The atmospheric, fauvism-inspired work of London, UK–based illustrator Jiatong Liu represents a culmination of his education at the Kingston School of Art in London and his explorations to learn illustration independently. “There is a vicious stereotype in China about art students being seen as poor academic performers, which is disgraceful to their whole family,” Liu explains. “[For my undergrad,] I chose another major I didn’t like under societal pressure and family honor, but I always knew my passion was art, and I wanted to be an illustrator. I used any resources and time I could to learn how to draw until I found the chance to study abroad.” While under the tutelage of instructor Paul Postle, Liu began landing clients in Chinese publishing and worked with the newspaper China Daily; upon graduating, his expressive style appealed to clients like Budweiser, Lenovo and Vans, among other brands. “Subtle emotion evoking a dreamy atmosphere is how I describe my work,” he explains. “I explore a lot of color experiments when I begin a new piece. Color is a crucial element in my work to provoke the audience’s feelings.” His passion for developing his style fuels his interest in impacting the industry. “Finding a personal style is not easy, and many new illustrators get lost trying to learn many different styles,” Liu says. “I was one of them, and it took me a long time to figure out that it’s vital for illustrators to find their voices. I want to share my experience with more people … to encourage and help them find their passion and style.”
This Beijing-based design studio explores the possibilities of print with a countercultural aesthetic.