The illustrator Ruohan Wang is no stranger to It’s Nice That with her captivating and colourful work. Inspired by the changing understanding of the world through time, Ruohan tells It’s Nice That that her main influences come from existential philosophy including the works by Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche and Giorgio Gamben. Conceptually, her work explores obsession and feelings that are experienced in daily life, while her illustrative style embodies both fine art and graphic design. Ruohan explains, “I’m interested in sharing my deep feelings for special experiences or objects through the medium of drawing and painting, replacing speech”.
Recently, Ruohan has started working in the public art sector, most notably in Shanghai and Jerusalem. Ruohan created an animation and poster for Lixia solar festival which lit up Shanghai’s skyscrapers during the culturally significant Chinese solar festival. Ruohan’s poster encompasses the old, folk traditions that are carried out during the festival; children being weighed, drawing on eggs, prayers for good luck and health. The illustrator resultantly created a short animation around these themes, shown on the biggest LED screen in the world on the Bund in Shanghai. The animation ran over the whole building for three days, transforming Shanghai’s skyline into an immersive public art piece.
In Jerusalem, Ruohan was invited to spark a social dialogue around multiculturalism in Israel as part of the Walls festival. Ruohan painted a large mural in Talpiot around the themes of “derivation, commensalism and anthropocene”. In other words, the mural investigates a human’s active dominance over the world and the pros and cons this activity has on the rest of the planet.
The Talpiot area is perceived by locals as a “ghost town which is remote and isolated socially”. The public art hopes to inject some regeneration and renewal into the local community, as well as brighten up surroundings. Ruohan adds “art in the public space is the landscape we all share. Consciously or unconsciously, it pours meaning into our everyday lives.” Ruohan’s illustration is painted across a multilevel, structured mural and captivates passers-by with its uplifting imagery of nature.
Despite being large, public art pieces, Ruohan’s work continues to be vibrantly enlivening. Her practice of sketching everyday and working between the mediums of print-making, painting and public art ensure a contextually diverse array of creative output within the illustrator’s distinctive style.
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. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.