Wonsook Kim was born in 1953 in Busan, Korea. She began drawing at a young age. Some of her earliest influences came from Korean folk stories and Christian Bible stories. She studied traditions of art in high school and college in Korea, arriving in the U.S. as an international student in 1972 to begin a bachelor’s degree program in art at Illinois State University.
She graduated with a B.S. degree in 1975 and continued her studies at Illinois State, earning a Master of Arts degree in 1976 and Master of Fine Arts degree in 1978, with an emphasis in printmaking. After graduation, she moved to New York City to pursue a career as a painter and exhibiting artist.
Kim is renowned for the symbolic narratives reflected in her drawings, prints, paintings, sculptures, and books. Her artworks are the result of her lifetime experiences in Korea and the United States, and have been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts degree to recognize her artistic achievements during Illinois State’s Founders Day on February 21, 2019.