The transportive illustrations of Dion MBD reflect a life full of vivid experiences. Raised in Indonesia, going to high school in Singapore and then attending the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, Dion MBD had always been drawing from a young age to bring his daydreams to life and then to contextualize the adventures he’s had. “In between the [many countries in which I’ve lived], I traveled to other Asian and European countries,” says the illustrator, who now lives in Bandung, Indonesia, and Brooklyn, New York. “I’d try hard to live with the locals—literally live. There are so many details in life that we forget to appreciate.” He credits these experiences as formative to his visual style, alongside photographer Ansel Adams, visual artists Mark Bradford and Cy Twombly, and musician John Mayer. “My art is defined because of me,” he explains. “I try to be mindful about living and creating. When I draw something, I ask myself, ‘Is this really how I feel, or are there external factors that are making me choose this decision?’” Now, Dion MBD teaches classes in Bandung, hoping to show illustrators in the developing world what’s possible for them and promote independence in the industry. “Artists shouldn’t limit themselves to art—especially seeing how many of us are damaged by hustle culture,” he says. “I hope that, by getting to know me personally, people can see and feel that.”
This new directing duo has made a splash on the advertising scene with commercials that combine fashion, humor and narrative storytelling.