Interview / Ahra Kwon

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Interview with Ahra Kwon, illustrator based in Seoul, South Korea.

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Hi Ahra, Could you please introduce yourself ?

I’m Ahra Kwon, a full-time freelance illustrator from South Korea, currently based in Seoul.

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What are your favorite tools for creation ?

I mainly work with Adobe Photoshop. But when I make textures, I use various drawing and painting materials. I also use the photos that I took to create collage. It is hard to illustrate the process of my work so here are some drawings. They are based on the trip that I went this summer. I went to Uzbekistan. I guess these drawings might show some collage… [see below]

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What are you working on at the moment ?

I’m currently working on a picture book for the Central Asia Culture exchange program hosted by Asian Culture Complex. Based on the story written by Kyrgyzstan writer, I’m making 12 scenes to create a picture book for children.

Your illustrations are very dreamy… Where do you find your inspiration?

I get a lot of inspiration from traveling. I enjoy going new places where I can get some motivations. The photos that I took from those places usually became great references for my work. Also I love reading novels. Fiction drives me to imagine some surrealistic sceneries for my work.

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Above is an illustration for novel that you recently released. How did you come up with this ?

This novel is based on the story of teenagers who struggle with their different backgrounds. Since the main background for this story is city downtown, I chose buildings for the main subject for this story and tried to place each person in interesting position.

What type of client do you usually work for ?

I work with various clients, but mainly with publishers. Often times, they contact me when the project seems to fit with my style. I enjoy working with them, since the projects are mostly about interpreting fictions. I love the process of representing the story through my own interpretation.

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What would be the dream project for you ?

I have interest making my own picture book. Maybe with no words since I’m not talented with writing. I have interest on desires of human. It seems like desire is one of the most important thing to make human as itself. Since we are not God, we expect, desires, and get disappointed. I want to make a short story on these kind of matters.

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I know you don’t only do illustration… What else do you like to create with ?

As I mentioned earlier, I love taking photos. Taking pictures is quite different from illustrations. I think it’s more based on instinct. For that I use film camera, Nikon FM2.

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How is it to be a graphic designer in Seoul ?

To be honest, it’s quite hard to survive as a full time freelance illustrator in Seoul. But I can’t give up working alone doing what I like to do. :)

You spent some time in Germany… Are you a traveler ?

I went to Germany as an exchange student during my undergraduate days. I also spent my teenage years in USA… There I used to attend an art class during weekends. Through those classes, I learned how to observe things with my own interpretation. It was the first experience for me to express how I actually feel through art.

I guess I love going abroad and if I have any chance, I would go traveling! I really want to visit Iceland someday. I want to see something that I have never seen before.

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As a good-bye, could you please share with us your song of the moment ?

I love listening the albums of M83, Radiohead and Sigur Ros. Especially, I like this remix of ‘Lotus Flower’ by Jacques Greene.

Thank you very much Ahra!

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