Kim's Corner FoodThomas Kong (1950)
1371 W. Estes Ave., Chicago, Illinois, 60626
begun around 2010
Kim's Corner Food is open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm.
About the Artist/Site
Thomas Kong is the artist proprietor of Kim’s Corner Food, a convenience store that serves as art studio, exhibition space, livelihood, and dynamic artist-built environment. Kong makes collages using found materials from nature and his business, all day, every day, while his store is open. His art practice began around the age of 60 as a way to quiet his mind and decorate the shelves of the store, and has transformed his daily life into a constant studio practice within a perpetually changing art environment.
The collages themselves are often sparse, dependent on negative space and restraint of placement. Kong’s collages have been exhibited in Chicago and around the world, and within the context of a white wall, his quiet method of cutting and placing shapes resonates through the visual economy of the collages. Within the context of the store, the individual collages are transformed into a breathtaking maximalist art environment through the absence of empty surfaces, the abundance of collages filling every possible space, and the interweaving of products for sale with collages made from product packaging materials. Shelves, refrigerators, windows, and the entire back room of the store are home to thousands of collages, a dizzying transformation of a functionally transactional space where neighbors step in to buy soda and cigarettes. The openness of the collages and the busyness of the store complement and contradict each other; Kong’s work is fully understood through the context of the store environment.
Kim’s Corner Food is located at 1371 W. Estes in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, and is open seven days a week.
– Robin Hustle, 2022
cut paper collage
I Like This Better Than Just Business
Portrait of artist Thomas Kong and Kim's Corner Food.
Map & Site Information
1371 W. Estes Ave.
Chicago, Illinois, 60626
Latitude/Longitude: 42.0111849 / -87.6657034
East Saint Louis, Illinois