatening to paint me in the holding cell. Don’t think the cops have ever seen graffiti in this area ever and acted all hard picking up a scrawny, smart-ass Asian kid.

What happened first, your love of food or your love of painting?
I always loved both, so I don’t think there was an exact moment when I thought I’d like to make a career of them. I just always loved stuffing my face with anything and everything I can eat and write on everything and sometimes doing both at the same time.

How do you combine your culinary and visual art interests?    
I think the discipline is very similar with the amount of dedication and passion needed to succeed. I think the plating and visual aspect of food lends itself well for my artistic side to come through. Always trying to utilize color, textures, and flavors can be seen as one in the same for both art and food.

What made you decide to get into the craft beer scene?  
My love of craft beer started as soon as I could purchase alcohol myself. I also had friends who already started collecting and cellaring beer as long as I could remember. I love the “scene” now because a lot more local beer is being produced and showcased all over the city. I don’t know if I hate anything about the craft beer boom, but I do get annoyed with the exclusivity and hype. It makes people get weird and pretentious about something that used to be accessible; it completely defeats the purpose of beer. 

Who should we want to be cholos with?
Definitely be cholos with your local gangbangers so they don’t fuck with you or your friends. I would also befriend Joey Potts because he makes awesome art and has been killing it with beer labels and tees for 18th street brewery. Jourdon Gullet for the same reason. Abe Conlon because he opened up my new favorite restaurant in the city, Fat Rice. Tony Trimm because he does such a variety of things from making beats, djing for Serengeti (anticon records), doing routines with his friend Hannibal Burress, and collecting fine Scotches.

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