Behind the Scenes of Our July/August 2022 Cover

By Jane Houseal

Did you see our July/August 2022 20th anniversary cover? It was illustrated by Madison-based artist, Mira Kim, who runs the @hello_madison.jpg account on Instagram, which features her illustrations of all things Madison. (Think: Memorial Union Terrace chairs, the Capitol, Bucky Badger).

When we collaborated with Kim, we expressed the desire for BRAVA’s cover to feature landmarks and items that are distinctly Madison (which is her forté), alongside plenty of women from all walks of life. That’s why you’ll see a woman donning a graduation gown, a woman running a food truck, women holding hands with a pride flag and a woman with a child (among others). We loved the cover and hope you did, too.

Says Kim: “It was an honor to be part of the 20th anniversary cover illustration, and I was very excited to represent all the amazing women living in Madison! BRAVA is about hard-working women, so I tried to capture all different images of women. After that, I added famous landmarks to inspire women to get out and enjoy the community.”

Read on for more about Kim, and her connection to the Madison community.

Could you describe what @hello_madison.jpg is?

I am doing this project because I love Madison. I also want to support the local stores during difficult times (the pandemic) and bring smiles to those who stumble upon my posts. I [actually] started the [account] … when the pandemic started, in 2020.

Why did you choose to include “Madison” when naming the project?

@hello_madison.jpg is all about Madison! It’s not just for those who are currently living here, but also for those who are away and miss Madison. Also, I’m doing this project anonymously, so that the viewer can experience the artwork without any prejudice or preconception.

It sounds like @hello_madison.jpg is a side hustle. What else do you do?

I work at Metro Transit as a graphic designer and photographer.

Are you a Madison native? If not, how did you find your way here?

No, I came from South Korea to study abroad in 2010 and graduated from UW-Madison in 2014, majoring in Art. Madison is my second home.

When did you start doing illustration?

I have loved to draw and paint since I was a kid. I started creating digital illustrations when my husband bought me an iPad for my birthday in 2019.

What other clients have you worked with locally? What has been your favorite project?

I [have] collaborated with Hilldale Shopping Center, Wisconsin Union and Yelp.

A [beer] pitcher illustration [I did] for a Memorial Union illustration contest in 2020 was [even] voted as an overall favorite!

What inspires your illustrations?

Any local events in Madison are an inspiration for my work.

My favorite things to illustrate are the Terrace chairs. It feels great when the colorful Terrace chairs are back out, because it means winter is over! The [Memorial] Union Terrace is [also] my favorite place in Madison, especially in the summer.

What woman inspires you?

I would have to say my mom is my greatest inspiration. Dedication and love for the family always encouraged me to be a better person. I love you, Mom!

We have to ask: Do you have a favorite BRAVA issue or story?

The May/June 2022 issue. Since I’m a new homeowner, it was interesting to read The Home & Garden Issue!

Where can people find your work?

On Instagram (@hello_madison.jpg) or instagram.com/hello_madison.jpg. [People can contact me at] [email protected].

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