REPUBLIC X

The door to the unusual surrealism: interview with Alice Lin

Beijing based illustrator, Alice Lin, opens doors for us and invites everyone to discover her dark, creative and surrealistic world of art. You can recognize her works by identifying the connection between art, animals, and nature. Alice always manages to build an emotional bridge between viewer and subject. Her colors are like that of illustrations and drawings and are usually calmingly soft. Every single one of her photos has its own story. Alice brings darkness to her works and combines it with fairytales, childhood’s memories and perceptions. So what is Alice Lin like? And how does she come up with such ideas? I asked her about these things in our short chat.  

At what age did you started illustrating and how did it happen?
I started drawing at 5 years old. At that age I was a very naughty little girl but drawing kept me quiet. My mom liked to let me draw so that she could take care of me easier.

How long does it take for you to finish one artwork?
It takes different amounts of time with every piece of work. Sometimes I get a new idea in a moment, sometimes it can take a long time. If I get a good idea, to draw it will take me about half a month.

Illustrations and paintings always seemed to me as a quite diligent thing to do. Do you think patience and thoroughness are the characteristics that artist need to have for creating such art?
Yes, having enough patience and thoroughness in art is necessary and indispensable.

I always ask this question: who or what inspires you?
So many things give me inspiration: fairy tales, music, pictures, movies, dreams, etc. From when I was a kid I liked to draw my imagined world, a place where the things that don’t exist in this world can be.

Your art can be perceived as dark and full of emotions. What kind of emotions and feelings are you trying to reflect?
Life. I have seen the birth of life and death. I am always aware that life is great and fragile. However one day we will all disappear. I always ask a question to myself : Are we real? Do we exist? Are we just illusive?

Animals are a big part of your artworks as well. Why is that?
Animals and plants are my favorite subjects because I love this world and I hope the animals, plants, and humans can exist in harmony in this world forever. No death, no war, without the pain of sickness. But the truth is everything has its end and we must comply with the laws of nature.

If you have to describe yourself in three words, what they would be and why?
SENSITIVE (my emotions are too rich). ELEGANCE (I like poetic expression). GENEROUS (I like to share)

Do you have any other hobbies besides illustrations and drawings?
Yes, besides drawing I was working for 3D art company Maya VFX and MEL (Maya Embed lauguage) scripting. I enjoy this work but it’s very different from drawing. These two work fields let my brain alternate between logic and emotion.


Chaotic beauty: interview with Kim Byungkwan

This style of painting you would recognize always. It’s different, messy, emotional, dark and bold. Kim Byungkwan, was born and lives now in Seoul, Korea. After graduating Hnasung University he forgot about his passion for a while. Finally, Kim started painting again and become the finalist of planned exhibition on a gallery in Seoul. “That was the first solo exhibition of my life in 2011.” – told to me Kim. With several other awards, Kim is also popular on artsy and social websites. I believe that some of you are familiar with his project already. However, this time my goal was not to show you his famous works again but to get more insights about the author and his perception. Enjoy!

When and how you started painting? 
I’m sure cartoon is most of little kids fantasy world. But as a young boy, I was into it beyond your imagination. I spent most of my days to draw favorite cartoon characters or entire cartoon. I think from the beginning, pop-culture become an important code of my work.  However to become a cartoonist was never my dream. I always have a sense of delight when I draw something, and I keep drawing like crazy. 

I could say you have a very strong and clear style of painting. How did you find it, and why did you choose this one? 
While in college, I was enthusiastic in Willem De Kooning and Francis Bacon.  I couldn’t sleep at all for being fascinated by their e-pression mode and technique.  Their strokes are energy itself and I feel like they done it as there’s no second chance and any excuse.  I was influenced on them by nature, and they were a good teacher of mine. That lies at the foundation of my work. My style has been formed with being mixed pop-culture code surrounding me by nature through developing my work. 

