Get to know Jyan Ku's lovely hybrid of "friendly art, not difficult art"

22 May 2018

When South Korean-born and Brooklyn-based Jyan Ku sent over the illustrations to be featured in this article, the titles of the works had us in stitches. The file names such as, “Why Crying”, “A Little Bit of Juice For You” and “Hey Sweetie”, each describes the cutesy narrative displayed in Jyan’s work, but also comment on contemporary culture succinctly, particularly our interactions with one another.

“I am focusing on relationships and emotion,” Jyan tells It’s Nice That of the subjects she’s been depicting recently. “I try to put different objects and figures on my canvas, coming out of my subconscious to deliver the story.” As each of the illustrations are created quite naturally, the form of Jyan’s work is sporadic. Her pieces give the impression of being drawn quickly, with swishes and swirls of colour marks added repeatedly on top of one another, building up into a “surrealistic and distorted mass,” she says.

This is a style Jyan’s developed over the past year, extending her subject matter and colour palette. “I was pretty satisfied and I’ll keep experimenting with these and new mediums.” Proactive in creating work, Jyan’s portfolio has grown in momentum recently, joining several groups shows and have several chances for the public to engage with her works. “It was an amazing experience,” she says. “I hope to have more chances to get closer to people with my works, approaching it as friendly art, not difficult art.” Weirdly wonderful, the detail in Jyan’s pieces develops not in drawing techniques, but her ability to depict a relatable scenario in just the smirk of a character.

Looking towards the future Jyan plans to “keep concentrating on projecting human’s minds on my canvas like a mirror without a doubt,” so thankfully we’ll be able to continue to chuckle along with her works.


Jyan Ku: Red Gloves


Jyan Ku: Behind the Trees


Jyan Ku: Hey Sweetie


Jyan Ku: Little Bit of Juice For You


Jyan Ku: Three Trees One Animal


Jyan Ku: Two Trees Two Animals and a Green Man


Jyan Ku: Why Crying


Jyan Ku: Wild Life

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About the Author

Lucy Bourton

Lucy (she/her) is the senior editor at Insights, a research-driven department with It's Nice That. Get in contact with her for potential Insights collaborations or to discuss Insights' fortnightly column, POV. Lucy has been a part of the team at It's Nice That since 2016, first joining as a staff writer after graduating from Chelsea College of Art with a degree in Graphic Design Communication.

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