Beomyoung is an illustrator and graphic designer who attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. If you poke around the internet you will find little about him but more about his wonderful design work. He captured our attention and I felt compelled to feature him in the Creative Spotlight. We offers up insight about his creative process, design, typography, and of course…film! Read below for the full Q&A…
How did you prepare your thesis work to differ from your normal work?
Beomyoung: The thesis work was a big project spent over a year, so I wanted to explore a philosophical subject that I was really interested in. Since vast researches and architectural process were demanded for one subject, I had to start all over again when any structural error was found in the concept. I experienced a lot of trial and error. In the MFA program of SAIC, which I graduated from, there was no limitation of form for output. In other words, students in SAIC had to decide suitable forms for concept of thesis works by themselves while processing projects. In my case, I couldn’t even imagine that the output would be media art installation when I decided the subject. It was a very new and enjoyable experience and very important turning point for my further works because my work had been stuck just in the flat illustration and graphic design area before.
Just like you mentioned, you attended one of America’s largest accredited independent schools of art and design. How has formal education shaped you as a creative?
Beomyoung: SAIC seeks a very conceptual approach. Although generally students whose background is graphic design are selected for the visual communication department, there is no class that teaches technical parts of design. Most of the curriculum is to educate and discuss methodology and process. This is related to its academic traditions that guarantee unlimited freedom for expression form. Therefore, there was a big change in my method of work, which had gone through with just simple and intuitive concept in predecided form before. Above all things, I got a desire for fine art as painting and sculpture escaped the area of design, which means the span of my imagination and idea became wider. Also, I began to explore deeper and purer conceptual approaches to give a viewer room to think rather than just focusing [on the] aesthetic aspect.
How has graphic design aided you in your illustrations? What kind of advantages has being well versed in design does it give you when drawing?
Beomyoung: I think that graphic design is to make a visual system that clearly imprints certain image on viewer’s consciousness. Since my major was graphic design in the university, this point greatly influenced my illustration. For example, of my illustration series ‘Dummymen’, I intentially used just two colors, pink and red to imprint strong image.
I enjoy your pieces similar to ‘Deathmerica’ where you manipulate existing images into very provocative and clever imagery. How does your creative process begin on these projects?
Beomyoung: Actually years after creating ‘Deathmerica’, I found similar work with the American flag. It was very old work and expressed stripes with guns like missiles in my work. Anyway, this type of works including ‘Chinese Democracy’ is not outputs from researches and concept process for certain given subjects. I just got ideas about social issues that I am usually interested in. So there is nothing to talk about the process, but I think this kind of idea sometimes comes out unintentionally as I keep attention on social phenomena around us and a desire to give voice.
Do you struggle with typography? How do you approach that?
Beomyoung: Typography demands a higher degree of metaphoric expression than any other design area, and functional aspect is so emphasized that detail is important in addition to relationship between each component. Therefore, long-term improvement of sense and study on an engineering part are necessary for both aesthetic aspect and readability. Now I am interning at 2 x 4 in NYC, in which high level of pure beauty and function of typography are mainly focused, so I feel that there are many thing to learn because I don’t still have really enough sense and intelligence.
What are some of your favorite Asian films and/or anime?
Beomyoung: I like Korean director Junho Bong’s movies! He made ‘Memories of Murder‘, ‘The Host‘ and ‘Mother‘. In his movies, even one scene is not wasted. Each cut is like a brick of the substantial rampart. In other words, detail of his direction is perfect. This point really inspires me as a graphic designer trying to make one perfect visual system.
You created a poster series based on a real bank robbery that occurred on September 24, 2010 in Miami. This was particularly interesting to me. Could you tell us a bit about why you choose that event and why you stuck to a 2-color print job?
Beomyoung: Above all, this work is based on the real bank robbery, so strong contrasts of orange and black colors were used to show tension of the case. Also, since this work has structure to convey one narrative by connections of the 8 posters, just those two colors were applied to make all posters share the same identity easily.
How did you get started or gain interest in animation?
Beomyoung: Now, I rarely see animation, but I was really interested in the Gundam series and its plastic models in my hight school days. I was fanatical about Gundam 0083 because of its wonderful pictures, detailed setting and thrilling direction. But when I saw it long after, I realized that it practiced militarism and felt disappointed.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2013?
Beomyoung: There is no specific plan. The internship at 2×4 finishes end of this August. After that, I ‘m going to return to Korea then begin commercial work. I’m going to also continue personal projects in my spare time as an independent artist. Keep watching me, please.
Any advice for any creatives out there?
Beomyoung: I think I am not enough to advise, but I can say your life is much more important than anything you work on even if it is very creative and valuable. It is meaningless if the process is not happy for you. Hope to find your own happiness. I’m also still looking for that.
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