Since we last spoke to the Seoul-based illustrator Ram Han last year, she has continued to bring her fantastical imagination to life through a new series of works titled Room. In her trademark style of metallic gloss, Ram’s latest illustrations explore the idea of personal space seen through bedrooms and personal objects.
Rooms with stacks of fish tanks for walls, bedroom windows looking out onto celestial galaxies and tiny white rabbits hopping around are just some visuals that occupy Ram’s dreamy scenes. The series was inspired by juxtaposing feelings of confusion mixed with a “current emptiness that came from the rich, but unsettling life [she] experienced living in her parent’s house.”
The illustrator recreates her negative feelings through an “empirical fantasy” of digital drawings. She combines her personal experiences with the media’s depiction of reality to produce highly stylised pictures, peppered with surreal references to the artist’s childhood and also chooses "the colours based on my childhood nostalgias,” she tells It’s Nice That. With nostalgia in mind, flickers of fragmented memories inform Ram’s illustrative compositions, from the colours of Japanese cartoons and TV commercials, each make their way into Ram’s psyche, expressed through the rich, digital oeuvres.
“Maybe if someone’s lived in a similar time and area to me, they can relate to similar nostalgias seen in the pictures," adds Ram of this process, explaining how rounded phones, pet turtles and pancakes all remind the illustrator of “home”. The artist uses these objects akin to emoticons in her drawings. Said objects denote a “certain meaning to a particular group of people that share a similar environment” and the illustrator taps into these associations with her dreamlike representations.
Depicted through a straightforward gaze, Ram imagines the illustrations as “catalogue images” with head-on compositions as a way for viewers to take a trip down memory lane. The sparklingly smooth drawings draw out this intention and it seems as if the illustrations are printed on a gloss paper rather than seen on a digital screen. Currently, Ram is expanding this vision to create a series about motel rooms with the hopes of extending her nostalgic scenes to broader spaces and perhaps even 3-dimensional sets.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.