“I think my art started with my possessiveness,” says South Korean illustrator Jisu Choi. “Delicious food that you want to eat, beautiful things you want to own, a house you want to live in… Drawing is the easiest way to put things I want to have next to me.”
An ambitious child, Jisu insisted that her parents allow her to take four private classes alongside her regular education. “For three months, after school ended at 12pm, I went to English class at 2pm, then to art class at 4pm, then to taekwondo at 5pm, and finally a piano lesson at 7pm.” Gradually however, Jisu lost interest in everything except for art. She says after a “royal rumble” between her mediums of choice, she decided illustration was where her aptitude lay and has pursued it ever since.
These days, her ambition hasn’t wavered. She travels regularly for inspiration, escaping to countries more than 20 hours away just for a change of scenery. “My house and studio are familiar and comfortable spaces that contain everything in my life, but at the same time I feel chronic concern and anxiety while I’m there,” she tells It’s Nice That. “I find travelling provides a lot of momentum and a bit of tension in an unfamiliar place, which creates good synergy and helps me generate more ideas than usual.” Taking photos, making drawings and jotting down notes during her travels, Jisu will return to her hotel later in the day and collate these creations before starting work on her ideas. “I like this last process the best… it’s similar to thinking about how to cook with random ingredients that you have bought without planning,” she explains.
The result is projects like Corner for Rent, which is a series of virtual real estate ads that introduce new corner spaces every month. Jisu prints these illustrations as small postcards and distributes them through several local bookstores and cafes. The lavish and inventive interior drawings, which start off as intricate sketches on her Regal pad, hark back to her materialistic desires as a child. “I wanted to create fanciful corners filled with explicit greed and taste, and let the viewers imagine what happens there,” Jisu says. “It was fun planning how to stuff ideas into a limited space rather than a large room.”
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