Illustrator Dadu Shin uses his pencil as a guiding tool to translate his visions onto paper.
Installation Magazine: The best place to start is the beginning- how did your journey as an artist begin?
Dadu Shin: Art runs on my mother’s side of the family so I was exposed to it at an early age. When I was a kid I watched my grandfather paint landscapes during family trips. My mother is a textile artist and encouraged my creative side. Art was always my favorite subject in school and one of the few things I was not terrible at, and I took that as a sign.
We have made selections from your commercial work from the New York Times including Nobrow 7 and your personal sketchbooks. Do you feel there is a common thread that unites these distinct bodies of work?
Sometimes I look at my work and only see the stylistic differences and think thatt my work is all over the place. However, I am thinking about that less and less these days. Stylistic differences are just on the surface. Even though I work in different mediums and methods, the work is linked through my way of thinking. Style has to do just as much with the way one thinks as the way one draws, maybe even more so. As for themes, I think “loneliness” seems to find its way into my work often.
What word would you use to describe your aesthetic?
It’s hard to pin it down, but I think “simple” and “composed” are good descriptors of my aesthetic. I like things that fit together, my eyes hurt when they don’t.
What color palette excites you the most?
For a long time I used to gravitate toward a more subtle and desaturated color palette. I liked how grayed out colors gave my work a certain still and quiet quality. However, I’m beginning to develop a fondness for high contrast and have started to experiment with brighter and more saturated colors. I have been using bright reds and yellows a lot these days.
What material best expresses your point of view as an artist?
The pencil has always been the tool I’m most confident with as an artist. I definitely enjoy inks, oils, and acrylics and using a brush, however none of them provide me the comfort that a simple pencil does. I have the easiest time getting my ideas onto paper using a pencil.
Which artists have had the greatest influence on your practice?
There are so many artists I’ve looked up to over the years, but I must credit my teacher Fred Lynch for teaching me what illustration is, and also credit another teacher, Chris Buzelli, for teaching me how to practice it.
What projects are you currently working on that you would like to share with our readers? Any illustrations we should look out for?
Besides editorial work here and there, I’m working on ideas for picture books. I’ve also started to work on a small comic based on the illustration The Traveler I did awhile back. Also I’m trying to get back into doing fashion illustrations more consistently.