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Work / Art

Brooklyn-based Jyan Ku’s naive pastel works are oddly charming

Artist and illustrator Jyan Ku was born in South Korea and now resides in Brooklyn, New York after quitting her job in a trading company and moving to the USA to pursue a career in art. “It was a thrilling turning point of my life and I am still so proud of my brave decision,” she says.

Jyan’s work is strongly influenced by the conflict she feels between her creativity and her Korean roots, with the culture, social customs and philosophies still ingrained in her psyche. “Purity is really important to my work and I normally just start drawing on white paper. When I make several drawings, they bring me the stories,” she says of her process. “This step is very improvised but it is also very ritualistic in the process of making art. I can develop my subject and stories through this step.”

The artist’s style is naive with oddly proportioned figures and simply drawn landscapes that feel almost child-like in their innocence. She uses the concrete elements of her work like colour and size to evoke more abstract concepts such as feelings, character and narrative. “Everything could be anything. This is the way to create my own unique, fresh and striking images,” she explains. “I bring nature and human life to my imaginary world and then I reinterpret, reproduce and reorganise them. I like to draw surrealist and distorted masses, but I don’t want to forget about the sarcastic element to my images.”

The humour in Jyan’s images is often conveyed through her character’s expressions and the situations she depicts like a lady nonchalantly drinking milk next to someone milking a cow and one figure pushing another off a cliff looking fairly nonplussed. Using oil pastels, wax pastels and colouring pencils on paper Jyan hopes to give people the opportunity to “imagine, go back to their childhood” and take a break from the real world.

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