Oyow’s peaceful work aims to convey the sad, happy and sometimes complicated nature of relationships

The Seoul-based illustrator finds inspiration for his peaceful illustrations as if finding fruit hidden in a forest.

In Oyow’s illustrations, long and rounded figures lean on one another, jump into lakes at night and rest peacefully amongst tall grasses. Yet in some, large leaves divide two people, and subjects lie alone, seemingly in the midst of complex reflection. This is because Oyow’s illustrations aim to convey the “sometimes sad, sometimes happy, sometimes light and sometimes light” nature of relationships. Using “meaningful scenery” and an array of muted colours, Oyow creates complex, multi-faceted emotions beautifully.

To source material for such reflective subjects, Oyow likes to take things slowly. “Rather than being struck by inspiration like lightning, I prefer to gather my inspiration as I might fruit hidden in a forest”. Each year, Oyow makes a book focusing on subjects like youth and love. In Blue Owls, Oyow depicted teenagers on the cusp of adulthood frolicking together in youthful abandon, with the hopes of inspiring the audience to dwell upon their formative years, “a time filled with nervousness and chaos yet equally imbued with anticipation about unknown possibilities”.

GalleryOyow: The Gardeners (Copyright © Oyow, 2022)

GalleryOyow: Blue Owls (Copyright © Oyow, 2022)

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Oyow: Blue Owls (Copyright © Oyow, 2022)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English Literature and History, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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