Jungyeon is an illustrator hailing from Seoul, South Korea. Her colorful, imaginative work brims with humor and personality. She describes herself as being the “long lost daughter of Andy Warhol”, as she spends most of her days in the print shop working from “dawn ‘til dusk”. Although silkscreening is her favorite medium, she also enjoys working with digital media, drawing, and painting. Jungyeon’s work has been featured in Communication Arts, Print magazine, American Illustration, 3×3, and CMYK, among other major publications. Awards include: a gold cube from the Art Directors Club and silver medals from the Society of Illustrators in both N.Y. and L.A. The New York Times, Movado, and Playboy are among her clients.
We recently sat down with her to chat about her work, experiences, and inspiration. Here’s what she shared with us:
Where do you get inspiration from?
Mostly, I get my inspiration from food, people, and environment. I used to have an obsession with dieting–when I was 21, I tried to be skinny. I ate nothing but cabbage and water to lose weight, but in the end I gained more weight! And I realized, “Oh, I shouldn’t do that. I should eat healthy and treat my body well!”
What were some challenges you’ve faced since moving here from Korea?
Growing up as a young woman in Korea, it was hard to find my own voice because society is more rigid and traditional. And as an artist, I really should have my own voice. Since moving to New York, some challenges I’ve faced were loneliness, isolation, and having no family or belongings. But all that really helped me to find my voice well. As an illustrator, I think I’m a storyteller, so everything from my experiences and in my life can be my work’s source.
Why did you choose to specialize in silkscreening?
I enjoy doing silkscreen because of the clean lines that come out. Planning is really important for silkscreening. You need to make separations–from 2 to 6 colors–before starting. It’s really precise, and requires a lot of planning, so that I can get perfect registration. Illustrators and cartoonists spent most of their time alone at their desks. I do, too. But silkscreening is very active and requires a lot of energy, in addition to giving me plenty of interaction with other people. It also requires a fine arts-based skill set too, of course, which means it’s not easy to do quickly. I’m like a athlete-illustrator! That’s why I love silkscreening.
Why did you choose the character of Miss Eggplant?
The reason I chose Miss Eggplant as my character is because all girls can fit in her costume–skinny girls, fat girls, black girls, white girls, asian girls. They can all fit in her costume–if it were Miss Cucumber, only skinny girls would be able to fit. So, in my Miss Eggplant book, she dates all kinds of different American boys!
What would you describe your style of working to be?
My particular style of working is playful and full of humor. I like making my books interactive with foldouts and other paper folding styles and techniques. I use both silkscreen and digital printing for my Miss Eggplant book, and there’s accordion style binding as well as a fold out poster in the middle.
What’s your favorite place in New York City?
My favorite spot in New York City is Babycakes! I can get gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free cupcakes there. Carrot and Pumpkin are my favorite! The tiny store has really pretty decorations too. Whenever I hear about Babycakes, I get really excited.
What do you find to be inspiring about New York?
As an artist, New York is the best place to live in. This place is busy and fast, but people are rewarded for their efforts with success. New York always makes me work harder, and I am thankful for every morning when I wake up and open my eyes in this city. It is full of cultural icons and I find myself creating something new from these influences. I am learning new ways of thinking, seeing and creating here. I want to share my good fortune with other people through my art.
A peek at what the silkscreening process is like:
Some of Jungyeon’s work
Miss Eggplantʼs American Boys
Digital & Silkscreen/ 32 pages of accordion binding/ 8 editions/ 2010/ 13”x10”/ 6 to 8 colors
Miss Eggplantʼs American Boys tells the story of Miss Eggplant, a representation of veganism, who is from an Asian country and came to America to meet various American boys. The basic story is from the song “American Boy” (2008) by Estelle and every page illustrates the lyrics.
Society of Illustrators LA 49 Graphic Novels/Comic Books Silver, Society of Illustrators 53 Book Category, Creative Quarterly 22
All the young girls
New York Times Op-Ed Townies blog, November 2010/ 3rd of 4 series/ Ink and digital
Being a Korean/ Chinese girl living in New York City. Columns by Mary H.K. Choi.
Communication Arts 52
Desire Series #04
Silkscreen/ 4th of 4 series/ 2009/19”x24”/ 5 colors
Frogs wish to be women. They go to Buddha’s hospital to make their desires come true. Buddha gives the frogs plastic surgery, and while they are under anesthesia they dream of becoming women. But after their surgeries, the frogsʼ faces remain the same.
Society of Illustrators Annual 52 Comics/ Sequential category, Creative Quarterly 18 Silver, CMYK #49, Showtime Nurse Jackie Season2 Ep11.
All about the Public Bath
Silkscreen/ 10 pages of accordion binding/10 editions/ 2008/ 9”x6”/ 2 colors
This book is an instruction of how to act when you go to the public bath. The public bath is a representation of Asian cultures. This is the story of a Korean girl’s funny experiences at the public bath.
Today is Sushi Day
Silkscreen/ 10 pages of accordion binding/10 editions/ 2008/ 9”x12”/ 5 colors
Sisters who are sushi masters go to a rotating sushi restaurant and teach American people how to be master sushi eaters.
ADC 89th Annual Gold Cube, Society of Illustrators Annual 52 Sequential/Comic category; Silver, Society of Illustrators 2010 student show, American Illustration 28, 3×3 Illustration; Annual No.6 Student Distinguished Merit, Creative Quarterly 16 Illustration Student Gold.
See more at Jungyeon’s website