From the massive to the microscopic, illustrator Bang Sangho’s work is filled with otherworldly shapes, landscapes and life forms. Favouring dense layering of texturally rich characters and blue-tinted bold colours, the Korean illustrator’s precisely drawn images are like pop surrealism for the space age. Trypophobics beware, however, as one element that frequently features in his illustration is a dimpled space rock in deep pink with endless, rimmed holes on its surface.
The holes, for Sangho, serve as a passage to different dimensions that let you travel to multiple worlds, an apt description for the work he produces in general. “I started drawing the planets out of curiosity for the unknown world, like the world of a fabric of a sweater observed through a microscope or a world beyond a space that’s too tiny or too enormous,” Sangho tells It’s Nice That. What he sets out to do is create a primitive wilderness where rules or definition don’t exist, illustrating what a cosmic primordial soup might look like.
“An image of a planet might be the planet itself, or a part of a cell or any living creature. Every object has its own holes and there exists countless holes in the word,” Sangho explains. “Holes are passages to different dimensions and it can help us travel to any type of worlds,” he continues.
As a freelance illustrator, he’s worked on projects that suit his space-acid style, from illustrations for Fender’s loop pedals to large-scale animations for a Sogo branch in Hong Kong. One project, a series of illustrations and posters for what was essentially an Adult Swim carnival at San Diego Comic Con this past July, was a serendipitous coalescing of styles.
“When I started drawing planets, many people told me that my drawings share a similar mood with Rick & Morty, but I haven’t seen the programme even once before then,” Sangho says. “I watched Rick & Morty while carrying out this project and, surprisingly, I found that the world they have created is quite similar to that of my artwork. Since both shared a similar sense and objects, I wanted to create an image where two different worlds coexist, or with one as a parasite of the other,” he says.
Another notable project, Pink Pupil, is an ongoing work that’s being turned into a book and a video. “The woman in [Pink Pupil] is a projection of myself. She could come into the world by wearing a planet-shaped lens,” Sangho says. “When drawing, I sometimes escape from reality by feeling like I’m travelling in my own artwork. I wanted to express a process where she is gradually addicted to the plant world by running away from numerous regulations, probably representing my current reality,” he adds.
Talking about his illustration process, Sangho tells us about the important elements in his work. “Colour plays an important role in completing my work,” he says. “I prefer to use as many colours as possible and let them harmonise as one rather than picking a specific colour to stand out.” In his expressive work, which also translates fantastically onto animation and apparel, Sangho brings the grotesque into the cosmic, all executed with an admirable eye for detail, colour and imaginary textures.
- Illustrator Katy Stubbs on moulding her dishy stories out of clay
- Tom Noon on his musical, spontaneous and illustrative approach to graphic design
- Nazif Lopulissa rethinks the shapes and forms of the children’s playground
- Egg is an animation about attempting – and failing – to take control of something you are afraid of
- Why creatives should take the election advantage
- Adrienne Law on making something digital feel physical
- “We want to challenge and disturb the audience”: meet graphic design studio Alliage
- Matt Willey leaves The New York Times Magazine and joins Pentagram
- Ikki Kobayashi’s new series investigates the tension between shapes and negative space
- “Perfectly beautiful things don’t attract me”: Heesun Seo on her nontraditional practice
- The Pantone Colour of the Year 2020 makes a statement about peace and communication
- Moleskine’s digital notebook and a visual inventory of Earth win Apple's Apps of the Year