Sera Yong’s oozing graphic series explores the movement of microscopic organisms
Working at the intersection of graphic design and art, the Seoul-based creative discusses her interest in nature and the constantly moving organisms that make up our world.
- Elfie Thomas
- 21 March 2022
Sera Yong has dabbled in a wide range of creative projects during her time, from posters and visual identities to grand scale artworks for exhibitions. However, one aspect unifies her work: a series of experimental oozing forms which wonderfully summon the volatile texture of wet paint. Taking advantage of the vivid aesthetics that come from “unexpected” combinations of colour and shapes, these strange forms drip, ooze and run riot throughout her body of work.
Beginning her studies in Seoul, Sera got a BA in graphic design under her belt before moving to Berlin to work for Hort, a graphic design studio she admired in college. Here she met Pavla Zabranska who sat across from her at the studio. Becoming firm friends they created their own project team which they called, Praol. The name is a compound of the two cities that the creatives were born and raised – Praha and Seoul – “where two people who grew up in different environments meet and experiment with synergies”.
The pair became fascinated with “drawing real objects in an unrealistic manner” and accompanying them with audio to “craft a surreal atmosphere”. These experimentations are often incorporated with the oozing forms which characterise Sera’s visual language. While the satisfying splurges look as if they might have been concocted in a chemical laboratory, Sera tells us that she actually gets much of her inspiration from nature. Fascinated by the “astonishing visual mysteries” that occur in the natural world, she loves to watch how colours change miraculously with the weather and seasons: “Just as no single tree has the same green colour, many greens can be found on one of thousands of branches from a single tree.”
The graphic designer has been channelling these observations of the natural world into her project Microscopy since 2018. The project began as a response to the death of a loved one, and the strange and “futile” way a life can be taken away. Ruminating on the fragile line between life and death, Sera finally decided to focus her creative lens on the realm of the living. Taking a microscopic look at organisms that “are in constant motion”, the graphic series aims to “observe, and reinterpret the wonders of living things that do not stop and move continuously”.
The influence of this long term project can be traced through to the exhibition piece and visual identity she created for Sensory Garden – “an exhibition of consolation” for creatives who had been exhausted from the effects of the pandemic. Given complete freedom to experiment with “free expression”, Sera was excited to work on both creative sides of the exhibition, as a designer and an artist. Revitalised by working in various creative disciplines, Sera hopes in the future to continue experimenting with putting her graphics on “tangible objects”. With a pair of customised Nike trainers already incorporated into her body of work, we look forward to seeing what other products will get the Microscopy treatment in the future.
Sera Yong: Microscopy, Artist Residency Program (Copyright © Sera Yong, 2020)
About the Author
Elfie joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in November 2021 after finishing an art history degree at Sussex University. She is particularly interested in creative projects which shed light on histories that have been traditionally overlooked or misrepresented.