K-Pod Ep. 13: KangHee Kim (Photographer)



Visual artist KangHee Kim, best known as @tinycactus on Instagram, uses Photoshop to transform images of everyday street scenes and apartment interiors into surreal dreamscapes, all featuring portals into dreamlike worlds. On a visit to KangHee’s home and studio in Queens, Catherine and Juliana learn that the artist’s very distinctive work is directly connected to her status as a DACA recipient, which has prevented her from leaving the U.S. for over a decade. These images of “surreal escapism,” as she refers to them, have since become a form of visual therapy and have been called emblematic of today’s digital aesthetic.  

Follow KangHee Kim: @tinycactus


K-Pod, a production of KoreanAmericanStory.org, is a series dedicated to the stories of Korean Americans in arts and culture. Hosts Catherine Hong and Juliana Sohn talk to artists, writers, designers, directors, musicians, chefs and other creatives about their work, their lives, and how they came to forge their careers.

Follow on Instagram: @kpodpod
Watch on YouTube: youtube.com/koreanamericanstoryorg
Questions or Comments? k-pod@koreanamericanstory.org


Juliana Sohn has photographed portraits, interiors, food, travel, and documentary for New York Times, T Style Magazine, Topic Magazine, Teen Vogue, Vanity Fair and many others. Her personal work highlights the stories of young people. You can follow her on Instagram @juliana_sohn and @anditwasalright. Check out her website at julianasohn.com.


Catherine Hong has worked as an editor at Vogue, Allure, Harper’s Bazaar, Us Weekly, W magazine, and InStyle. These days she’s a freelance writer focusing on design, food and children’s books. You can follow her on instagram @catherinehong100.