The OG – Interview w/ Street Artist & Curator: ReviseCMWMatthew Moore
In between a schedule that would make most feel overwhelmed, Artist Replete was able to sit down with a very unique artist. We are using the word “artist” in a general form for this interview. This is because Won Kim aka ReviseCMW doesn’t stop creating. Won is a creator in various ways; from the menu at Kimski (as the Head Chef) to Djing weekly events, all while squeezing in time to paint when he can, the list goes on. Surprisingly, through it all he’s able to give each outlet full attention when the time calls.
When or better yet how, did this fast paced lifestyle of constant creation form? What makes some of the most respected Chicago street artists follow his lead? Artists like Max Sansing have been known to collaborate with Revise on a semi-regular basis. He has even helped other artists such as, Rawooh advance in their careers. In an era where many seem to just look out for themselves, this is a guy who looks out for any artist he believes in without ever asking for anything in return.
His voyage started just over two decades ago in the notorious graffiti crew, Chicago’s Most Wanted, more commonly known as ‘CMW’ throughout public spaces within Chicago. ‘CMW’ is a crew known for daring tag displays in areas where many other artists won’t venture. Most major windy city expressways were hit at one time or another by this crew. What many fail to realize is behind the graffiti are artists with relentless devotion. Some of which become major stars in the art world. During this stage however, the vast majority are overlooked as nothing more than just vandals with a niche audience.
“Back in those times it was all or nothing. Even though I’ve always been afraid of heights, I still pushed forward. It’s funny, I guess you could say I matured a lot from doing immature things. Yes, it’s illegal but this is a part of who am and we aren’t hurting anyone.”
As the years progressed, the tag ReviseCMW evolved into a cross between graffiti and abstract art. In an almost subconscious-like effort, the once labeled graffiti vandal began to be looked at differently. The consistent experimentation (note the name “revise”) within his craft created an abstract painter. One who happens to favor the use of a spray paint can over a traditional brush.
To make ends meat, Won cooked during the day, which evolved right alongside his artwork. This fused the way for many restaurants throughout the city of Chicago to request art by Revise in their interior. He even managed to create a new atmosphere for Schwa (seen above), an internationally ranked michelin star restaurant. Diners ironically now pay top dollar to eat next to artwork that evolved illegally.
“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized there is a cultural disconnect between creative fields. Some people will pay five hundred dollars for a dinner that lasts only a few hours. Yet, some of these same people are hesitant to spend that amount on artwork that would last a lifetime. Possibly even go up in value. I can only hope that both worlds learn to understand each other better as time goes on.”