What kind of emotions are you trying to express through your painted portraits? What message you are sending to others with your artworks? 
I draw famous person like a politician or an actor/actress.  Doing so, I try to extract unfamiliarity from the person who is familiar to everybody.  You can feel the unfamiliarity not from alien which you have never seen before, but from the things which you know well. The unfamiliar image I draw affects to break the way we see the things usually. I think that one of the important functions of art is to show the new-vision to the world. 

You seem as the person who is bored of the repetition in the world and the same things that we see, feel and experience. Why do you think we need that factor which brings something totally different and new to us? 
I despise the regular phenomenon rather then hate. Because these regular phenomenon implant the same vision of the world to everybody.  Uniformity could be the worst thing. 
For example, the image of ‘James Dean’ and ‘Marilyn Monroe’ is gradually fixed.  That is from having permanent repeatability.  I think we have few methodology to be refreshed, which we escape from permanent paradigm by breaking off or rupturing the repeatability. 

Would it be right to say, that a true artist always desires and feels a need of something new and different? 
Something new doesn’t always face to the future but you can extract it from the image of past.
New things which the artist is requested are discovery of new rather then creativity. 
It is important that the artist must be trained to interpret the world in different way.
If we trained well, then everything must be new or refreshed by nature. 

In many poetic writings, we always discover that the routine is killing the creativity and passion. Do you agree? Why? 
I agree with that some but not all in this decade. We already have system for creativity in our routine.  For example, network is one of these.  Now I can gather the data or communicate with others without huge energy. If you have enough passion for creativity, you can add another life in your routine. 

Some of artists can create art at night, or in early morning. Does the time period matters to you somehow? Why? 
It’s not that important to me. Because I do my work whenever I want to, and it happens anytime random. 

What is the biggest challenge for you in the process of creating art? 
I want to make some piece that people get the new visual experience and never forget. And that kind of impression which shows to the people the way of new methodology of vision, I hope, affects the vision of world of people’s. That’s one of my objective. I don’t know if it’s possible but still It’s my dream. 

Edward Hopper once said: “More of me comes out when I improvise.” Can you relate this quote to yourself?  
I completely agree with you. In fact, my work process is just like that.  As soon as I get a subject, I draw the image without any sketch. I want to extract the shape never designed by doing so. 
The planing prevents you from some mistake, but blocks some accidental happenings at the same time. It produces a piece trapping people inside of controlled world by artiest. Of course there are lot of great pieces with elaborated plan.  It’s all about style, I think.

Text Edited by Melissa Searle


The Highlight of the week: darkness of Alejandra Sáenz

Graphic designer from  Buenos Aires, Argentina Alejandra Sáenz, who also Artist on Tumblr, creates dark, mysterious and sharp illustrations. Even though I have chose to showcase only black & white works, she has some very beautiful and colorful artworks as well. You can check them out here. 


Interview with Norris Yim: Momuklo and his world 

Hong Kong based artist, Norris Yim, is an illustrator and architect who began drawing two years ago and went on to create very lovely, emotional but at the same time minimalist, character Momuklo. You can find him in many of his works even though Norris, of course, has many different types of illustration. However, you might notice that most of them are quite simple: he uses only a few colors, minimal details and etc. I think Norris’ talent revolves around the capturing and translation of emotion through simplicity. We had a short discussion about his Momuklo character and several other things about the artist himself. Enjoy!

Your illustration is achieved and presented in minimalist way. Is it because you want to focus on the main object, or for another reason? 
MOMUKLO expresses philosophy in simple ways, inspired by ‘Less is More’ in my Spatial Design series. I think using simplicity is good way to tell a story and for the audience to understand. I will use MOMUKLO’s elements to discover other styles & moods in future. I keep continuously changing style to become more crazy and interesting with MOMUKLO in my series because i keep drawing to find out a new way to represent myself more.

 Most of your illustrations have the same portrait/face. Why is that so? 
I draw MOMUKLO to look calm & peaceful, almost like Zen (in mentality) as he faces the world. It represents how we should stay calm all the time when we have to deal with many different situations, even, for me, through the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong city. MOMUKLO could be a physical representations of my feelings as I’m a non-tempered person in any situation. I use MOMUKLO to show my views - Peaceful – and to tell a story.

