Meet our Judges
As a former gallery owner, professional photographer, newspaper reporter, watercolor instructor, graphic artist, and currently Curator of Exhibitions at the Museum of Florida Art in DeLand, there’s not much about art that artist and curator David Fithian hasn’t seen or extensively experienced. Armed with a Certificate in Painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, he was named Graphic Arts Department Chairman at Philadelphia’s Drexel University in 1974. His inherent love of small town America, however, eventually led back to his birthplace and a three-year stint as photographer/writer with the Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Times Echo, after which he relocated to Orlando and began a successful career as a successful fine art and commercial photographer. But his love of small town life again beckoned, and in 2000, he opened Fithian Studios Fine Art Gallery in DeLand. In 2001, Mr. Fithian accepted the curatorial position at the DeLand museum, where he remains.
As Curator of Exhibitions, Mr. Fithian’s vision and expertise are incomparable. When hanging or installing a show, his sense of rhythm, flow, drama, and placement of artwork is impeccable. His thinking transcends his own artwork as a painter; there is a natural flow of color and of shape and intensity. His oil paintings, begun in earnest in 2005 and created in an old saw mill that is now his studio, are large in format and awash in bold, primary colors. In stating that a “life of art is a never ending quest beyond the horizon,” he continues to study, to discover, and to expand his thinking, all the while seeking “an ever receding perfection that is always evolving.” Mr. Fithian resides in DeLand with two cats, many aquarium fish, and an outside Koi pond. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, bicycling, and body board surfing.
Jinsong Kim’s story is certainly one of great inspiration. He grew up in South Korea after the war, when times were challenging to say the least. There was no electricity in the countryside, and no radio or TV. What Mr. Kim did have from an early age, however, was a dream to be an artist. He persevered, and in 1984 graduated from
Hon-Ik University in Seoul, considered the finest art program in the country, with a specialty in ceramics. After serving his mandatory three years in the Korean army, and then working as a designer in one of the largest and most well known Korean ceramic factories, he immigrated to Connecticut, where he was appointed Assistant to the Ceramics Professor at Central Connecticut University, all the while pursuing and developing his own distinctive style of throwing and carving. In the period 1989-1995, and after relocating to Pittsburgh, his reputation and skill as an accomplished workshop instructor preceded him, and as he continued to hone and refine his unmistakable style and technique, he continued to teach sold-out workshops throughout the region.
Mr. Kim’s work, at once elegant and masterful, is based on the ancient ying/yang theory he has studied since childhood. Stating “all these energies create a certain life or force when they communicate with each other,” he goes on to say that “my true satisfaction did not come from the outside world, but from within my own heart of what life and knowledge has to offer.” He has been known to destroy thousands of his own works in his pursuit of perfection and in his effort to never cease learning. Never arrogant and always honest with himself and others, he continues to pursue his life-long dream. Mr. Kim resides in Mims, Florida, with wife Carol, herself an accomplished ceramicist.