Thomas Kong (January 16, 1950 - May 1, 2023) was an artist working in collage and assemblage, using advertising, packaging and other surplus material from his convenience store, Kim's Corner Food, located in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.

In the 17 years that Kong operated Kim's Corner Food, the store featured an evolving installation of his work, and was open to customers and visitors 7 days a week.

The Back Room, an experimental project space in the store's former stock room, operated from October 2015 – March 2019.

Obituaries and tributes

Nicky Ni, "Community Members Remember Thomas Kong". Sixty Inches From Center, July 2023

Chris Reeves, "All in One Stop! Remembering Thomas Kong". Newcity, May 2023

Claire Voon, "Thomas Kong, who transformed a Chicago convenience store into an art environment, has died". The Art Newspaper, May 2023

Kayleigh Padar, "Thomas Kong, Korean Immigrant Who Turned Rogers Park Convenience Store Into Art Gallery, Dies At 73". Block Club Chicago, May 2023

Christopher Borrelli, "Thomas Kong, convenience store owner and Chicago cult artist, dies at 73". Chicago Tribune, May 2023

"Grocery-Store Collage Artist, Thomas Kong: 1950–2023". Art Asia Pacific, May 2023

Other press

Nicky Ni, "Thank you and be happy". Chicago Reader, Dec 2022

Claire Voon, "Meet the Owner of Kim’s Corner Food, a Chicago Grocery Stocked with Collages". Borderless Magazine, Sep 2021

Kerry Cardoza, "Art 50 2020: Chicago’s Artists’ Artists". Newcity, Sep 2020

"September Art Picks". Sixty Inches From Center, Aug 2020

Kerry Cardoza, "Fall Arts Preview 2020: Can’t-Miss Fall Art Events". Newcity, Sep 2020

Kerry Cardoza, "In Chicago, Artist-Run Spaces Remain the Lifeblood of the Art Community". Artsy, March 2020

Alexis Wilkinson, "Counterpublic 2019, Organized by The Luminary". Art Papers, Fall 2019

Rahel Aima, "Counter Culture". Artforum, Jul 2019

Osman Can Yerebakan, "St Louis’s Counterpublic triennial tests the limits of local engagement". The Art Newspaper, Jul 2019

Esther Neff, "Art Worldings at Play: “COUNTERPUBLIC” Triennial of Public Art – St. Louis, MO". Cultbytes, Jun 2019

Akira Kuroki, "コンビニ丸ごとアートにしちゃった。シカゴのDIYおじいちゃん、トーマスさんに会ってきた". Ginza Magazine, Nov 2018 (in Japanese)

Meha Ahmad and Tony Sarabia (interviewing Jessica Mlinaric), "Beyond The Bean: Your Top Chicago Spring Break Recs". Morning Shift on WBEZ, March 2018

Lori Waxman, "The year in visual art was a dizzying reflection of today". Chicago Tribune, Dec 2017

Chris Reeves, 'Mark Art, Be Happy: Radical Artistic Collaboration in Rogers Park', Newcity, July 2017

Annette LePique, 'Ruby T “TENSES” at The Back Room at Kim’s Corner Food', Chicago Artist Writers, June 2017

Margaret Carrigan, 'Exploring Evangelism: Jenn Smith’s “Name in Vain” at Chicago’s The Back Room', Blouin Artinfo, January 2017

Danny Olda, 'Thomas Kong at Coco Hunday', Temporary Art Review, May 2016

Anna Foran, 'How a Bodega Became a Sprawling Site for Collage', Hyperallergic, April 2016

Elliot Reichert, 'Eye Exam: Making Space for Art', Newcity, February 2016

Kate Sierzputowski, 'A north-side bodega has become a gallery of food-packaging collages', The Reader, August 2015