On The Spot: Joohyung Seo


Tender, cloudy and ethereal, they are like dreams or extensive-shed childhood reminiscences. Joohyung Seo’s illustrations merge visual storytelling with impressionist spontaneity to carry out some of the most atmospheric art you’ll come throughout. 

Looking at her mesmerizing operates, it’s tough to think about that Joohyung has formally started off her inventive job only past yr. In this week’s On The Place, the Korean illustrator tells us much more about her path so considerably – and how it all started with robots and pyramids.

Wherever do you are living and what does your studio appear like?

I dwell in a quite fast paced port city in South Korea, but the good thing is my neighborhood occurs to be in the quieter part. My studio is also my property, so the boundary concerning workspace and other “living spaces” is quite blurry. It is a small, humble space with a messy desk, a whole lot of textbooks (50 percent of them comedian books), and tiny souvenirs I gathered from all the destinations I have frequented all-around the world. 

It’s a great very little place exactly where I can concentration incredibly very easily, nonetheless it would be even superior if I could also get a cat as a studio assistant!

How did you turn out to be an artist?

I formally commenced out as a freelance illustrator final 12 months, soon after graduating from school. As a little one, I had a couple of different dream work in brain – a single of them was a scientist (I desired to create robots), and another a single was an archeologist, as I have been fascinated with historical Egypt archeology because I was young.

Having said that, as the many years handed, I realized that what I actually liked carrying out was drawing the robots, and that I was exclusively very interested in the art of historical Egypt. And so I located myself spending a good deal of time drawing and portray, and believed it would be amazing to be able to do this for the relaxation of my lifestyle. But whilst I was making the most of earning art, I was not absolutely sure if I would be capable to make this operate as a job. It took me a although to determine owing to financial concerns.

Now, as you can see, the selection has been made. I just went for it and started off operating as a freelance illustrator. I started out with personal commissions, album covers, symbol layouts, and now I’m also working a print shop.


Do you paint just about every working day? What does your standard working day glance like?

I consider to paint most days of the week, until I’m obtaining wrist soreness. Soon after acquiring what I would argue is a healthful and fair quantity of caffeine in the morning, I comply with the designs I established up the preceding working day. I normally start off the working day by executing swift scientific tests or sketches, and the study topics adjust relying on what I imagine I need to have to boost on, no matter whether that be anatomy, hues, and many others. Then I get started working on any ongoing assignments and just take treatment of my print store orders, which contains functioning to the put up business office on shipping and delivery times. 

When I have more totally free time, I like to commence the day by heading on lengthy walks incredibly early in the early morning, typically for about an hour or an hour and a fifty percent. For most of the day, I draw and paint right up until the time will come to get prepared for bed and prepare out what to do the following day. And the cycle carries on!

You have a exceptional fashion. How did you build it?

My fashion is hugely inspired by the artwork of Georges Seurat. His drawings have a lovely atmospheric quality to them and I did a large amount of experiments of his perform as effectively as is effective motivated by his type. 

I was also closely encouraged by the city wherever my college or university was located. There had been days in the course of wintertime when it would get really foggy at evening, making my environment seem like fuzzy charcoal drawings. I took a ton of shots for reference and use them till this day. 

And right after I graduated from college, I acquired a prospect to vacation to New York Town and spent a ton of time in museums. Day-to-day I would examine oil paintings and pastel drawings incredibly carefully and particularly referenced a ton of impressionist paintings. I observed there have been quite a few delicate colour nuances even in anything that looked like a really tough and easy stroke, and realized there had been not often any flat pure colors in the paintings. There were at minimum just one or two other colors combined in into that one particular stroke, making the full portray have a sort of gorgeous feathery and lively glance. Each time I begin painting I constantly try to recall this and integrate it in my own get the job done. I was also inspired by the search of paints peeling off from old mural paintings as very well as rust – I try to carry that old, worn out, and mysterious good quality to my work. 

Who are the figures you paint?

The two people I normally paint, who shall keep on being unnamed for now, are ideal close friends who have been separated owing to circumstances outside of their regulate. I made the yellow character to be the embodiment of childhood and the other character who is typically painted with a darker coloration (normally purple) represents the changeover into adulthood. 

What are your most important inspirations?

Often it’s publications and motion pictures I loved, other occasions it is the have to have to illustrate inner thoughts I am having a really hard time expressing by way of certain words. A good deal of the time it is what I notice close to me, like the hues of the sky and gentle, as nicely as the environment. 

My largest inventive inspiration is, again, Seurat and his drawings. Some men and women may well have observed I draw a large amount of figures in profile view and that arrives from me looking at Michelle Ocelot’s Prince et Princesses religiously as a kid. I adore the graphic high-quality of his videos and my memories of viewing Prince et Princesses in all probability creep in subconsciously into my do the job.

Knight in Crimson

If you could pick out just one area on Earth to dwell and paint, wherever would it be?

I can’t think of any unique metropolitan areas or even international locations, but I would definitely like to reside in a spot with a cooler weather. I appreciate likely on extended walks as it helps me distinct my thoughts and distract myself from stress and anxiety, but executing that all through scorching and humid Korean summers has been tough for me. As an individual who is not extremely great with warmth, a position with shorter summers would be terrific. The warmth listed here can in some cases be unbearable and I would love to paint outdoors far more.

Do you have any other hobbies moreover art? 

I adore cooking and baking. I discover it pretty therapeutic and meditative, especially when I’m making ready the components (for illustration, reducing veggies into awesome even slices) and looking at their colours improve as they cook dinner. It can help me unwind when I’m having difficulties with my projects, furthermore I conclude up with some fantastic food items to munch on! Besides that, I also delight in looking at and seeing films any time I have free of charge time. 

Rendez Vous

What are your artistic programs for the upcoming?

In terms of initiatives, a little something I constantly preferred to do is earning additional narrative-based illustrations like e-book illustrations and comics. I’m at this time really interested in accomplishing reserve addresses or variant handles for comics. Usually I just want to hold generating a lot more art, further more create my model, and experiment with far more severe, darker tones.

Instagram: @jseojd_artwork


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