Seoul After Hours 夜城怪谈

June 15, 2020 2020年6月15日

The art of Ratspecial Fust is deeply inspired by the megacities of Asia. Seoul, the place he now calls home, has been particularly meaningful in his development as an artist. The city’s grimy alleyways, towering architecture, and thick clusters of power lines are piled on top of each other in his illustrations, forming textured patterns and layers. These elements serve as the backdrop for a semi-imaginary universe populated by criminals and uncanny monsters. “The different levels, from the sewers to the rooftops, offer never ending possibilities for adventures,” Ratspecial says. “The city is shaped like a giant playground.”


亚洲大城市是 Ratspecial Fust 艺术创作的灵感源泉,尤其是他现在所生活的首尔,这座城市在他的艺术生涯中占据了重要的地位。他的插图描绘了这座城市肮脏的小巷、高耸的大厦和杂乱的电线,层层堆叠,形成充满纹理感的图案和层次。这些元素构筑出一个半虚拟的世界,其中充斥着各种不法之徒和怪物。Ratspecial 说:“从下水道到高楼顶层,不同层次的空间提供了无限的冒险可能。整座城市就像是一座巨型的游乐场。”

Growing up in France, Ratspecial was always fascinated by Asia; the cities seemed totally different from European cities, which he explored extensively as a graffiti writer. Even before having visited Asia, many of his illustrations were based on what he imagined the region’s metropolises to be like. These intricate works often dropped viewers into Akira-esque cityscapes, depicting streets littered with wrecked cars, fallen buildings, and unrecognizable debris—without first-hand experience of Asia, his imagination was free to take the reins.


Ratspecial 在法国长大,一直以来都特别着迷亚洲文化。亚洲的城市与他经常涂鸦的欧洲城市截然不同。在踏足亚洲之前,他在自己许多手绘作品中,按着自己的想象,描画着亚洲的城市。这些精繁复杂的作品向观众呈现了阿基拉式的赛博朋克城市景观:放眼望去,街道上全是荒废的汽车、倒塌的建筑物和无法辨认的废墟。正因为未曾到过亚洲,所以他能任由自己的想象力发挥。

Moving to Seoul broadened his creative output. His late-night graffiti missions continued there, but they instilled in him an appreciation for the quieter, more personal moments of the city, which began to manifest in his work. Often, he found himself riding around on his bike just admiring the surroundings, forgetting to paint.

Still though, he often found himself purposefully seeking out spaces and situations that normal people would simply pass by: “I push myself into weird situations and try to commit these sights to memory as best I can.”


移居首尔后,他的创意想象进一步开阔。以往那些深夜涂鸦的经历,让他更懂得欣赏这座城市安静、隐密的夜晚。他常常骑着自行车,欣赏周围的环境,甚至忘记了画画这件事。他刻意寻找被大多数人忽略的角落:“我总是推动自己参与到各种奇怪的事件中,哪怕是在追逐或其他紧张的时刻,尽力将所有细节记下来。”

These weird situations are frequently inspiring. The seedy characters and peculiar happenings that he comes across in his nighttime tagging excursions often serve as the basis for his illustrations. “I once met a hunchback living in a sewage drain. I never met him again, but I left a message for him that I drew on a concrete pole along with a sandwich,” he says. “If you open your eyes, the doors for parallel worlds are hidden everywhere.”


Ratspecial 的作品常常出现各种奇人怪事,因为在任何大城市的深夜,人们都常常能遇到形形色色的人和事。他说:“我曾经见过一个驼背的人,就生活在下水道里。之后再也没有见到过他,但我在旁边的水泥杆上给他留了言,还留了一份三明治。”他说,“如果你愿意睁开眼睛观察,你会找到很多通往平行世界的大门。”

As a graffiti writer, Ratspecial has always preferred physical mediums and had little interest in digital art. When not painting on walls, he works with ink and markers. One of these hand-drawn illustrations usually takes a couple of days to finish, but he enjoys working in intense stretches so as to not break his concentration. “I rarely work on one drawing longer than a week,” he says.“I need to stay in the same mood or I’m not happy with the results.”


作为涂鸦艺术家,他向来都更喜欢现实的创作媒介,对数字艺术则兴趣乏乏。不在墙壁上涂鸦时,Ratspecial 喜欢用墨水和马克笔创作。一幅画通常需要几天的时间完成,他喜欢这样密集紧张地创作,以免中途思路被打断。他说:“我很少在一幅画上花超过一周的时间。我需要在创作时保持同样的心境,否则很难画出满意的作品。”

Seoul, like many cities, often paves over its history, and this loss is part of what Ratspecial aims to capture in his art. In a way, his works are memorials of the city’s heritage, strips lost in the wake of gentrification and corners forgotten and neglected, all pressed tightly beside glittering highlife and corporate excess. “These places with a condemned future offer visual extremes; they’re high-contrast situation,” he says. “I’m interested in drawing that part of reality, even if it’s sad.”


像许多城市一​​样,首尔常常为了发展而牺牲其历史,Ratspecial 想要记录下这些即将消失的历史。从某种意义上说,他的作品就像是这座城市历史的纪念碑。因城市中产化而被拆除的旧街区,以及各个被人们所遗忘的角落,堆挤在光鲜亮丽的高档社区和数之不尽的办公楼旁边。他说:“这是挺令人伤感的事情,但我喜欢用画笔记录这样的现实。这两种极端的视觉画面形成了鲜明的对比。”

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Contributor: Mike Steyels
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li


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供稿人: Mike Steyels
英译中: Olivia Li