Even though your art seems to be simple and straight-forward, I always find a lot of emotions in every illustration that you have made. Is it hard for you as the artist to express the difficulty of emotion in simplicity?
I don’t know if it is hard or not as I naturally to come up with the ideas for my graphics. Simplicity is one of my favorite styles; simple lines with simple shading coming together to tell a story. I want MOMUKLO to be kept in that style. Actually, you can find in more of my recent works that I have drawn his portrait with alternative sketches and different styles because I like experimenting to discover more styles and to enhance my skills and horizons.

What elements in your life helped to shape you as an artist? 
At first I wanted to show what I was thinking in my mind. When I studied spatial design I discovered more about the world, however, it’s hard to represent my mind in my city so I try to use my illustrations to speak out and recognize myself more. When drawing/illustrating became my main activity, I started indulging in art and my imagination grew bigger and I transferred this to paper. Maybe I’ve also been shaped by personal and social events. 

What are your biggest dreams related to your art at the moment? 
My biggest dream would be that I want my art to interflow with more artists so I can keep learning from them. I would love more people to appreciate my work… and I want to use drawings to show personal feelings in different stages. Finally, I hope art could balance my life. I want my art to prove that I have lived.

Text edited by Melissa Searle 


Weekly highlight: Superheroes by Andrei Nicolescu

Illustrator, architect, painter and graphic designer Andrei Nicolescu (who is also an artist on tumblr) has presented to us his great project called “Superheroes”. Romanian artist, based in Bucharest, showcased famous superheroes in a different way. The illustrations itself reminds me a little bit of cubism. I, honestly, think that it is a very nice way to illustrate something that has been illustrated sooo many times already. You can check out for more of his artworks here.  


Our first interview after a long time: colorful portraits by Elena Pancorbo

My attention was attracted by these realistic portraits through their gentle color play and unique presentation of the art itself. After few minutes of searching through her work and discovering more and more portraits, I checked the name; Elena Pancorbo, a Spanish freelance illustrator who has many followers and fans on various social websites. Alright, I thought, that is what I was looking for to restart my interviews. Something that makes me feel inspired and amazed. Immediately, I wrote her a short letter presenting Republic X and myself. She was naturally friendly and someone who I thought would be an honor to have an interview with. And it was. Finally, guys, I present to you this short discussion with the lovely Elena. I hope you enjoy it! 

When did you start painting and drawing?
Since I can remember. I remember drawing on blackboard at school, corners of my notebooks when I finished high school I decided to fully devote myself to painting, and I wanted to learn and see how far I could get.

I made a top module illustration course and am currently doing a career in fine arts.

Why did you choose to create portraits? Why not landscapes, or cityscapes?
My preferred technique is pastels, I am moved by the skin tones, the brightness of the eyes, fleshy lips. I like to portray people’s feelings and fears. I could include the landscape in conjunction with the human figure, but time is something that I discard.

Is it hard to find the right portrait for you to paint/draw?
I would say no. I always look for stereotype pictures, tones, lights and glitter, but sometimes I propose complicated and impractical orders. It is due to mere photo detail to interpret whether I use it or not… not having the right quality for example.

You always include very warm, complimentary and, at the same time, different colors. Why?
As I said earlier, I like working with skin tones. I attempt to make my work have a warm and harmonious air, I like the pastel colors and earth tones.I avoid using muted colors too, when I have to paint something a dark I use a dark shade or use many shades that lead me to a colorful shade.

Did you ever predict that your works would attract such a big attention from around the globe?
Yes, I thought of the time when I was exposed to the world through social networks, internet or any physical exhibition of my work.

I find my work a great way to give purpose to it.

I never considered that my taste for painting was a hobby, which is why I show it because I would like to dedicate this professionally and people opine about, either for good or bad.

Let’s talk more about you. What are the biggest values in your life?
As a person I value sincerity and humility. One can really put your feet on the ground and concentrate on something that is ignored.

Moral support is important for me to have pillars in life.

