Light shines the brightest in darkness. It’s a saying that holds especially true in the works of Soman, a South Korean artist who’s crafted a world of permanent nightfall. Between the dense black ink, only twinkles of light penetrate the shadows—whether it be a flickering candle, celestial bodies that drift through the skies, or moonlit droplets of rain. This interplay between darkness and light, presented in dramatic monochrome, results in moments of pure magic.
韩国艺术家 Soman 的作品往往从黑暗中透露出耀眼的光芒。那里的世界被黑暗笼罩，却总有光线向外发光，有时是烟火，有时是星宿，或是晶莹剔透的水波反光。戏剧性的黑白色画面，呈现黑暗与光明的强烈对比，瞬间抓住你的眼球，沉浸于画面中的奇妙。
In both Soman’s illustration and animated GIFs, a constant drizzle drenches all those who inhabit his world. These characters also frequently appear in sleeping gowns, almost as if they’re wandering through an unending dream. In some illustrations, gusts of wind turn rain into swirling water that wraps around them; in others, these same characters have found shelter within palaces, and they stare out of its ornate windows, quietly watching the downpour.
在 Soman 的插画和动态 GIF 作品中，微风和细雨，总是拍打在角色身上。他们常穿睡袍出现在画面上，仿佛正徘徊于绕无边际的梦境；大风把雨水吹成漩涡，环绕在角色身旁；富丽堂皇的建筑内，角色向窗外张望，静静地凝视这大雨的滂沱。
At times though, his characters can seem as if they’re not even the main focus of the frame, only serving to demonstrate a sense of scale for the surreal environment. Take, for example, an illustration with an arched gate perched within a sea of clouds. Standing before it, a minuscule figure stares through the doorway, in awe at the cosmic setting just beyond the threshold.
In another, a lone girl is seated on a small patch of grass that occupies the bottom corner of the composition. Throughout the rest of the frame, a violent riptide swirls in the darkness. The texture and particles give it the resemblance of water; however, the perspective suggests this maelstrom of movement is possibly not taking place in a body of water but rather a cosmic event unfolding in the night sky.
No matter how hectic it gets though, Soman’s characters rarely appear in distress. They’re more often in astonishment at the sheer beauty of the unfolding events or simply at peace with the world. Even in one illustration where one of his characters appears to be being washed away by a gigantic droplet of rain, he looks delighted as he grabs on, almost as if he was on an amusement park ride.
Even though black-and-white art is often associated with negative emotions such as sorrow, grief, or fear, Soman’s work upends these expectations. Instead, a sense of optimism, wonder, and youthful curiosity courses through his illustrations. And it’s precisely these qualities that give his nocturnal world its unique spark, one that keeps the viewers’ imaginations piqued and wanting for more.
虽然黑白艺术通常与悲伤、痛苦或恐惧等负面情绪联系在一起，但 Soman 的作品颠覆了这些预期。相反，乐观、奇妙与天真烂漫贯穿了他的作品，也正是这一特质，赋予他的黑白世界不一样的火花，令人心弛神往。
Contributor: David Yen
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li