Illustrator GAZEROSHIN (@gazeroshin) hosted her first exhibit “A Light In The Dark is Hopeful” last month. The artist, who grew up in Ansan, put together a multi-room space full of her comic-style illustrations which reflect her internal conflicts, external relationships, love and youth, over the last few years. Get to know the artist behind the work in our interview below.
Interview Gissella Ramirez-Valle, Interpretation Hailyn Yoon, Photos Miranda Jackson
"I do not want to live as a coward anymore. I hope that energy (from my drawings) goes into someone like a ray of light, and I can go out into the world." A Light In The Dark is Hopeful
Did you major in art?
GAZERO: No, I never formally learned art. Wanting to learn the basics, I bought art books and practiced drawing on my own.
What is art to you?
GAZERO: To me, drawing is art itself. The act of drawing is like a medium to express and share emotions with other people without using words. Drawing is closer to me than a friend, and more precious than a lover.
What does Gazero mean?
GAZERO: A lot of people ask me this, but I just created a name based on my real name that sounds nice and rolls off the tongue. 가 romanized is ga and 영 young is zero in Korean. It’s very simple right?
How would you describe the style of your drawings? What were your influences when developing your style?
GAZERO: I am the type of person who tries out a lot of new things rather than sticking to one style, but many people are able to recognize my drawings. Because I’ve done digital work for a long time, I wanted to draw more by hand since I was twenty years old. Now I use both varyingly. I had a hard time when I was younger because I was bullied, so during that time, Ueda Fuco’s drawings gave me strength. Since then I realized something. There is no such thing as dark and depressing drawings. To the person who is struggling and tired, this drawing can be comforting, and to someone who is happy and not having a difficult time, the drawing can appear depressing. I wanted to give others the encouragement that I received, so I began to draw."
"There is no such thing as dark and depressing drawings. To the person who is struggling and tired, this drawing can be comforting, and to someone who is happy and not having a difficult time, the drawing can appear depressing."
How do you choose which medium to use for an idea that you get?
GAZERO: I always switch. When I am doing digital work, I use a computer, and when I am doing work by hand, I use crayons, color pencils, and markers. I think the medium that I use changes depending on the mood of the message that I want to get across. When I want to express the parts of my drawings that are thick and have texture, I mix color pencils and crayons. Digital work has the advantage of being neat and easy to look at.
Why did you choose Instagram as the platform to share your artwork?
GAZERO: I was using Facebook to upload my art, but noticed that not many people were posting their artwork on Instagram. Attempting what others haven’t, I began to upload my work there and ended up receiving a lot of attention. So I’ve been using Instagram for some years now!
Are the comics drawn based on actual events or people you know? If not, where do the inspiration for the stories come from?
GAZERO: I tend to draw by imagining the all of the possible results that could occur in real-life events, whether they’re good or bad. Having a vivid imagination, I tend to write stories while laying down. You know, the "what would happen if something like this happened all of a sudden?" type of imagination. There’s also the case where I’ll listen to someone’s worries or have my own, and will draw to find a solution to these worries.
"I tend to draw illustrations by imagining the possible results that could occur from real-life events, whether they’re good or bad."
You have a large online following. Do your followers have a say in what you create?
GAZERO: Looking at my Instagram followers who draw, I’m motivated to work even harder.
You seem to have started also making phone cases a while ago. For your phone cases, there are different designs with various themes. Could you tell us more about them? Most of your phone cases have interiors, do you have big interest in interior design?
GAZERO: Yes, I have a lot of interest in interior design as well. The reason I started creating phone cases was because I had serious emotional ups and downs when I was younger, so I used to take out my anger on my innocent phone. Maybe it was because of this, but there were a lot of scratches on my phone, and because new models were coming out, it just seemed like my phone was very outdated. Whenever I felt this way, I would buy a new phone case for a change. I would always buy more than 3 cases in a month. After a while, I thought, "Wouldn’t I like a phone case with my drawing on it more?" I pursued types of illustrations that others haven’t done before, wanting to show something unique, so I would come up with ideas for designs everyday. I am proud of that!
"The reason I started creating phone cases was because I had serious emotional ups and downs when I was younger, so I used to take out my anger on my innocent phone."
Does your own living space resemble that of your drawings? What is an ideal living space to you?
GAZERO: I’m currently working at home, but I want to buy a studio and decorate it to do my work there. I’m really beginning to understand how valuable space is. I tried my best to decorate my own space, but I’m still unsatisfied with it.
What is your daily routine? Do you have a ritual for getting into the mood of creating?
GAZERO: I normally meet up with my friends a lot. Even if it’s not a friend, I really like to hang out with people in general, so I enjoy going to bars that have a comfortable atmosphere, and talking to people while having a drink. And when I get ideas from time to time, I’ll write them down in a notepad and then work on them once I go home. Or sometimes I’ll take my sketchbook with me to a bar or cafe and draw on the spot. I don’t want to forget the emotions I experienced exactly at that moment.
What would you say to the people who aspire to become artists like you?
GAZERO: You should speak what’s on your mind without worrying about other people’s opinions. As time passes, people change. So if you don’t say something right at that moment, you’ll end up regretting later on that you didn’t say it. Let’s draw something good for others.