Berlin-based illustrator Jeong Hwa Min has refined her creative technique to produce images of “simple and abstract graphics.” We last featured Jeong back in 2014 at the time of her graduation, and she has since moved to the countryside to develop her style and focus more directly on bold and expressive graphic illustrations. “[In 2014] I was focused on complex graphics that filled the paper fully, with many layers that showed many stories at the same time,” Jeong tells It’s Nice That. She then became interested in producing art that she felt had “more ambiguity and can be looked at and be interpreted in different ways”.
“It’s the beauty and power of the logical and geometric graphics that come across as bold, concise, minimalist and sometimes abstract — that’s what I wanted to study and experiment more with. I would say that I am shifting my attention from figurative representations to more ‘poetical’ graphics,” says Jeong. It’s safe to say that her recent work identifies completely with her new means of expression; each image replicates, conceptually and indirectly, a scene or object that can then be interpreted in a variety of manners.
Bright colours and strange characters were the premises of her previous illustrations, which has deviated towards darker tones with deep, complex iterations. Her latest work plays with light, shadow and objects. “The Horizon series is an experiment with airbrush and used only straight lines and curves,” she says. “A trick of the Light is a series of works in different formats with different subtitles — they are still being produced in other variations. So you could say that I am now concentrating on telling more abstract stories from the physical world and the world of objects.”
Jeong’s work has evolved as a means of self-expression and is something that she’s constantly building on. “I think that graphical ‘styles’ do not only involve visual expression, but also the perspective of the artist and their view of the world. The style can be only created when the interpretation and the expression coincide. It seems to me that I am still in the process of developing my style,” she says. With this in mind, Jeong also pulls huge inspiration from “wall paintings and prints by Sol LeWitt, short stories by Raymond Cover, Alexander Calder’s mobile sculptures, sculptures by Fred Sandback and Miyamoto Teru’s novels” — that’s not forgetting the “beautiful bends and forms” of her new countryside surroundings.
Back then, her technique involved a mixture of digital and analogue processes, where she would draw by hand and then use a computer to colour and retouch. “But I always wanted to do the whole process through my hands and in crafted ways,” says Jeong. “That’s why I did different experiments: airbrush painting with self-cut stencils, large-format acrylic paintings and also cutting and binding with different shapes and forms of books.” From this new unparalleled approach, combined with a new-found influence of the countryside, Jeong uniquely combines the look of digital graphics with analogue methods.