Valerie Yong Ock Kim grew up in rural Kahalu`u on the Hawaiian island of O`ahu. Her second generation islander parents were children of Okinawan and Korean immigrants to Hawai`i. Pursuing work with a wide spectrum of the arts over the years, she has produced slide shows and small films, always coming back to the still image.
She has exhibited solo and been included in juried exhibits across the US, including Hawai`i, California, Rhode Island and France. Her series “Light Speed Matter, A Still Place Waiting” was the solo exhibition chosen for the Hui No`eau Visual Arts Center 2012 Show on Maui. The show included a seven-minute video piece and kiln-fired photographic cast glass pieces.
Valerie worked as a Location Manager Local 399 on feature films out of Los Angeles and across the United States for twenty years. She worked with Oscar-winning Directors Ang Lee and Julie Taymor, and on Gore Verbinski’s Pirates of the Caribbean series. Handling the demands of powerful creatives and large-scale projects, Valerie supported her independent artistic vision. Her filmography is listed on IMDB.com.
Among the documentary films she worked on, Valerie was Writer-Director on “Waging Peace,” a 25 minute live-action film about Soviet and American children who, struggling against situation and prejudice, become staunch friends at the end of the Cold War in the 1980s. She holds a BA in psychology and a master's degree in public health from the University of Hawai`i. During her career in the field of mental health, she used the still image for therapeutic slide shows and for efforts to support non-profit enterprises.
Valerie is a member of ASMP LA (American Society of Media Photographers). She is represented by Photo Resource Hawai`i and The Fine Art Associates, Inc. in Hawai`i, Appleton Art Design in Connecticut, and Art For Film in New York.
Valerie spent the last decade caring for her film editor husband who passed away from complications due to Alzheimer’s Disease. This experience has deeply influenced this next phase of her work, moving her to write her book Only the Bones.
She now lives in Pa`auilo on Hawai`i Island with her alpha rescue dog Makana Malie.