Youheum Son is an illustrator and designer based in New York. She studied BFA Illustration at the School of Visual Arts. Her interests are living naturally, well-being, and cats. Find more of her work on her website and on Instagram at YSON.ART.
Youheum provided art for this month's story, "A Very Large Number of Moons" by Kai Stewart.
This interview was conducted by email in March 2018.
Tory Hoke: As an illustrator, how did you get where you are today?
Youheum Son: I'm here because I do what I like! I made a bunch of art that I liked and disliked before choosing only ones that I really enjoyed doing. I kept myself on a steady flow of just doing that, and I never go back to doing what I don't feel happy doing.
- © 2018 Youheum Son, "Balcony Yoga"
Tory Hoke: Your work depicts a variety of cozy living spaces and abundant houseplants. What inspires your creations?
Youheum Son: I never feel removed from the work I make because a lot of the objects in my illustrations are also in my real life. It's important to convey the message in the story and also keep the part that is me intact. I'll often incorporate my cat and the houseplants I have at home into an illustration piece.
Tory Hoke: The variety of spaces suggests you've experienced a variety of ways of living. Do you enjoy travel? How does it influence your art?
Youheum Son: I have lived only in the city, so I feel a strong need to go see new things. I'll often grab a quick snap of the cozy places I've been and do a sketch based on that. Whenever I travel to the countryside and in different cities, I take inspiration from the alternative ways people incorporate nature into their environment. I have yet to see a cob house and a hobbit hole!
- © 2018 Youheum Son, "Crochet Buddies"
Tory Hoke: What effect do you hope to have on your viewer?
Youheum Son: I want to invite the viewer to my work through feelings of coziness, relaxation, and comfort.
Tory Hoke: What is the art community like where you are?
Youheum Son: The art community in New York is awesome. There's good energy all around! It's very diverse here and people are very supportive when you open up. I feel that New Yorkers are cold and uncaring only when you choose to believe they are.
Tory Hoke: What other artists inspire or interest you?
Youheum Son: I've always loved Frida Kahlo, Matisse, film maker Jodorowsky, and animator Hayao Miyazaki. Their work feels very fluid, spiritual, and connected with the natural world.
Tory Hoke: What would you like to see more of in contemporary SFF art?
Youheum Son: I used to blog and collect digital copies of '70s sci-fi book covers and posters some time ago, and miss seeing the old school aesthetic. I'm waiting for the day it makes a comeback with a modern twist.
- © 2018 Youheum Son, "Fire Escape"
Tory Hoke: What's your dream project?
Youheum Son: My dream project would be doing a detailed infographic on how to build a earthen cob house—mainly because I want to learn for myself during the process so I can build one in the future.
Any project on alternative ways of living—like the tiny home movement and mobile homes—would be awesome.
Tory Hoke: What's next for you?
Youheum Son: Continue living mindfully, going on more hikes, and cuddling more with my cat.