As an artist, working and persevering constancy. If you can do something well in life should be done every day.

How do you see yourself in… let’s say 5 years?
I honestly do not know. My life has changed so much in just one year that to venture to look beyond the short-term terrifies me.

Usually I never liked making future plans or planning too far in advance, 80% of the possibilities that I see are failures.

What do you think you miss mostly in your life at the moment?
I am at a good stage in which I am lucky to study what I love and devote myself to it entirely.

But you can never know the twists and turns of life.

What, according to you, would be the biggest threat for loosing motivation in something?
Lack of time. To have it removed or lose it or have to use it in something that requires my attention more.

Edited by: Melissa Searle 


New artworks from Jiwoon Park 

Jiwoon Pak is an illustrator and artist based in Seoul, south of Korea. She received her art education at Valenciennes Fine art school in France,and started to work as a freelance illustrator in 2013.


Amazing watercolor paintings by Nicolas Jolly 

Nicolas Jolly is a French artist working with black ink. Black and white allows him to bring additional emotion to the scene by increasing the set of chiaroscuro. There is a large concern in the compositions of his drawings. The technique he uses,”fingerprint”, allows him to guide the eye of the observer through the various elements of the scene compositions. All convolutions bring dynamism and speed, amplifying the intense and dramatic effect. The subject is anime, dance and grows. It can accentuate a detail in the design and target emotion to convey. via


Redmer Hoekstra takes us to the surrealistic adventure 

Some of you probably know this illustrator from Netherlands already. I have to admit that I have recognized a few of his artworks, as well. I saw them somewhere on the web long time ago. Today, I have discovered the huge and amazing portfolio of this artist. I wanted to include even more artworks here, because all of them are gorgeous and unforgettable. With each his illustration, Redmer takes us to the glorious world of creative surrealism. 


The Amazing Art by Chiara Aime

When I saw the first and one of the most recent artworks of this author (the first picture from the top), I knew I have to open her portfolio. There first thought in my mind was “Wow”. You can see many games with a color, improvisation with portraits and surrealism. 

Chiara Aime was born in Cuneo in 1991, where she currently resides. She attended the Art School of Cuneo and only since 2010 has begun to expose herself to the public as a painter. Her painting is an expression of mind, highly introspective that comes from the soul and is supported by a great passion for drawing and graphics. Her palette, preferably restricted to a few colors, three-four, including the blue and the blues, reds and purple, often thwarted by yellow and green.


Wise Grandpa by Gyva Grafika 

The second largest city in Lithuania, called Kaunas, had a chance to surprise its community and society with a very big, interesting and funny street art created by studio Gyva Grafika. The grandpa was painted on the building which was owned by a great art society, where concerts and other fun was held each week. However, the government of Kaunas city wasn’t so happy to see this grandpa in the old town of Kaunas, so they requested to erase it from the walls… and it was.  


New paintings by Simon Birch 

Simon Birch is a UK-born artist who is a permanent resident of Hong Kong. He has had solo shows in Beijing, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Miami, and Singapore, as well as exhibiting in group shows at the Hong Kong Museum of Art (2008), the Haunch of Venison, London, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, in 2011.


Messy and beautiful portraits by Cheol Hee Lim

This artist amazed me by beautiful and messy portraits that are full of color. Author has a very interesting technique. Love it.


Cityscapes in various shapes by Jieun Park 

Jieun Park is mixing two very interesting styles in her paintings: traditional cityscapes that looks very realistic and abstract art. This combination creates a very unique and gorgeous result, which you can see above. I really like this idea and style. “What I try to express through my works are the emotions that I felt at the specific moments during the journey. I remember how I was emotionally overwhelmed and felt lonely by looking down at the city from on high.” - says artist. 


Artist spent 30min each day for the past few months to make daily sketch paints 

Gabriel Verdon submitted his daily sketch paints on reddit by saying that he spent only 30min each day (for the past few moths) in order to create these black and white illustrations. I can say it looks very original, dark and interesting. Very nice choice of color, which is limited. Do you like it?


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